There’s no substitute for professional marketing and branding services offered by agencies, but what if your budget is really tight? For small businesses, startups and freelancers who don’t have the luxury of big budgets, creating your own brand identity is often the only option.
Branding is important for any business – it’s what identifies your company and makes customers associate certain qualities and products with your offerings. A brand identity is a direct link between the visual or marketing collateral and the company. It encapsulates your company’s goals, values and personality – a form of expression that allows your consumers to associate themselves with your business.
You can use your brand identity to guide your visual marketing and social media presence. Consistency is key and having a solid brand identity will help you. Here are a few pointers on how to create a brand identity that will resonate with your consumers.
Define your brand’s voice
The first step of creating your company’s brand identity is to define the brand and conceptualise a clear idea of what it’s all about. Start by defining the brand’s voice or personality; is your brand fun and light-hearted or is it professional and serious?
Imagine an ideal conversation between your business and a customer. What is the dialogue about? What emotions are displayed in the conversation? What language is used? What is the tone of the conversation? Is it a formal discussion or a colloquial interaction?
Answering these questions will allow you to understand what vocabulary and attitude your brand’s voice needs to use. It will allow you to address your target audience appropriately and immediately establish a connection with potential consumers.
Identify your core values
All businesses should have some core values that guide decisions and lead the company towards a certain goal. When an audience can align with a company’s core values, more meaningful connections are established.
Identify the added value that consumers get from your brand. Refine how your company can help the customers achieve their goals. It’s not always about making money; a business should strive for something bigger and by defining the core values you can make this easier.
You can even build your values around a story to help you and the audience to identify them easily. It will give the consumers some perspective and allow them to engage with your brand on a deeper level. People react better to stories and it will humanise your brand.
Start creating your brand identity
Once you have a clear idea of your company’s voice and core values, you can start creating its brand identity. There are three main components of a brand identity; visual, textual and marketing. All three need to work in unison to portray a consistent image and convey a unified message to the audience.
- Visual identity
This is the visual component of your brand identity. It includes the logo, colour scheme, design and visual feel of your company. Your business logo is the foremost visual aspect of its brand identity – it’s usually the first thing an audience sees and it should capture the essence of your business offerings. Create a unique logo that is simple, clean and memorable.
Choose a colour scheme that suits your business. Remember that certain colours can evoke certain emotions from your audience. For example, blue can signify strength and trust, or yellow can signify friendship and honesty. Be mindful to choose colours that represent your identity. The colour scheme should use two or three colours only and they should complement each other.
- Textual identity
The textual identity of your brand is the written aspects of your messaging. From website and advertising copy to social media and email language, the text you use is an important part of establishing connections with an audience.
The textual identity links directly to your company voice. It’s how you speak to your consumers and win over new customers. Spend some time thinking about how you word things and how you want to address your audience.
Another aspect of textual identity is the typeface you use. A good font can subtly enhance your message and improve the look and feel of your business. People rarely pay attention to fonts but when you use a bad one, it stands out like a sore thumb.
Use your textual identity whenever you post on social media or write an email. If you have a website or blog, stick to the textual identity when writing posts. Keep the tone and voice consistent and your audience will soon be able to immediately recognise your brand when reading something you’ve written.
- Marketing identity
You need to align your marketing campaigns with your brand identity. Not all marketing methods will work for your business, so stick to the ones that will support your message. Choose the right marketing platforms and social media channels for your business.
For example, an e-commerce store selling clothes will benefit from marketing on Instagram, but not on LinkedIn. On the other hand, a freelance accountant will do well by advertising their services on LinkedIn, but not on Instagram. The same applies to digital and traditional forms of marketing; choose the ones that suit your brand.
Some traditional forms of marketing include posters, newspaper adverts, sponsoring sports teams, attending expos and conferences and radio advertising. Don’t forget about these traditional marketing methods because sometimes they can pay off more than online practices.
Once you’ve followed these steps and spent some time implementing the basics, you should have a solid brand identity. Remember to stay consistent, keep it simple and track your results to ensure that the branding is working.
Sorted Design Agency is a creative company that constantly looks for solutions to other people’s problems. These problems come mostly in the visual format, such as graphic design, logo and illustration, but we’re experts in brand development, webtuistes, and digital SEO campaigns as well.
Based in Pretoria and Cape Town, Sorted has been in the content marketing industry since 2006. We assist your company with its corporate identity by communicating core values through content and articles written for your website, blog and news area. This content is supported by AdWords and social advertising, which facilitates wider reach and audience growth. Turn your website into a business tool.
Sorted also owns two other businesses; InkFish Print Studio – a printing company that handles a range of promotional materials for businesses and other services for individual customers, and Pampiri + Kie – a gifts and stationery store selling online and in-store. Both of these companies operate from Cape Town and Pretoria.
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