Branding 101: Identity Branding

Two crucial components of any business are its brand and its identity. You simply cannot have one without the other. Identity-driven branding is how your business makes its mark, and sticks in the consumers’ minds in a rapidly-shifting market.

Branding is of paramount importance to the success of a business. A strong brand increases the chances that one company’s products or service will be chosen over another, and it helps over- stimulated consumers making decisions they are comfortable with. Because of this, a brand is an all-powerful marketing tool when backed by a reputable identity.

The process through which a consistent and durable brand impression is formed in the minds of consumers is an ongoing experience that takes place in every interaction between a company and its audience. The brand is the business’ point of entry into the customer’s mindset; for this reason, it needs to be inviting and offer excellence.

This branding process includes everything: from the minuscule, like a coincidental introduction to the brand via its packaging; to the major, like direct employee interaction and online presence. As the most important asset of the company, the brand must be clear, crisp, and distinct. All of this emerges from a business’s identity, and from the process of crafting an enduring impression of an organization.

Defining a Brand

Before an identity can be expressed, it must first be defined. This requires a candid, honest appraisal of where the company fits within the larger context of the marketplace. The identity isn’t just a logo, a name, or a color scheme; it’s made of varying elements that relate to one another to form a solid foundation.

With a renewed perspective, and by considering factors such as product/ service offerings, industry segmentation, competitive landscape, core values, philosophies, and consumer profiles, the business can begin to answer audience questions using the company’s own message, such as:
Who are you?
What do you do?
Why should I, the consumer, care?

These are questions often asked by consumers; if a business is unable to answer them in a direct and concise manner, the consumers are likely to jump ship to a more stable and clear brand.

The company’s message needs to distinguish it from the rest of the marketplace, which keeps hammering consumers with its own messaging. The company’s message is a critical step towards creating a solid identity that will support the company’s business. A strong message can address the following questions:

  • What is the practical and emotional value that customers can expect from the brand?
  • What is the character of the business?
  • What are the unique benefits that the company offers exclusively of its competition?

This all comes together to form a unique sum of impressions across a widespread audience, a collective perception of your company, that is a vital cornerstone of the branding of your business.

Name and Logo

Following the message, the business requires a strong name and a powerful logo that complements the business’ identity. The logo needs to be the most cohesive visual representation of the business, and must speak volumes without uttering a word. Through its continued exposure, the logo will become a unique signifier of your company: a shorthand, or mnemonic recall, of all that your business promises.

The name, in turn, reinforces the logo’s visual signature with a verbal condensation of the company, its message, its personality, and its promise.

Pairing an appropriate and visually-striking logo with a fitting name signals that the organization merits attention; over time, it will become a distinctive trigger for storing and recalling the brand’s impressions.

The Importance of Simplicity in Branding

In today’s over saturated market, the best approach for any business is simplicity. You need to cut through the clutter of communications, and leave a brief, memorable impression. Audiences cannot be expected to remember everything a company wants to tell them; business must decide which two or three points best convey their individuality.

Abandon ambiguity; simplify the message, then simplify it some more. Consumers don’t have the time or energy to invest in a long-winded, superfluous brand. Your goal must be to lay claim to a single quality, a lone attribute or benefit, and make it undeniably yours.

Successful Identity Branding

Nike, the masters of branding, have seen success after success in nearly all their efforts, thanks to a strong identity, message, and, therefore, brand. Through its strong, developed visual system, Nike has grounded a unifying identity regardless of subcategory. Whether it’s Nike SB or Nike Pro Combat, the “Swoosh” is a strong, undeniable image that speaks volumes about quality and design.

At the local level, WATSON CREATIVE worked with Cooper Design Builders to achieve a strong brand that’s based around an equally stable identity. Cooper has shaped their identity and an inspiring story out of their years of experience. Their work speaks for itself, so by basing their identity around the visual work that’s already been done, and their journey from near nothingness to local significance, they’ve crafted a personality that’s identifiable, and sets them apart from other builders.

Working from a concrete and carefully crafted foundation, a business has the freedom and flexibility to express its identity and portray its brand to the world in the most strategic way possible. Branding forces a business to think about important internal issues and strategy, such as its vision, its short-term and long-term business goals, its values, and its positioning relative to competitors, through an in-depth examination and refinement of its identity. The brand endures in the minds of audience members in the form of a unique set of feelings and impressions that they hopefully will recommend and return to.

Branding 101: Identity Branding
by Watson Creative