When the exterior elements have significantly impacted your decision, then it’s safe to say the company’s brand identity is quite strong. But first, let’s look into what is brand identity. The visible brand elements, such as a logo, color, design, etc., which identify and distinguish it in consumers’ minds are known as brand identity.
However, identity is not the same as brand image. The former refers to the purpose of branding and how a company goes about cultivating a specific image in consumers’ minds. So, here, in this article, we’ll study brand identity vs. brand image, its integral elements, and guidelines.
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Brand Image vs. Brand Identity
Now that you’ve learned about what is brand identity let’s check out its difference from the term brand image. The perspective is the crucial distinction between brand image and identity. The brand owner controls the identity, whereas the brand image describes the subjective perception from the outside. The identity establishes how the company wants to be perceived.
The more closely the brand identity matches the externally perceived brand image, the stronger the brand’s unique character and market differentiation. Thus, a company must develop a distinct identity perfectly aligned with both the company and the brand.
Brand Identity Elements
When we talk about what is brand identity, we must also consider its various elements. Some of them are stated below.
Images, texts, and shapes that depict a brand’s name and purpose are all examples of logos. Of course, a logo is an integral part of a company’s identity because customers are drawn to it. A text logo is a special text-only typographic treatment of a brand’s name, which can also be used. As text-only logos are easier to remember, an increasing number of businesses are opting for them.
After choosing a logo, consider the corporate font you’ll use on your website and in various marketing campaigns. Choose a font that is both eye-catching and simple to read. Proxima Nova, TT Norms Pro, and Helvetica Now are the best fonts. Spotify, Jeep, Bosh, Panasonic, and many other well-known brands use them.
Consistency in style
When we say style, we’re referring to the visual aspects of your brand. So, it would help if you were consistent with images and other visual elements on your website or promotional campaigns.
Form and shape
Another essential brand identity element is the shape or form that represents your company and helps people recognize your product. Make sure your packaging is memorable and that the state is engaging. McDonald’s, for example, was successful in promoting a unique feature. The iconic “M” shape is now recognized all over the world.
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What is the Purpose of Brand Identity Guidelines?
There is no one-size-fits-all definition for brand identity guidelines; they come in various shapes, forms, functions, and sizes, depending on your company and goals, but the fundamentals remain the same.
Your brand identity guidelines are a written identity manual and style guide that establishes brand standards across digital and print media.
How Do Brand Identity Policies Work?
Although your company’s brand identity guidelines are unique, there is one principle that all companies and policies should follow: every company should have them.
The reason for this is simple: brand identity guidelines establish the necessary standards for all aspects of a company’s communications, including the logo and brand individuality. In other words, your identity guidelines will help you unify your brand messaging across all media and marketing channels by involving all of your employees, freelancers, and independent contractors.
Your brand identity guidelines are, in a nutshell, the blueprint for your brand experience.
What Are the Benefits of Having Brand Identity Guidelines?
You must consider different types of brand identity guidelines that will outline and specify your brand standards. They are expectations that exemplify your brand – who you are, what you stand for, and so on – and help build consistent brand messaging to create lasting connections with consumers.
Put it another way. Brand identity guidelines are necessary for your company to reach its full potential and, ultimately, be successful.
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What is the Best Way to Create Brand Identity Guidelines?
Now that you’re familiar with what is brand identity, you must know that if a brand wants to present a consistent identity to its audience, it needs a robust set of guidelines, no matter how big or small it is. A brand guidelines template can be as simple as a few pages outlining a company’s fundamental essence, or it can be as complex as hundreds of pages of detailed instructions.
While drawing your audience’s attention, consistency is just as important as creativity in your marketing strategy. From visual elements to the tone of voice, repetition makes it easier for people to understand your brand’s feel, look, and shape. In addition, a consistent face for your brand image fosters brand recognition, familiarity, and value.
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Designing your brand identity guidelines entails thinking about your company’s specifics and what you want people to associate your company with. Identity is all about how other people perceive your company at its most basic level. These impressions are based on information gleaned from your logo, brand story, and even social media marketing campaigns.
What Does a Brand Identity Toolkit Do?
As we’ve already established, a brand identity toolkit is a document that your company can use to maintain consistency in how it presents itself to the public. Using one ensures that your brand feels and appears consistent, even if you have different groups of people working in other locations to build your company.
Your brand identity toolkit usually focuses on your visual and verbal identity. As a result, the average brand guide will cover the following topics:
- Brand messaging / tone of voice
- Vision, value, and essence are all critical factors to consider.
- Manifesto/story of the brand.
- Both the narrative and the strategy are crucial.
