A strong brand is the cornerstone of any good marketing strategy. The key to marketing is to ensure people recognize your company in a heartbeat, and the brand you build should exemplify everything important about your business. People should begin associating the visual elements of your brand with these important elements such as your mission, vision, and values. Wanna know how to design a brand that fits with these important differentiators of your company? Well, here’s a great place to start.
What is Brand Identity?
Brand identity is more than just a logo, a name, or a good slogan, although when you design a brand the visual elements are a big part of brand identity. However, brand identity is deeper than the visual elements that help consumers recognize your brand. According to Jared Rosen, Sr. Brand Manager at Wayfair, a brand identity is:
more than just finding the right logo to place on coffee cup sleeves or mount above your front door. It’s about crafting a brand personality that amplifies the core elements to your brand’s DNA.
It’s the personality of your business and your products, attitudes consumers develop toward those corporate assets, and the meaning consumers draw from the cumulative actions of your brand including your advertising, sponsorships, and living values reflected in everything your company does. People are drawn to strong personalities, for better or for worse. If someone likes your brand and associates themself with its “personality”, then they are far more likely to be loyal to your company.
The personality of your brand should reflect your customers and your company values alike. For example, if your company’s USP (unique selling point) is that your products are all eco-friendly, then your brand identity should reflect this. The same applies if you’re trying to appeal to a younger generation, your brand identity should feel young and trendy. On the other hand, if your product appeals more to professionals or older people, then a timeless and classy brand identity might be preferable. A weak brand identity is forgettable and won’t help your business stand out. On the other hand, a brand identity that doesn’t make sense for your company and customers can alienate your customers.
Here are some personality archetypes to help you understand brand personality better and offer options as you begin to design a brand that matches your company’s mission, vision, and values — its DNA.
How to design a brand
Determine your mission, vision, and values
Since your brand must reflect your mission, vision, and values, this is the obvious place to start when you design a brand to represent your business. writing these statements, and understanding the difference between these related elements that form the backbone of your brand, isn’t a simple process but one you need to commit to doing right. These core elements of your brand must reflect both the core of your brand and its dreams for the future in a concise, easy-to-understand format that avoids jargon. You should involve staff and advisors as you work to craft your mission, vision, and values statements with an eye toward effectively representing your brand to your current and future target markets because these elements matter to everyone involved in your brand.
A well-crafted mission, vision, and values statement:
- coalesces your staff behind something they can believe in
- guides decision-making as it relates to strategic decisions, such as new product development, and tactical decisions like advertising messaging
- helps draw the right new hires to your company
- attracts your target market to your brand as, increasingly, consumers shop based on shared values with the brands they buy from (as you can see below)
Sure, you can update your mission, vision, and values positions as time and culture evolve but avoid making changes too frequently as your efforts to design a brand suffer each time you attempt a change. It can also confuse your target market (including internal customers) if they can’t count on the brand stands for something.
The term marketing myopia was coined years ago by Theodore Levitte. a Harvard professor. The essence of marketing myopia is crafting a company mission statement based on short-term goals and current conditions. While there are many poor outcomes from such a construction of the company mission, the one highlighted by Levitte was how it narrows thinking and decisions regarding the future.
One company highlighted in his original thesis to demonstrate the danger of marketing myopia was the railroad industry, which faced bankruptcy before a government bailout. He blamed the financial situation at the country’s railroads on narrow thinking that viewed their industry as one that moved people from place to place. With the invention of the automobile, which railroads viewed as a novelty, the appeal of traveling by rail diminished along with the spread of cars to larger swaths of consumers and the push to build the interstate system and other infrastructure for cars under Eisenhower. Rather than seek new revenue streams, the industry continued to pursue travelers as that fit their mission but also because of their massive investment in passenger trains that couldn’t easily fulfill the needs of others that might use rail, specifically cargo. Without the restrictions implied by their mission statements, he argues, the railroad industry would have made the transition to cargo earlier and emerged stronger without government bailouts.
Selecting visual elements
While the personality of your brand matters the most, you also need to create a logo that stands out. Brand logos change and evolve over time, but the key is to make something that is simple, memorable, and ideally attractive. If your logo can also reflect your mission, vision, and values, all the better. For instance, look at the evolution of the Starbucks logo over time to reflect their globalization and commitment to values such as fair trade.
If you have a similar business to that – such as running a range of coffee trucks, or your own cafes – then you can always take inspiration from those big businesses for the visual elements of your branding. However, you do need to be careful not to get too close to them, because that can be very problematic, and could result in potential legal issues. The key term is ‘taking inspiration’, meaning that you are taking the idea and running with it. If you can do that, it should help your branding.
The first thing to get right is the color scheme. Different colors have different meanings, so use a tool like color collection to help you pick something that sends the right message for your brand. This design will appear on all of your products and marketing materials, so it’s important to get it right.
You also need to consider a logo design. Again, simple designs are best as they are easy to replicate and remember. A cluttered design can be confusing, but you want enough of a style in your logo to be unique. That’s a difficult balance to strike, but market research can help you narrow things down to a style that works best.
Once you have those elements to design a brand for your company, add a unique font then add everything to a style guide that shows everyone using your branding the right way to represent your brand. A style guide normally includes the logo and related images that represent your brand, the colors (as hex codes for digital and RGB colors for print), allowable fonts and font sizes as well as the relative position of elements on a page, such as the company name, logo, and address.
Need help? I’m not a designer but I know what I like. So, I recently used an AI product to design my new logo. The AI produced an image based on some information about my niche and my target market. I liked the resulting images and chose the one that most appealed to me. Of course, the image was generic as it didn’t contain my brand colors, font, or my brand name but that was easily fixed with Photoshop. Here’s the result (you tell me what you think).
Social media marketing
Once you designed a strong brand, it’s time to put it to good use. Social media marketing is where your brand identity and personality will thrive. Effective marketing involves going where your customers are, and you’ll find your customers use social media, although the specific choice of social media platform does vary depending on your target market.
Different social media platforms appeal to different demographics. For example, TikTok and Snapchat are popular among younger people, while Instagram and Twitter are popular among adults, and Facebook has a broad appeal although it’s the only platform popular among older people, with the exception of LinkedIn, which mainly works for business-to-business brands.
Choose the right platform for your audience and let your brand speak for itself. Post regularly and keep your posts on-brand and useful to your audience, while avoiding overly promotional posts. You can learn more about using social media marketing by reading related posts on this website using the category, social media marketing.
This is a great start as you begin to design a brand to represent your business. Obviously, there’s much more to know before you build your brand so check out the resources linked in this post. Don’t rush to accomplish this important task, as it’s hard to recover if you made a mistake from the beginning. Look at the backlash against companies like the Gap that attempted to change something as simple as their logo to see how this might impact your success.
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