The most important asset of several successful brands is their brand identity. Being impressive and cohesive is what makes an identity impactful. An impressive and cohesive identity helps in appealing and connecting well with the target audience and in furthering good business.
The identity of a brand serves a purpose which is much beyond just establishing a distinctive mark for identification. The first perception that your target audience will form about you is largely dependent on the identity that your brand bears. Having an impressive brand identity is the first step towards changing your brand’s perception for good. The advantages of having a good brand identity can be extended to the following points.
1. Differentiation and Recognition
A brand identity is a mark of distinction that differentiates your brand from its competitors and gives a distinct personality to your business. An impressive and easy to remember identity helps the audience to recognise a brand easily – technically termed as brand recall.
2. Resonating with the target group.
The major purpose of creating a brand identity is to form a strong bond with the target audience by resonating well with them. A business stays in business as long as the audience is able to connect with the brand. Many parent brands that cater to diverse groups establish several sub-brands that are specifically dedicated to serve a particular segment. The high end fashion brand Armani has several umbrella brands under its name that cater to distinct target groups based on the psychographics of the audience. One common identity would not have been enough to appeal everyone. The need to establish different sub-brands came with the need to appeal specific target groups.
The brand Armani Exchange is aimed at teenagers and street fashion lovers, whereas Emporio Armani is targeted at young adults between the ages of 20 and 30. Emporio Armani is the brand that teens are supposed to graduate to, when they become adults. The Giorgio Armani is yet another signature label from the group. It is the most expensive Armani label and is available only in 75 boutiques worldwide. Emporio Armani and Armani Exchange are cheaper, diffusion line, aimed at a younger demo, at a lower price.
3. Improving brand retention
An impressive identity works as an essential force that elevates your brand in creating a deeper emotional tie with the customer. Forming a connection increases the possibility of remembering the brand which also enhances the retention value.
4. Establishing clarity and focus
Since, the identity of a brand is intentionally designed to cater to a particular segment, it brings in convenience for the business owners to exercise clarity and focus towards their objectives, which in turn affect other important business decisions.
5. Driving customer expectations
The kind of persona that an identity portrays enables the customers to keep and maintain a certain level of expectations from a brand. This reduces the chances of the brand being misinterpreted by the customers.
6. Establishing value and trust
A good representation of your brand identity often makes your business look serious, sincere and organised. This perception developed in the minds of the audience allows them to trust you more, thus increasing the value of your offerings.
An impressive brand identity does not mean exaggerating, overly depicting or complicating your message which drifts the focus away from the brand’s core values and ethos. The message conveyed by a brand should come out crystal clear and transparent. The following set of parameters can be considered to come up with an effective brand identity.
Being simple is often misinterpreted with the thought that it restricts from being innovative. Simple and minimal identities are easy to grasp as compared to complex visual elements that either convey to much or do not convey anything specific and create confusion.
The fast food joint McDonalds could have used a burger in their logo but they created their initial ‘m’ inspired by the two golden arches that Mc Donald’s used as a part of it’s identity for long. Despite, the logo being a simple yellow form on a red background, McDonalds has one of the most appealing logos in the world
Imitation might seem to be a safe game but it will not make you distinctive. To stand out in the market, it is necessary to push creativity but remain as original as possible. Originality will make you look unique among your competitors.
The relevance of a brand identity lies in communicating the brand’s goals and values in a right and desired format to the audience. Sometimes, even the most appealing brand identities are unsuccessful because they do not communicate well with the intended target segment.
The brand identity has to be put to several uses and incorporated into various marketing touch-points without being compromised on its relevance and impact. Therefore, an identity should be versatile enough so that it can be applied to various mediums of communication.
Acquiring the right target group as the potential customers is important to make business. The visual identity could be diverse and experimental around a particular concept or theme but should not drift away from the intended target group.
A memorable brand identity is not easy to execute but ranks highest amongst the various qualities that an identity should have. A person who has witnessed a brand element even once should be able to recognise and recall it when he/she comes across it the next time. Take the example of MasterCard with two circles intersecting in its logo. Both the red and yellow colours used for the identity have a unique tone and weight that makes it simple, remarkable and rememberable by the audience no matter how many times it has changed in the past.