- Naming and messaging are fundamental.
- Internal brand communication is essential.
- External brand communication is vital.
- Visually appealing brand assets.
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Where Do You Begin When Creating Your Brand Guidelines Template?
The first step to creating a brand identity template is to look around your company and get some ideas. It could include speaking with your team’s top executives and asking them to define what the company’s core values mean to them. You could also ask each employee in your company to explain your brand identity in their own words.
Consider the following when developing your identity.
- What types of messaging have worked well for your company in the past, such as successful emails, ads, etc.?
- What is the position of your brand? Where do you stand about other brands in your field?
- What are some of the most common questions that arise when deciding on imagery and messaging?
The ultimate goal should be to use visual and verbal solutions to define the look and feel of your brand. First, make a list of any aspects of your current identity that may need to be changed. For example, your brand’s image may be flawless, but its voice may be disjointed.
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Template for Your Brand Guidelines
Creating universal brand standards that are consistent across your entire company can be difficult. It’s much more difficult if you have nothing against which to compare your efforts.
Albeit it’s never a good idea to duplicate your competitors’ ideas, having a better understanding of the marketplace can help you find the inspiration you need by showing you what good brand guidelines look like.
Your brand identity template should be based on three fundamental principles:
- The capacity to provide information.
- The ability to motivate others.
- The power to impose rules.
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Brand Identity Examples
Below are some brand identity examples; let us look into each of them.
The Mastercard logo is well-known, consisting of two intersecting circles in the company’s signature red, yellow, and orange color scheme. However, Mastercard’s brand identity hasn’t remained static for all these years; in fact, it was only a few years ago, in 2016, that it unveiled a new, modernized brand identity.
You probably think the change was barely noticeable, and that’s precisely the point of a successful brand identity refresh: keeping the core brand identity characteristics and elements your audience recognizes while injecting a fresh, modern feel.
Mastercard’s robust brand center is also a fascinating study in brand consistency, having similar identity designs for all the payment brands of the company. Still, each with a different color scheme to reflect the distinct identities.
Casper is a reckoned mattress brand that appeared out of nowhere overnight, with over one million sleepers and counting. One factor in its success is its consistent brand identity, which perfectly matches its personality.
Their website design, photos, and other visual brand identity elements feature a minute logo with a vibrant color combination of blue and beige hues. Casper also gets packaging and product design right, with a simple yet instantly recognizable label on Casper pillows in Casper’s signature blue.
With the help of fuseproject, PayPal’s brand identity was revamped in 2014. PayPal, like Mastercard, kept its well-known brand identity while adopting “an identity to better express its innovative DNA and future as the leader in digital payments,” according to fuseproject, a branding firm.
It further explained, “The result is a system with a bolder wordmark, stronger monogram, more vibrant colors, and a dynamic angle graphic that increases user perceptions of trust and innovation.”
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After being founded in 1886, Coca-Cola’s brand identity has evolved eventually. However, it still has the same core characteristics as 133 years ago. So yes, Coca-brand Cola’s identity dates back 130 years. Hence, it sets one of the best brand identity examples for other emerging brands.
The brand’s bright red and white colors are instantly recognizable, especially when combined with Coca-well-known Cola’s typeface.
One of the most famous online media content streaming services, Netflix is known for its content, but that doesn’t mean its brand identity is unimportant background material.
In fact, with newcomers like Disney+ posing a threat to Netflix’s dominance, the company’s brand identity is more important than ever. With a signature red color and a clean, bold typeface, Netflix’s logo lends well to the company’s easy-to-use service offerings.
Don’t be fooled by Netflix’s basic brand identity element. Its logo is used in print packaging and digital advertising materials, with branding elements for multiple shows and movies.
According to Gretel, the beauty of its simplicity is its adaptability. He further said that it could be scaled quickly and used in any medium, letting the brand volume get adjusted as needed to accomplish the intended prominence.
Nike, Inc., for example, owns the “swoosh,” which is one of the most instantly recognizable logos in the world.
Even though in a world without brand perception, removing the swoosh from Nike’s shoes and apparel would not affect their comfort or performance, the Nike brand ranked 18 in Forbes’ “The World’s Most Valuable Brands 200” 2018 ranking, with an estimated value of $32 billion.
So, we hope by now you got the answer to your query, what is brand identity.
A successful brand tends to be one of the company’s most valuable assets, in addition to saving money on promotion. However, it isn’t easy to measure because brand identity is intangible.
Standard approaches, however, consider the cost of creating a similar brand, the cost of royalties for using the brand identity, and the cash flow of similar unbranded businesses.