What is Brand Identity: Shape and Transform Your Brand (2023)

Brand identity is one of those buzzwords thrown around freely and, at times, incorrectly. Given the enormous role it plays in shaping a strong brand, it’s crucial that we fully grasp its meaning.

To get a sense of the significance of brand identity, one only has to take a look at the world’s most influential brands. A mere glance at each and every one of the household names is enough to spark specific feelings and associations we have formed with those brands over time.

So, brand identity is important, but what exactly is it? This article will answer that and many other burning questions about brand identity. Here’s what you’ll find in his blog post:

  • What is Brand Identity?
  • Brand Identity vs. Brand Image
  • Brand Identity Components
  • How to Create a Brand Identity?
  • Brand Identity Examples

What is Brand Identity: Shape and Transform Your Brand (1)

What is Brand Identity?

Brand identity mainly revolves around the visual aspects of your brand that determine how your audience sees you. It’s a collection of visual brand assets that shape your brand’s appearance. Your brand identity is what sets you apart from the competition and makes you memorable.

While it’s useful to be aware of the similarities between you and your competitors, it’s more important to clearly demonstrate the differences. The brand identity accentuates the unique aspects of your brand and strategically communicates them to your audience.

What is Brand Identity: Shape and Transform Your Brand (2)

Brand Identity vs. Brand Image

It’s easy to confuse these two similar terms. Let’s break each term to make it clear.

In a nutshell, brand identity is all about you and how you present your business, whereas the brand image is about the audience and how they perceive you. When these two align, we have a case of successful branding.

Brand identity is developed by you, while the brand image is how the audience perceives your brand. Or, in other words, brand identity is what you want your brand to be, and brand image is what it is in the eyes of your audience.

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Brand Identity Components

Now that you have a somewhat vague idea of what brand identity is, it’s time to clear away the fog by discussing its constituent elements in detail. As mentioned earlier, brand identity is composed of all the assets that give a specific look and feel to a business. Let’s see what those assets are:

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  • Brand Name
  • Brand Logo and Tagline
  • Color Palette
  • Online Graphics
  • Typography
  • Shapes
  • Brand Name

Name is perhaps the most intuitive ingredient of any brand’s identity and one of the first things entrepreneurs strive to establish for their businesses. In a perfect world, a brand name is short and memorable and hints at what the business is about.

Overly descriptive brand names can appear bland and generic, so it’s a better bet to go with a suggestive rather than a descriptive name for your company.

  • Logo and Tagline

The second most obvious and observed brand component is logo design. A brand’s logo is present in almost every interaction with clients; thus, it has quite some leverage over how the brand is perceived.

(Video) How To Build Brand Identity

The most-celebrated logos have been crafted deliberately in order to convey a specific message to the public. If you’re eager to learn the stories of the most iconic logos, have a look at the video below:

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Not entirely visual but still very impactful is a company’s tagline. It almost always goes hand in hand with the company logo. A tagline is a short line that usually accompanies the logo in advertisements.

Among the best-known taglines are “I’m lovin’ it” by McDonald’s and “Think Different” by Apple. The quick and memorable phrases characterize their respective companies brilliantly without elaborating on the specifics — that’s exactly what a great tagline should do.

  • Color Palette

Should your logo be blue or green? Color psychology interlaces with branding far too often to be ignored while building a brand strategy. Colors affect our perception of the world, and successful businesses have learned how to turn this to their advantage.

A brand’s color palette usually includes 1-3 primary and a few more secondary colors. Those hues should be applied not only to the logo but also to the company’s website, packaging, advertising materials, and so on.

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  • Website and Social Media Graphics

To help potential customers identify your brand online, it’s crucial to develop a visual style that’s consistent across your website, social media pages, and any other online platform where you have a presence.

Whether it’s by using the same illustration style, animated characters, or similar icons, it’ll help preserve the overall look and feel of your brand, making it recognizable at a glance.

  • Typography

It’d be unfair to disregard the power of typography in shaping a strong brand identity. If you have a wordmark logo, you most likely already know that your choice of typography can make or break a design. The same goes for designing a brand.

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If the typefaces and fonts of your choice are random and inconsistent, not only will you lose the opportunity to influence your audience, but you might also damage the brand image you’ve been working so hard to construct.

