Building Your Brand Identity – Beyond Fonts and Colors

by | Jan 17, 2023 | Business, Content Marketing, writing

To have a company is to have a brand identity — or, rather, to have a thriving company is to have a brand. In today’s hyper-competitive, media-focused marketplace, companies without a distinguishable brand rarely last long.

When many people think about branding, they get visions of color palettes, font choices, and window decals. Though these things can certainly contribute to an overall brand, they are just a small part of a much larger whole. Branding goes far beyond graphic design.

Modern consumers want to look at their favorite companies like friends. Before buying, many people want to know a business’s voice, sense of humor, customer service values, and positions on big topics. To properly convey these things, companies need to have a voice. Voice is a huge part of a brand.

Voice is not the end of the list either. Just like a good political speech or rap lyric, consumers care about what you’re saying as well as how you say it. Though it’s probably ill advised to try to rap your business’s online content, it is important to make sure the content is saying something. Empty, meaningless content on your blog, socials, and website makes you a Kanye in a sea of Kendricks (sorry, not sorry).

How to Develop Your Brand

All of these aspects, visual ones included, make up a company’s brand identity just as the same factors contribute to an individual’s personality. Once you understand who you are as a brand, all of your actions, policies, and positions must line up with your identity. You prove this to the world with well-aligned, brand-centric content to post on various outlets. If you lack a strong identity, it is impossible for you to connect with your audience. Without this connection, people won’t frequent your business, and they certainly won’t tell their friends about you.

On the other hand, when you do reach the point where all of your brand aspects collaborate to create a killer identity, consumers can’t resist. Solid brand identity leads to strong engagement, higher sales, return customers, and a sense of permanence in a market that is increasingly fickle. What we’re saying is that building your identity is your ticket to the chocolate factory of capitalism.

Brands With Identity

It is hard to think about brand identity in a theoretical sense, but you know it when you see it. Fortunately, there are many brands that have famous and developed identities to offer examples. Here are a few iconic, and very recognizable, ones.

Ben & Jerry’s

Yes, Ben & Jerry’s invents amazing new ice cream flavor combinations, but that isn’t the only reason they stand out. The company has a distinct font that is the ideal mix between “we’re fun and cool” and “we’re professional enough to make your Cherry Garcia amazing every time.” The brand colors, blue and green, support this idea. But this is just the tip of the ice cream cone. The company takes strong stands on a variety of social and political topics. They are committed to speaking out and educating others with their platform, which gives them more consumer points than you might think. Young people especially like to know the brands they love support the things that are important to them. Ben & Jerry’s does this very well.

Target

When you create a brand that can be identified by a single color, you’ve done something right. Target’s famous red branding is key to cohesion and branding both in store and online. However, their canine mascot, store layouts, and products all contribute to the overall aesthetic. The store’s distinct “clean and classy” feel makes it a destination for an afternoon of wandering rather than a big box store you avoid at all costs. Their celebrity collaborations display the company’s values and morals, and they are public about where they stand on certain key issues. All of this creates a whole identity rather than disjointed aspects of a brand.

Apple

Perhaps this is a bit obvious, but Apple has understood brand identity since its inception. During the 46 years they’ve been in business, Apple has never strayed from its iconic clean, sleek aesthetic. Everything from their computers and their phones to their headphones has followed this model, and they display it all with funky ads featuring bright colors and tantalizing camera shots. Even if you took the actual products and branding out of their commercials, you’d still know what the ad was for.

From the beginning, Apple has been positioned as an authority figure in the tech world. They are innovative and smart, supporting this reputation with highly-anticipated product release dates, industry-changing policies, and the prevalence of the Genius Bar — because why call something “customer service” when you know who you are?

Know Who You Are

As you can see, no one aspect of a company creates a brand. Yes, visuals are important, but voice is extremely important, too. A truly developed brand identity allows each of these elements to stand alone, but they come together to make a complete company personality.

All of these brands also understand their audience, which is a huge part of a brand voice. You won’t see Apple catering toward boomers because they understand that the older generation is not their key demographic. A successful brand knows who its people are and creates an identity for these people, all while understanding that this may isolate other demographics. As long as you aren’t being downright rude to other groups, focus on marketing to your people. It’ll get you much farther and give you a more focused brand identity.

Branding is all about knowing who you are as a company. You have to know where you stand and what your brand is before you can attract an audience. Voice, by far, is the hardest part of this. Most companies focus on their aesthetics before their voice, which can leave the latter lagging far behind.

Find Help When You’re Ready

If this sounds like you, don’t worry. Voices are our specialty (and we don’t mean hearing them). Reach out today, and we’ll help you find yours.

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Gabby Vandenavond