How To Construct A Brand Identity From Scratch
If you’re starting a business, you might have it all figured out. What you’re selling, who to, how and even a business plan. But you also need to think about the fact you’re creating a whole new entity. You’re creating a living, breathing touch-point that needs to be interacted with by your future customers – the lifeblood of your business.
This is your brand identity – it’s what ensures your customers understand who you are. It gives you an interaction point, so you can be understood by people. They need to categorise you, and your brand and identity help this happen quickly – using existing associations (e.g font, colour, style).
When you’re creating your company’s brand, you are creating its personality.
The thoughts, feelings, and values you want to get across are amplified to make people understand the brand quickly and easily. It’s like you’re creating a restaurant or bar. Are you a take-away pizza place or a danish bakery? What do you need to emphasise to become relatable?
If your mission, vision and values (your thinking) is the engine behind your company, then your brand is the shop window. The functional part, the part that shows up first. But it’s not everything about who you are. There still has to be something inside for people to feel comfortable in trusting you to deliver them a product or service. And that, at the end of the day, is what it all comes down to – trust.
>What emotion does the Nike brand conjure for you?
The things about your brand that are real. The functional reason someone needs you. Do you sell cars? Then you can provide a service to go from A to B. Sell coffee? You can quench thirst. The functional aspect looks at the customers base need.
Why do you get out of bed in the morning? What drives you as a business? These are the *reasons* that your customers will look at, and if authentic enough, believe in to buy. Are your cars sustainable? Or are they luxurious? Is your coffee ethically made? What one thing means the most to you that you want to get across.
This is where the character of the identity comes to play. Emotions are complex and innately, human. Whilst needs are practical and functional, values appeal to your core objective – character is different, it’s the pull that gives the customer that little push that you are the right partner for them.
To make a strong brand identity, you need to understand the emotion behind the customers buying decision. Selling cars? Sell the freedom. Sell control. Sell the lifestyle. It sounds like MadMen but if you can understand your customer, get in their head, and speak directly to them then you can carve out the perfect brand personality, and ultimately – brand identity.
Once you have a clear picture of the person you’re selling to, a persona, then you can ensure their needs, values and emotions are met by your brand.
Essentially, a good brand – one well constructed – has a sense of self. It has a sense of identity, of driving purpose and values that are easily (and powerfully) communicated. With a really strong brand, you can hold up some copy or imagery or packaging and instantly see if they fit in the brand world, and explain why. Innocent smoothies were the classic example, pioneering the ‘soft & friendly’ tone of voice that everyone came to recognise. Red Bull is an even better example, they sponsor extreme sports and their stunts, including jumping out the stratosphere and it’s perfectly on brand – even if you don’t like the taste of the drink. They succeed at making their target customers *culture* better with them in it than without. And as a by-product, become a part of the culture for their target customer.
Once you understand who you’re talking to (and why) then you can start to map out who your brand should – what type of person your brand would be.
Once the brand’s core pillars are constructed (what need it serves, the values it has, the emotions it plays on) then these can be pulled out and amplified – running through every part of your brand identity. The guiding North Star that separates a murky misunderstood brand from the titan, house-hold names that we all know and love.
Wildish & Co. are a brand & creative agency with studios in London and Wiltshire. We re-invigorate emerging brands, future-proof the world’s most trusted businesses and helping startups catch their big break. For more, visit wildishandco.co.uk