  • Shapes

Shapes are another interesting and underutilized part of brand identity. From your logo to your package design, the shapes you use will impact the impression you leave on people. Round figures, for example, will give a soft and creative air to your designs.

On the contrary, sharp edges and pointed angles will create a sleek, disciplined look that our minds will translate to reliability, stability, and power.

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All the visual elements of brand identity should work cohesively to be effective. Similar to a band, whether you play classical music, heavy metal, or K-pop, the instruments should be in tune with one another to produce a harmonious melody. Brand identity is built on the very same principle.

(Video) Creating a Brand Identity: From Start to Finish

How to Create a Strong Brand Identity?

Whether you’re working on laying the foundations of your new brand or going through the laborious process of rebranding, this step-by-step guide will help you along the way. Building a well-thought-out identity might seem like an intense process, but it’s perfectly manageable with these five actionable steps.

  1. Set the Foundation

Want to build something that lasts? Start with the foundation. You can’t make up a perfectly sensible identity out of thin air. It has to be sourced from your brand strategy. Successful brand strategy is the path to your business goals.

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But to achieve those goals, you’ll first need to define them.

Here are a few of the most critical questions you need to answer to make sure you fully understand your brand and help customers do the same:

  • Why does my brand exist? What does it aim to accomplish? This is the purpose, the big vision behind your brand. Develop a clear mission statement that briefly sums up the aim of your business.
  • What is your value proposition? What can customers expect from you?
  • If your brand was a person, what would s/he look and sound like? What personality would s/he have? What’s your brand voice?
  • What are a few short and long-term goals you want to focus on?
  1. Study the Industry and Competitors

Once you know your brand, you have to get to know its surroundings and competitors as well. Thorough research of your market and competition is unskippable if you want to position your brand smartly.

Run a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) to obtain a fuller picture of where your company stands in relation to its competitors, industry, and primary objectives.

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  1. Research Your Audience

Your audience can be a great guide to shaping a relatable brand identity. You only need to throw an inquiring look to find valuable cues. Investigate your target audience or that of your direct competitors if you don’t have an existing customer base yet.

Who is your target audience? What are they looking to receive from a company like yours? Pay attention to any patterns in the demographics, psychographics, and buying behavior of your target.

Based on your research, define your brand values, brand’s personality, brand voice, and create your brand image. Analyzing your audience will give you a much bigger chance of crafting an identity that resonates with them.

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  1. Get to Designing

Time to turn all the gathered information into visual designs! Here’s a good starting point — condense all the data into three descriptive words that best characterize your company. Now, try to depict those words through designs.

For example, if your brand’s descriptive words are “positive, youthful, fresh,” yellow is the color that best reflects those qualities. Think of symbols or typefaces that give off the same energy and will look good in yellow. Google Fonts will help you with typography.

You can use an online logo maker to find a suitable design for your logo and tweak it until it looks perfect. Just type in your keyword in the search bar, and you’ll have dozens of options for your brand mark.

(Video) Brand Identity Questionnaire for your Small Business

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Create My Logo

Once your logo, color scheme, and typography are set, you have a good base to start designing your website UI, social media graphics, product packages, emails, brand merch, etc.

If you have an established brand and want to rebrand it, analyze the effectiveness of each branded asset. Chances are, you’ll find a few elements that fail to connect with your audience or aren’t congruent with the rest of your brand.

Using the data you have compiled from the previous steps, reroute and refine the components that are underdeveloped. You might find that your logo no longer portrays your brand essence or that you need to change your tone of voice to attract a particular audience.

Due to the fluid nature of brand identity, rebranding is not uncommon even among the best-known companies. eBay, Instagram, Microsoft, Google, Mastercard, and many others have undergone noticeable changes in their appearances on more than one occasion.

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  1. Nurture Your Brand Identity

Building a consistent brand identity is similar to growing a plant — you can’t just plant the seed and call it a day; it’s just as crucial to make a consistent effort to sustain and grow it. Lack of consistency in the way you present your brand will undermine your authority rather than consolidate it.

It’s important to have a brand style guide that highlights your key stylistic choices. It’s especially crucial for large teams where everyone has to be on the same page in regards to maintaining brand integrity.

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Here’s a sneak peek of Apple’s brand guidelines for the use of the Apple logo. You can find all the guidelines here.

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Source: Apple

Monitor your brand identity on a regular basis through free or paid online surveys, polls, social listening, etc. This will allow you to keep an eye on your brand’s reputation and prevent any possible miscommunication.

