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What makes a great brand – Part 2

Following the first instalment of ‘What makes a great brand’ [insert link to previous blog], this month were looking at brand identity. The identity of a brand is the visual definition of what your brand stands for, so it’s imperative that you establish the correct identity for your brand to make sure there is cohesion between your values, the look, and feel of your brand.

Your company’s brand identity is the outward expression of your brand, including its name and visual appearance. This isn’t just a tool that allows your customers to recognise your brand,it’s also a way for people to identify with your brand.

Creating a lasting brand identity requires careful consideration of colour, brand mark, typeface and key messaging.To be effective, there should be a synergy between how your brand looks and feels, and what your brand stands for. The personality of your brand should shine through visually, as well as being an authentic representation of your brand values, whilst engaging with your target audience.

But how do you go about creating a brand identity?

Start with a brand workshop

This is a great way to generate key insights about your brand and what it stands for. A brand workshop acts as a fact-finding mission to uncover the reasons and strategies behind your brand – Why do we do what we love? What are the values that we stand for? What’s our personality?

Understanding these elements and establishing the company vision and mission, will inform how your brand looks and feels. Sometimes this requires an ‘objective eye’and if you are already emotionally invested in your business, it can be difficult to see clearly. Part of our brand and experience process is to offer that objectivity and external expertise, really helping you to pin down the answers to the aforementioned questions, and identifying how best to articulate this through design and messaging.

Get the name of your brand right

You may already have a name, be rebranding or starting from scratch. Regardless of your current situation, your brand name is crucial as it should be recalled easily and be distinct, relevant and meaningful to your audiences, and don’t forget, potentially registered or trademarked.

The biggest mistake companies make is being too descriptive with their names. A name should not attempt to describe; it should have the ability to suggest the essence (the unique characteristics) of your company….just like SoVibrant! To be effective, a name must have brand potential that is narrow or too descriptive does not have the depth or dimension to become an effective brand.

Design the logo

Think about some of the world’s most successful brands: Apple, Nike, Facebook, and Twitter. Why are they great? Their logos are simple. When considering your logo, also think about the colours, scalability and typefaces as these all reflect your identity. It needs to have meaning too – style over substance is never the right way to go, so consider how the logo, marks and messaging that are used, are relevant to the brand.

Selecting the colour palette

Colour theory is something you might want to consider when deciding on a colour palette. The science behind how your brain associates certain colours with emotive responses can make a difference. For example, many healthcare brands often use palettes of blue or green, as your mind associates these with cleanliness and vitality. Think blue skies and green grass. Fast food companies often use red in their branding, your mind associates this with hunger – McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, Coca-Cola all use red. It depends on your brand and your products, but you may want to consider this subliminal cognitive association when choosing colour. You may also want to buck the trend and use colour to help you stand out from your competitors.

Other elements that will require careful consideration are typefaces, style and tone of voice, as well as photography and image style.

Agree the strap line or tag line

This may not be required, as not all brands have them, but it does give you the opportunity to further your clients’ understanding of your brand. Your strapline acts as your brand promise (more on this later), which essentially sums up your offering to customers in one simple sentence. Think Nike, ‘Just do it’.

External considerations

There are so many touch points where customers come into contact with your brand, for starters you need to consider things like:

  • Packaging (such as Coca-Cola’s bottle shape)

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  • Product form (such as the Apple iPod)

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  • Uniforms (such as Virgin Airways red)

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  • Exterior and Interior building design (such as McDonald’s restaurants)

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  • Vehicle design (such as EasyJet aircraft)

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Create your brand guidelines.

Your brand guidelines document pulls together your identity and acts as a style guide that must be adhered to at all times to ensure that the brand is used consistently across all communications and other touch points. The brand and experience team here at SoVibrant provide comprehensive brand guidelines document when creating a new look for a customer, to ensure each brand is used consistently and correctly.

Find out more about SoVibrant’s Brand and Experience service here.

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