9 Steps To Build a Strong Brand Identity (With Tips)

Updated February 3, 2023

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How customers view a specific company, organization or product can affect purchasing trends and customer loyalty. With a solid branding identity developed through implementing consistent marketing and messaging, the company you work for may inspire news sales and customer loyalty. Understanding the various steps and strategies you can use to develop a brand's identity can help you determine which technique might benefit your team most significantly. 

In this article, we discuss brand identity, explain how to build one and explore various methods and tips that you can use to cultivate a stronger brand. 

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What is brand identity?

Brand identity is all the stylistic elements of a brand, including the design, color, logo, personality and font that distinguish it in consumers' minds. A company's brand identity appeals to the senses and aims to create instant brand recognition through visual, auditory, oral or tactile associations. Brand identity is crucial to creating and maintaining a brand's relevancy in consumers' minds.

Related: 21 Types of Brands (With Definitions)

How to build brand identity

Building a brand identity consistent with the values and characteristics of the company and product is a necessary step to success. Ideally, all company branding details work cohesively toward a central meaning. Here are nine steps you can take to help you build an effective brand identity:

1. Conduct research

Begin by analyzing the market and identifying strengths, opportunities and weaknesses. Understand who you are as a company and your point of difference. Pinpoint elements that make you unique from other brands.

Related: What is Strategic Planning? Definition, Techniques and Examples

2. Determine business goals

Form your mission statement based on your brand's capabilities and the reason behind your brand. Indicate which elements distinguish the company that you work for and why there's a need for your products or services. If you work for an organization with a defined mission, think about what advertising goals can best support both the company's and your client's needs. 

Related: 7 Goals in Marketing and Why They Are Important

3. Identify customers

Conduct surveys, focus groups and interviews to identify a consumer group. Understanding customer needs and expectations can help shape brand identity to best build customer loyalty. This may involve conducting audience segmentation and discovering multiple subgroups within your overall audience. You might categorize these subgroups based on various factors, including a customer's age range, geographic location or shopping habits. 

Related: Audience Analysis: Why It's Important and How to Perform One

4. Determine personality and message

Create or redefine the brand's personality by considering if your brand focuses on fun or solving a consumer's problems. The brand's voice is an identity that remains consistent throughout the branding process and gets clearly communicated through methodical choices in brand identity. All brand elements, from name to color choices and typography, align to create a coherent identity. 

Related: Core Values: Overview and Examples

5. Make a logo

Make or redesign your logo. A logo is a visual trademark or symbol identifying the brand. Similar to a sports team mascot, the logo visually represents the brand and the ideals it embodies.

Related: How To Design a Logo in 12 Steps

6. Consider other visual elements

Think about how the other visual elements involved in your logo, packaging, advertising or website can embody your brand. This might include considering the following visual aspects: 

  • Color: Unique and specific brand colors instantly increase product visibility. For example, the color choice of heather gray may communicate serenity, while a more robust, more vivid hue of green can portray confidence. 

  • Shape: The visual appearance of shape identifies some brands as well. For example, a soft drink's unique square-shaped bottle or a game controller's linear forms can immediately identify the brand.

  • Graphics: Distinct patterns can also help build a memory structure around a specific brand, making identification instantaneous.

  • Text: The size and style of your font can communicate a brand's personality. A wispy font, for instance, might convey a sense of relaxation, while Times New Roman may portray tradition and stability.

Related: What Is Brand Dilution? (With Definition and Example)

7. Create your slogan

Compose or refine the brand's slogan. This is simply a brand's position stated memorably. Ideally, a slogan is brief and memorable so that it's easy for customers to recall. Many brands, for example, use slogans with alliteration or rhymes.

Related: Examples of Company Slogans (Plus How To Write One)

8. Decide on your tone

Figure your brand's style or tone. Specific word choice, or "diction," is the vocabulary used in connection to the brand and helps to shape the brand's tone and attitude. The type of language used to communicate to consumers can dictate the type of customer the brand attracts. 

The tone of your brand typically connects to its personality. For example, a brand focused on fun might use a more casual tone, while a brand that provides medical devices may prefer to cultivate empathy. 

Related: What Is Brand Authority? (And 8 Strategies for Building It)

9. Think about your audience's other senses

Consider how you can awaken your consumers' other senses through your branding when relevant. Also referred to as sensory branding, this type of marketing might appeal to all five of a prospective customer's senses. 

Here's a brief description of how you might incorporate the other three senses into your branding:

  • Sound: A brand's unique set of auditory notes, tones or sounds can help to raise brand awareness. Often, a musical jingle might bring the brand name to a customer's mind, leading to a stronger brand identity. 

  • Taste: A brand's flavor or flavor combinations can play a crucial role. For example, a restaurant might offer a secret sauce in a specific dish, while a particular brand of soft drink might offer 27 flavors that are uniquely their own.

  • Touch: For companies that sell products, consider how that product physically feels. You might think about, for example, if the product or packaging feels heavy, smooth or rough to the touch and how that contributes to the branding.

  • Scent: Companies that sell products with smells, like food or beauty products, might consider refining specific scents that customers can associate with that brand. 

Related: 8 Brand Concept Examples (Plus Importance and Marketing Tips)

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Tips for building a brand identity

Here are several tips that can help you further develop your brand's identity:

Continuously monitor your brand

Continuously keep track of data related to your branding. Keeping track of different aspects of your brand performance can help you determine how well these diverse elements positively influence factors like public awareness and customer loyalty. It can also help you determine ways you might optimize various aspects of your branding.

Related: What Is Brand Association? (With Strategies and Examples)

Connect your customers to your story

Give your customers a reason to care about the company you work for by sharing stories related to the brand. For example, you might publicly share your brand's founding story or a story about devising the brand's new mission. Telling stories about your brand may increase a customer's empathy toward the company, boosting brand loyalty. 

Related: What Is Brand Storytelling and How Can It Benefit You?

Research your competitors

Research your primary competitors to determine what distinguishes your brand from theirs. This might involve researching the competitors' mission statements, values, advertising initiatives and the features of their products or services. Developing a deeper understanding of your competitors can help you gain insight into the unique elements of your brand's product or service offerings, mission and personality.

Related: Competitor Analysis Framework: Definition, Benefits and Types

Allow the business to evolve

Make sure that your branding strategies have enough flexibility that they can change over time. Although it's important to create a specific and memorable brand identity, it can also be helpful to give the branding room to evolve. This tactic can help the brand adapt to various changes in the market or consumer opinion.

Related: What Is the Brand Identity Prism? (And How It Can Benefit a Company)

Be accessible to your audience

Make it easy for your audience to discover and connect with your brand. This might involve developing a social media presence, setting up an online store or creating a website compatible with various operating systems. Being highly accessible to your target audience can make it easier to build public awareness.

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