Brand Identity Examples

One can learn a lot by simply studying successful cases of the very task at hand, so that’s exactly what we’re going to do. Below are examples of brands that have not only created iconic identities but also greatly influenced their industries and the art of branding.

1. Coca-Cola

Imagine it’s a hot, lazy afternoon, and you find yourself needing a refreshing drink to get your energy levels up. Do you tell your friends “I’m going to get a Coke” or “I’m going to get a soft drink”? We bet it’s the former. Wonder why?

(Video) branding 101, understanding branding basics and fundamentals

It’s because Coca-Cola has smartly and very diligently established an identity through drink PRs that’s synonymous with refreshment, energy, and enjoyment Subconsciously, we gravitate toward a Coca-Cola bottle when we want to stimulate those feelings. Needless to say, this is a brilliant execution of brand identity building.

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2. Nike

Have you ever noticed that we tend to feel a sense of motivation and empowerment after each encounter with Nike? You don’t have to dig very deep to understand why we feel this way. Have a look at the company’s logo and tagline — they’re designed to reinforce speed, confidence, and motivation!

The beloved swoosh, initially valued at $35, has now become a universal symbol of power and athleticism. It’s no coincidence that the company name originates from Greek mythology, where Nike is the goddess of victory. The victorious theme is persistent across every Nike post, product, and commercial.

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3. Tesla

When it comes to bringing together tech geeks, sports car lovers, and eco-conscious consumers, no one does it better than Tesla. You don’t have to see the logo on Tesla’s electric vehicles to recognize them; the futuristic, sleek design speaks for itself.

Tesla’s revolutionary products and unique approach to marketing have positioned the brand as one of the most innovative, exciting, and forward-looking companies in the auto industry and beyond.

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Summing Up

Brand identity is that which separates your business from all the rest, highlighting what’s original and special about you. Knowing your brand’s uniqueness is one thing, but effectively communicating it to the public is another. That’s why you need a clear intention and smart strategy to build your brand’s identity.

At its best, brand identity is always consistent but never rigid. Consistent brand identity fosters brand recognition. Carefully weigh each aspect of your brand and make sure that it all ties together beautifully to create a balanced identity.

FAQs

How do you shape a brand identity? ›

How to create a brand identity: 5 steps to success
  1. Research your audience and competitors. ...
  2. Audit your existing brand and figure out what you stand for. ...
  3. Design your logo and pick a color scheme. ...
  4. Define and implement your brand's tone of voice. ...
  5. Monitor public perceptions of your brand identity and reputation.
6 Feb 2022

What is brand identity in simple words? ›

Brand identity is the visible elements of a brand, such as color, design, and logo that identify and distinguish the brand in consumers' minds. Consistent marketing and messaging lead to consistent brand identity and, therefore, consistent sales.

What is brand identity and why is it important? ›

Brand identity plays a significant role in differentiating your business from the rest of the competition in the market. It sets your business apart and helps it stand out from the rest of similar products or services offered. It guarantees uniqueness and enables you to stand out to potential customers in the market.

What is brand identity with example? ›

Brand identity includes all the visual elements associated with your brand, from your logo and typography to colors, product packaging design, website design, and even your social media graphics. Typically, any brand asset is a component of your brand identity.

What is a good brand identity? ›

A brand logo should be instantly recognizable: simple, unique, appropriate, and memorable. Most importantly, it should clearly convey the company's messaging. Companies should also consider the various sizes and shapes their logo will be expected to take, from website headers to products to stationary.

What makes a successful brand? ›

Have a distinctive personality that is appropriate for your target audience. Be consistent in its messaging and design, reinforcing the position, promise and personality at each touch point. Demonstrate the value that your company provides for the customer, and how that value is created.

What is another word for brand identity? ›

colophon, label, mark, trademark.

How do you brand yourself? ›

Five Tips to Branding Yourself
  1. #1: Define your brand and become an expert. ...
  2. #2: Establish a presence. ...
  3. #3: Generate brand awareness through networking. ...
  4. #4: Remember the 3 Cs of branding. ...
  5. #5: Get feedback from those who know you best—at work, at home, anywhere.

What is brand identity made up of? ›

Brand identity is a set of visible elements like logo, design, and color that helps a brand stand out among its competitors in consumers' minds.

