Brand identity is the combined effect of visual elements in your marketing materials. A basic brand identity kit consists of a logo, business card, letterhead, and branded envelope. This basic set of materials can be extended to include a website, brochure, folder, flyer, or any other professionally designed pieces.
A successful brand identity is built around the following 9 key characteristics:
- Unique in “look and feel” and message about your business. Make sure that your business’s graphics stand out from and cannot be confused with those of the competition, and that the ways you talk and write about your business are uniquely yours as well.
- Repetition helps potential clients—and current clients—to remember and relate to who you are and what you do in your business. Experts say that it takes somewhere between 6 and 12 “impressions,” or contacts with your business, for customers to truly remember you and connect with your business.
- Consistent use of your logo, tagline, and materials and what you say about your business. You will only be able to build a strong brand for your company by designing unique visual and verbal elements and then repeating those elements through all of the materials that you create.
- Memorable elements help your business to stand out as well. You’ll be able to create brand memorability through consistency, repetition, and uniqueness of your graphics and materials. Make your graphics memorable by creating a unique logo and using a consistently strong Visual Vocabulary. Create memorable text by using alliteration (repeating similar sounds, such as using words that all start with the same letter), repetition, unique word combinations, and lively imagery in your copy.
- Meaningful graphics make your company’s message come to life through symbolic graphics, colors, and type choices in all of your marketing materials. Meaningful text will express what your business is really all about, and help to give some depth to your developing brand. And, perhaps more importantly, your audience will be able to understand the meaning in your graphics and text — it will be accessible to your target market.
- Clear graphics and text communicate your message in an understandable way. Make sure that your graphics are crisp, clean, simple, and meaningful. And make sure that your text expresses your point and is not confusing — that it explains your point well.
- Honesty in your brand identity materials. If clients do engage with you and then you don’t live up to the brand promises you made in your materials, then they will feel alienated from you and your company… or worse. This can really damage your relationships and your overall brand, so make sure you can stand behind your brand and deliver on your promises before you distribute your branded materials.
- Personality for your business helps make sure that you don’t look like everyone else, so that potential clients can immediately tell that all of your branded materials are coming from your business. If you’re the owner of a one-person business, your brand identity might resonate with your own personality. If your business is larger, or if you want to make it appear larger, you can create your own brand personality to connect with your potential clients.
- Professionalism in all things, from the quality of your graphics, to the way your text is written (proofreading is essential!), to your personal presentation: the way you talk, dress, and speak. Professionalism in customer service and in the way you treat people you meet is also important. Follow through on your offers and promises.
If you include all of the above elements in your brand identity, you’ll have a business look and feel that will really help your marketing messages to be taken seriously: one that will enhance your overall brand.