There is more to a brand identity than not liking blue close

Matt Jukes
Matt Jukes
In Musings, Codegent College
9th November 2009
There is more to a brand identity than not liking blue

Your brand identity is the window to your business – it is at the core of how you present your it visually to your customers and runs through all of your marketing collateral from signage to brochures and of course your website.

So what do you need to consider when creating or refreshing your brand identity? We love a well thought out brand that is effective in its execution and just for you we have created our 5 top tips for creating a brand identity that works for your business.
 
1. Research research research
Spend time researching your competitors. Who are the competitors within your market place and who are your direct competition? How do they present and position themselves, what do you think they are saying about their brand through their visual communications? Conduct some research within your target audience(s) and find out what they think of your brand and your competitors brands? Conduct a survey of different brands across all industries that your target audience choose to buy from. What is it about their branding that catches your (potential) customers attention? What do the colours, icons, imagery and typeface used in their the brand identities say to them about that brand? Does it inspire them and catch their attention? How does it make them feel and most importantly why?  
 
2. Competitor mapping
Look at all of your competitors in the market place and map them on a grid against axis relevant to your industry e.g. high v low cost, niche v mass market. Take parts of their marketing material such as their logo, brochure or website page to enable you to compare the brands visually. Add your own brand identity and map against your customers perceptions of where your brand is positioned against where you want it to be. This could be where you are looking to position your business moving forward as a result of entering new markets or updating your brand identity to align it with where you are as a business.
 
3. Competitor analysis
Once you have worked out where you want to be, look at the direct competitors that you have mapped yourself against. What colours are they using – soft light tones, bold bright colours, masculine or feminine colours?Look at the fonts  - are they old fashioned or modern? Maybe they are a mixture of the two  and if so what does that say about them as a business?  traditional, reliable yet forward thinking?
Do they use icons to depict the brand or is it all done through lettering? Are acronyms used and if so is there a strapline that explains the brand name and what it does?
What style does the lettering take – all lower or uppercase or a mixture of the two –  does this make them feel warm and friendly or authoritative? 
 
4. What do others think?
Once you have pulled all of your findings together ask others what they think. When you are operating in the market place it can be hard to remain objective and easy to let pre-conceived knowledge of a brand influence your view of their visual identity. Preferably ask people who fit your target market.
 
5. Creating or refreshing your brand
Pull together all of the key points from your findings and note where there are correlations with fonts or colours used. Think about whether they can work with your brand or not and why. Also remember that just because your competitors are doing it doesn’t mean that its always right. Most importantly make a note of why some things do not fit your brand  - essential when you are reviewing your new identity. Once you have done this you then have the basis of your brief for a new brand identity. Once you let the ‘creative’s’ loose it’s easy to get caught up in subjective feelings such as not liking a particular colour or font,  so to prevent this happening refer back to your research – why did you choose this colour in the first place and why was the font applicable to your brand? In this way you can achieve an identity that works for your business and your target audience.
 
Your brand identity is key in positioning your brand and pushing your business forward. So it is critical that when you are spending time, effort and money on updating or creating your brand that you understand who your customers are and what they relate to. Speak to them and find out what inspires and reassures them and ultimately leads them to buy your product or service. That’s a lot of pressure on a colour so make sure you pick the right one!