Why is it important to create a strong brand? ›

A strong brand helps customers know what to expect. Your brand represents you and your promise to your customer. Your brand helps you create clarity and stay focused. Your brand helps you connect with your customers emotionally.

What are brand values? ›

Brand values can be defined as the foundational beliefs that a company stands for. They refer to the “ideals” guiding the brand's actions, such as environmental protection, diversity, solidarity, or transparency.

What should your branding do for customers? ›

Branding Creates Loyal Customers

In many ways, you can appeal to people's emotions through branding and make them feel more connected to your company. Branding allows you to build relationships with your audience, which can eventually turn them into loyal customers.

What is brand identity and brand image? ›

Brand Image. Meaning. Brand identity is nothing but the way the company wants the target audience to perceive the brand. Brand image refers to the way that the customers actually perceive the brand.

What are the 4 elements of brand identity? ›

These are the four main brand components that you will need to address when developing your brand strategy. A strong brand requires a strong brand identity, brand image, brand culture, and brand personality.

What is your brand personality? ›

In short, your brand personality is how you would describe your brand if it were a person. Just like people, brands have recognizable traits that stem from the way they think and feel about the world. The authenticity and consistency of these traits are what separate a strong brand from a weak one.

What makes a brand unique? ›

Brand creation involves creating key brand elements such as a unique visual expression, brand personality and positioning that identifies and differentiates a product from it's competitors.

How important is business image or identity? ›

A strong brand name and logo/image helps to keep your company firmly in the mind of your potential customers. If a customer's happy with your products or services, a solid identity helps to build customer loyalty across your business. People like to be associated with “good” brands.

What is the best branding strategy? ›

These easy steps will make you reconsider your brand strategy
  1. Target audience knowledge. ...
  2. Strong unique value proposition. ...
  3. Passion is observable. ...
  4. Out-of-the-box thinking. ...
  5. Consistency. ...
  6. The brand's objective comes first. ...
  7. Exceptional brand slogans (or taglines) ...
  8. The brand always provides value.
15 Aug 2017

How do you create a brand image? ›

How to Build a Strong Brand Image
  1. Identify Your Key Audiences. The first step is to identify your target audiences. ...
  2. Determine Critical Business Goals. You have to know where you are going before you can get there. ...
  3. Define Your Brand Persona. ...
  4. Develop Key Messaging.

What do you mean by brand? ›

A brand is a product, service or concept that is publicly distinguished from other products, services or concepts so that it can be easily communicated and usually marketed. Branding is the process of creating and disseminating the brand name, its qualities and personality.

What is brand personality marketing? ›

Simply put, a brand's personality is the set of human characteristics you attribute to that brand. Or, put another way — it's how you'd describe a brand if it were a person. A brand's personality shines through in brand messaging, images, and overarching marketing campaigns. Additionally, consistency is key.

How do I change my personal brand? ›

Here's what I found to be the essential steps in reinventing oneself through a rebranded personal brand:
  1. Start With Your Equities. ...
  2. Write Your New Story. ...
  3. Determine Your Leadership Voice. ...
  4. Repackage. ...
  5. Produce Brand Guidelines. ...
  6. Store Up Energy. ...
  7. Relaunch.
18 Feb 2020

How important is branding in a business? ›

Branding is important because not only is it what makes a memorable impression on consumers but it allows your customers and clients to know what to expect from your company. It is a way of distinguishing yourself from the competitors and clarifying what it is you offer that makes you the better choice.

Is brand enough to attract customers? ›

A consistent brand will attract clients consistently.

This company consistently attracts its target market — moms — to its brands because of brand consistency. The more your brand is recognized through your website, materials, and even your email signature, the more a client will see you as a solid market leader.

What makes a brand attractive? ›

Brand attractiveness manifests in a brand's ability to attract customers and in the customer's willingness to buy. Its level correlates to the brand's success potential. It is, however, independent of the brand's degree of awareness.

What is the most important characteristic of a brand? ›

Authentic. Authenticity is more important now than ever before. Consumers want to engage with brands that accurately and authentically represent their mission, vision, and core values. If your brand name doesn't accurately represent what your brand stands for, you may dampen your reputation.

What do people look for in a brand? ›

88 percent of consumers say that authenticity is a key factor when deciding what brands they like and support (Stackla, 2021). Consumers want brands to be honest. So it's not surprising that consumers expect the companies they buy from to be authentic in the way they present themselves and carry out their business.

