How to Define Your Brand’s Identity

Posted On
August 6, 2018

Whether you’re a small start-up or an established organization, you’ve watched another competitor—get up and running quicker, and face challenges with greater stability. While every organization struggles building their business at some point, you can usually find a theme throughout most successful brands: a strong identity.

Just as a homebuyer wouldn’t choose a home without trust in its foundation, people look for the same in brands before they hand over their loyalty. Think of yourself as an architect building a strong framework to support the other features of your brand.

Beyond your company name, logo and basic business platform are some of the most critical parts of your brand’s identity that are often overlooked or ignored.

Have you ever wondered why a product or service you spent months of time capital and resources on, simply didn’t resonate with consumers? What about not being able to attract the right talent? And the biggest existential question for brands—is your organization living up to its promise?

To start building your brand’s structure or to test the strength of its current one, here are the basic building blocks of every brand’s identity to make sure you’re giving people an experience they’ll value and trust:

Brand Platform:

Think about: What is the promise your organization is striving to fulfill? What problem does it solve? And what previously unrecognized need does it provide?

But more importantly—how is that different and bring your consumers greater value than your competitors? A well-defined brand platform answers:

Why your organization exists

Who it exists to serve

It’s vision for delivering on that promise into the future

You can read more about how to refine your brand’s mission and vision in our post here. Once you uncover the answers to these questions, you can start to build from this groundwork, that starts with the foundation of a stable and well-defined brand.

Visual Identity:

Think about: What do people see when they look at your brand?

Think bigger and go beyond the look of your logo. Does your brand have a consistent look and feel? What about a consistent typography and photography style? Visually, what story is your brand telling?

Your brand depends on consistent research to test perceptions and market readiness for new products and services. Watch out for relying too heavily on a few anecdotes or internal bias and assumptions. Find a design system for your brand that will set you apart in the marketplace and quickly resonate with your audience and let research and data be your guide.

Voice and Tone:

Think about: What does a conversation with your brand sound like?

Think of your brand’s tone as the emotion of your brand. And your brand voice is how that emotion is delivered. The easiest way to find the right voice for your brand is to ask yourself: What is the emotion you want your audience to feel? Then, personify your brand with someone that uniquely embodies that emotion.

For example, Coca Cola’s brand tone and voice is optimism and happiness. Every message, every piece of advertising, every interaction with their brand builds a conversation with consumers that have the essence of these two words in mind.

Whoever your brand is and whatever it stands for—be consistent. From people inside your brand that deliver experiences to your consumers, to the messages and interactions people have with your brand every day, make sure you’re always in alignment with who your brand is at its core. If you’re consistent in who you are, you will almost always find your audience naturally rewarding you with the same consistent loyalty in return.

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