It is important to ensure that the effectiveness of the brand identity remains long lasting. Instead of being trendy, a lot of brands prefer to be classy in order to achieve longevity so that the identity remains timeless. Consider the logo of Google which has remained constant since the beginning. To refresh the logo from time to time, a few minor tweaks or changes in the font style have always worked for Google.
Consistency of the brand elements enables to attain uniformity across all mediums of communication. It avoids confusion. The recurring use of the same elements becomes a strong factor to remember and recognise a brand easily.
A brand relies on two major components to render an image of its personality to the audience – the visual identity and the verbal identity.
The visual identity of a brand creates a unique persona of the brand which cannot be conveyed through words alone. The visual identity of a brand is eithercomprised of some of the below mentioned elements or a combination of it.
The visual identity of Cafe Coffee day shows the remarkable use of the single inverted comma replicated everywhere in its identity from the menu and packaging to banners and in-store design.
Visuals alone cannot communicate everything. It is mostly supported with words to enable verbal communication. The verbal identity of a brand includes the following basic elements to describe it verbally.
Here’s an example of Airbnb to understand how its verbal language communicates values and internal work culture. It has been designed to be conversational with its audience and express a sense of unity and belongingness.
A cohesive brand identity is one of the practices that converts a brand into a super brand.
The system of branding works to extend the identity of a brand to multiple touch points. To create a desired impact on the audience, it is important to maintain consistency in the brand language. A uniform brand identity throughout all the communication channels leverages the impact with the following advantages.
1. Accurate first impressions
First impressions are important in business to engage the audience which further result in making or breaking a buying decision. A streamlined representation of a brand helps in forming memorable first impression with high recall and retention.
As mentioned earlier, a cohesive brand shows your seriousness towards your business. This allows the customers to respect and value you more for the professional ethics that your brand displays about you.
Outlining the same concept into every facet of your business, all marketing touch-points help in building customers’ trust and credibility into your business. With this thought, the audience assume that the quality of your brand’s offerings will remain consistent too.
The recurring and uniform use of the same brand language will increase the possibility that your customers recognise your brand. The use of some unique elements sets a brand apart from its competitors in the industry and hence, makes it memorable.
A set guidelines of your brand language increases your work efficiency by saving your time that you would otherwise put into thinking about what your new print advertisement or billboard should look like.
In order to maintain cohesiveness in your brand language, the following can be replicated in all your communication mediums.
Coming up with an impressive identity which is cohesive is not a one time exercise. It is not enough to keep you in the business forever. Successful brands constantly keep refurbishing their identity to remain connected with the customers that keep moving ahead with time.
The purpose of rebranding for different organisations could vary. Broadly, rebranding serves either one or combinations of the below mentioned benefits.
1. Staying in pace with the target group
The changing needs of the customers change their expectations. With time, the current identity might become outdated and might not connect well with the audience anymore. Hence, brands have to keep revamping their brand identity in order to align with the target group.
2. To look new and fresh always
With time, certain elements in the identity start looking obsolete or outdated. Therefore, to keep the customers satisfied with their experience, brands have to continuously improve upon their representation to look new. In 2016, Instagram came up with a new identity, to look new and acquire more users. Here’s a story of its rebranding which shows how it doubled its user base in just six months.
Sometimes, a brand expands itself by establishing business into new industries. In such cases, the identity has to look versatile in all forms. Brands rebrand their identity to remain effective in all the industries and remain connected to the audience.
5. Addressing a new target group
Business grows with time and so do the customers. To acquire new customers or target groups, it is important for the brand to resonate with them. In 2017, Airbnb came up with its new brand identity with the intention of being more universal and unified in its brand language. Catering to a wide group globally with different personas, the brand wanted to connect well with them and communicate a sense of belongingness. Read this article to see how Airbnb has developed its unique visual language that is universal, unified and conversational.
6. To reflect mission and values
The return of investing in an impressive and cohesive brand identity may be difficult to measure but it surely leads into improved conversions by building an image that aligns with the brand’s values and aspirations and developing a strong bond with the customers.
Forming a great first impression is vital for any business to engage with its audience. Recurring and cohesive use of brand’s visual and verbal language increases the recall and retention value. Consequently, an impressive presentation of a brand can mark the success of a brand.