How do you develop brand value? ›

Build Brand Equity
  1. Step 1 – Identity: Build Awareness. Begin at the base with brand identity. ...
  2. Step 2 – Meaning: Communicate What Your Brand Means and What It Stands for. ...
  3. Step 3 – Response: Reshape How Customers Think and Feel about Your Brand. ...
  4. Step 4 – Relationships: Build a Deeper Bond With Customers.

What does your brand represent? ›

Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from that of your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.

How important is brand value? ›

Brand value is important because when people perceive that a brand is distinct and aligns with their personal values, it's a really powerful competitive advantage." So, brand value refers to the worth of a brand to the consumer.

Why is branding important with examples? ›

Your branding is the first thing your customers will experience and will help them to form an opinion on what you're about. For example, it provides a visual clue about the products or services you offer, your intended audience and your values.

What is an example of branding? ›

From the coffee cup we're handed at Starbucks to the toothpaste we choose from the shelves of grocery stores and the ads we see on our smartphones. Companies like Coca-Cola, Apple, and Starbucks have product branding that is so recognizable we take it as a normal part of our environment.

What is brand identity made up of? ›

Brand identity is a set of visible elements like logo, design, and color that helps a brand stand out among its competitors in consumers' minds.

How do you build a strong brand? ›

  1. Discover the purpose behind your brand. ...
  2. Research competitor brands in your industry. ...
  3. Determine your brand's target audience. ...
  4. Establish a brand mission and vision. ...
  5. Outline the key qualities & benefits your brand offers. ...
  6. Form your unique brand voice. ...
  7. Let your brand personality shine. ...
  8. Build a brand story and messaging.

What makes a brand successful? ›

Have a distinctive personality that is appropriate for your target audience. Be consistent in its messaging and design, reinforcing the position, promise and personality at each touch point. Demonstrate the value that your company provides for the customer, and how that value is created.

What is another word for brand identity? ›

colophon, label, mark, trademark.

What is brand identity and brand image? ›

Brand Image. Meaning. Brand identity is nothing but the way the company wants the target audience to perceive the brand. Brand image refers to the way that the customers actually perceive the brand.

Why is it important to brand yourself? ›

Branding yourself keeps you current in your field, opens doors for you, and creates a lasting impression on potential and existing clients. By developing your own brand, you'll have control over the initial perception people have of you.

How do you brand yourself examples? ›

Your personal brand statement has to be strong, descriptive, short, and catchy all at the same time. Some examples include: “I help individuals reassess their life choices to discover their true paths to success.” “I develop sustainable business models and marketing strategies to fuel small business growth.”

How do you promote your personal brand? ›

10 Powerful Habits for Building a Personal Brand (and Marketing Yourself)
  1. Identify specific target markets. ...
  2. Know your marketplace. ...
  3. Be visible and "in play" ...
  4. Become a source of relevant information. ...
  5. Always give something back to your profession and community. ...
  6. Practice networking etiquette.

How do you define brand goals? ›

How to define brand objectives
  1. Define your target audience. ...
  2. Relate objectives to your marketing strategy. ...
  3. Create measurable goals. ...
  4. Set a timeline to reach objectives. ...
  5. Balance aspirations with realistic expectations. ...
  6. Measure and evaluate results. ...
  7. Increase audience awareness. ...
  8. Sell new products or services.
20 Apr 2021

What makes a brand unique? ›

Brand creation involves creating key brand elements such as a unique visual expression, brand personality and positioning that identifies and differentiates a product from it's competitors.

What is your brand personality? ›

In short, your brand personality is how you would describe your brand if it were a person. Just like people, brands have recognizable traits that stem from the way they think and feel about the world. The authenticity and consistency of these traits are what separate a strong brand from a weak one.

How do you create brand value? ›

Build Brand Equity
  1. Step 1 – Identity: Build Awareness. Begin at the base with brand identity. ...
  2. Step 2 – Meaning: Communicate What Your Brand Means and What It Stands for. ...
  3. Step 3 – Response: Reshape How Customers Think and Feel about Your Brand. ...
  4. Step 4 – Relationships: Build a Deeper Bond With Customers.

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4. branding 101, getting started with brand identity, brand image, and branding process
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