A Comprehensive Guide To Building An Effective Brand Identity

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Branding is equally important for small and big businesses.

A brand identity, simply put, is any feature (name, term, graphics, colors, taglines) that is used to identify a business and distinguish it from it's competition. For instance, when someone mentions the brand “Volvo”, the first thing that comes to mind is safety. This is because over the years, Volvo has managed to build a strong brand identity that resonates with their product.

Your brand’s identity communicates the reputation by projecting the company’s values, visions, attributes, unique selling points, passions, strengths, and sometimes weaknesses too. It communicates what your brand says, who it communicates to and what emotions should these communications invoke in your potential or regular customers.

This blog post concentrates on the steps you need to follow to create a brand identity, which not only resonates with your business’s values and objectives but effectively communicates these to your target audience.

1. The Brand Audit

The brand identity prism of Starbucks:

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Conducting a brand audit is the single most important and overlooked aspect of any branding effort. To effectively create a brand identity, you, or the branding agency you have hired, need to conduct extensive research about your target audience.

Target audience: Who are they? What kind of image do they have about your business? What do they expect from your brand? Why do they choose or should choose your products?

Competition: Who is your competition? What are they doing in terms of marketing? What are their USP(s)? What kind of persona are they trying to build? What kind of message are they trying to display?

Own business: What are your targets? What kind of communication and tone do you want to propagate? What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (A SWOT analysis)? What is your USP? How can you position your brand to stand out of the noise?

These questions would help you determine exactly what you want your brand identity to look like and what you expect it to achieve. Once you have answered these questions and made several notes, you can proceed to the next step.

2. Essence of Your Brand

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Think of your brand as a person, what would be the one word that would describe its personality?

The essence of your brand refers to the kind of emotions that you want to be associated with it — whether these emotions are invoked at the mention of your brand or are the emotions that drive the consumers to choose the brand. For instance, in essence, ‘Ferrari’ is ‘fast,' ‘Maserati’ is ‘stylish’ and ‘Rolls Royce’ is ‘luxurious.'

Always strive to have a unique essence to help you stand out from the crowd.

3. Mission Statement and Vision Statement

A mission statement defines the purpose of your brand. It should be simple and straightforward and should inspire and motivate customers and employees alike. To guide you better on how a mission statement should look, here is the mission statement for Starbucks:

“To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”

A vision statement defines where you see your brand after five years. Ideally, a vision statement should be short, precise, and should not explain the vision's active process. Here is the vision statement of Starbucks:

“To establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles while we grow.”

4. Designing the Creative Elements

The creative elements are going to be the carriers of your brand’s identity. They will carry the voice, persona and ‘feel’ of your brand across marketing platforms such as social media, digital media, print and other traditional media. This will be your brand’s visual vocabulary communicated through colors, logo, fonts and the overall style. It should be distinctive, and consistent across all platforms and forms of communications.

Tell us in the comments what YOU have done or are doing to develop your business brand!


Sarah Williams is an astute business woman in a branding agency. The secret behind her success is that she is never daunted by challenges and never fails to prove her mettle. She is a self-made woman who is passionate about motivating and lending influential tips to anyone looking up to her. Her write-ups can guide you to a better future.

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