From Nike’s swoosh to the golden arches of McDonald’s, the most successful businesses have built and fostered a recognizable brand image.
Many factors contribute to your brand identity. These include what your brand says about itself in writing, what your values are, how those values are communicated, and the emotional reaction you want when people interact with your company.
Brand image defines who your company is both externally to consumers and industry analysts and internally to employees and partners. Creating an identity that resonates with all these players is a significant task that should be thoughtfully and carefully strategized.
It’s best to take a step-by-step approach and lay the groundwork for your brand’s image. For instance, selecting the font and color of your branding materials and logo requires a strategic build-out in order to make the impact you’re reaching for.
Laying the Groundwork for a Brand Image
There are several steps to uncover as you lay the groundwork of a strong brand image. Identify you target audience and tailor your messaging to them, establish your voice, develop a brand persona, and set long-term and short-term business goals.
An effective marketing strategy is one that’s clear about which groups it targets and how it speaks to their needs.
Determining your goals is the next step; attempting to build a brand without knowing your target wastes valuable resources. Identify the benefits of your organization in order to define your brand persona.
Your brand persona should be simple and relevant while accurately and positively defining who you are to your target audience. Lastly, develop key messaging, which is what you want your audience to take away from interacting with your brand. This step should incorporate the aspects that make your business unique and valuable while integrating the brand’s personality.
Choosing The Right Colors and Fonts
After taking these initial steps, you can begin the process of building your brand image and marketing strategy. During this phase you should consider the personality of your business and the emotional impact you’d like to impart. Before locking in your look, you’ll need to strategically select the appropriate colors and fonts for your brand.
When it comes to creating a visual identity for your business you need to understand every shape, color, and font must evoke a specific emotion. These emotions should correspond to your product or service, so the target audience associates them with your company.
The elements you use in your logo and marketing materials shouldn’t just be recognizable. You’ll want them to evoke the kinds of feelings in people you want to be associated with, whether that’s a sense of comfort, trust, authority, responsibility, or excitement.
The use of color in branding materials increases recognition by up to 80%. Colors evoke a variety of emotions in people. Shades like yellow and orange conjure feelings of happiness and playfulness while red suggests passion and blue suggests security. Purple logos conjure feelings of nostalgia, creativity, and imagination, while black is often used for brands whose persona is that of sophistication, luxury, and formality.
As an example, Starbucks’ iconic round and green logo suggests a company built around a sense of community that offers a natural and organic product and organic. HSBC, a banking and financial services company, uses red tones and angular shapes with a classic serif font. This branding evokes feelings of strength, trustworthiness, professionalism, and stability.
Let Visual Psychology Lead
When it comes to branding decisions, visual psychology takes precedence over personal taste. This may be difficult for business leaders accustomed to using their own business instincts and expertise to dictate the direction of the company. However, your brand image is about more than simple aesthetics. Instead, it’s all about the conveying the message you want to share with the world about your brand and its persona.
When you’re working through the process of selecting a color palette and font for your branding materials, ask yourself questions about how they’ll impact the feelings people have towards your business. Fonts have a profound effect on the emotions people have towards a brand identity.
Sans serif evoke feelings of sophistication, display fonts suggest friendliness, and traditional serif fonts suggest respectability and reliability. Typography entails typeface choice, color palette, and layout, and can be a deciding factor in the effectiveness and impact of your message.
Experiment and Adjust Based on Feedback
While in the planning stages of creating your brand identity, experiment and adjust based on the feedback you receive. It’s important that the feedback comes from both internal and external sources.
Your goal is for the brand image and strategy to evoke the thoughts and emotions you intend. Don’t become married to a specific idea or approach. If the feedback you receive is less than optimal, don’t be afraid to adjust your choices.
Need some help getting started down the path towards terrific brand identity? Our Brand Strategy Toolkit can help jumpstart your work and get the ball rolling.