What Is Brand Identity? With Elements And How To Develop It

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 11 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Customers' perception of a company can impact their decision to buy the company's products or services. That is why companies across industries prioritise brand identity development. If you are planning a career in business development, you can benefit from knowing how to develop a strong brand identity through consistent messaging. In this article, we answer the question, 'What is brand identity?', outline the elements of an effective brand and discuss how brands can develop a unique identity.

What is brand identity?

The answer to 'What is brand identity?' is that it is the visual elements of a brand, including the design, colour, logo and font that distinguish the brand in consumers' minds. Brand identity is tangible, appealing to the senses and aims to create instant brand recognition through visual associations. Brand identity is crucial in creating and maintaining a brand's relevancy in consumers' minds. For example, a brand may use a specific tagline that can make it instantly recognisable in advertisements and retail stores.

People become aware of the brand through these physical and visual elements. Every time they come across the physical and visual associations, it can lead to instant brand recognition. Due to the appeal created by these distinctive features, along with the perception they form of the brand, consumers may decide to try out the company's products. The brand may then become relevant to them, which can lead to more sales for the company.

Related: What Is A Brand Ambassador? Definition And Job Description

What are the elements of brand identity?

Elements that make up a brand's identity may include a combination of physical and visual cues. These cues work together to create a positive or engaging perception of the brand in the minds of consumers. Companies often use those elements to appeal to the five senses of their target audience. It can help create an emotional response towards the company's products or services. Here are some common elements that help a brand create its unique identity:

Brand name

Selecting a memorable brand name is important for building brand identity. It can help consumers instantly recognise the brand. They may then associate it with the products the company sells. It can create a feeling of trust among consumers. Consumers often willingly pay more for brand name products they trust.

Logo

A logo is a visual symbol that a company may use as a visual trademark to identify its brand. When consumers see the logo, they instantly recognise the brand. They also associate the logo with the company's products or services. This can help a company communicate its ideals visually.

Theme line

A theme line is a motto or catchphrase that memorably states a brand's position. The company may use this catchphrase repeatedly in its marketing campaigns. This can enable consumers to remember the brand more easily. When they hear the theme line, they may associate it immediately with the brand.

Colour

Many companies consistently use the same colours in their logo, advertising or packaging. This way, they want to associate those colours with the brand. Consistent use of specific and unique colours helps differentiate the brand from its competitors and instantly boosts the brand's visibility. Organisations can use colour theories to select complementary colours for their brand.

Shape

Some products are instantly recognisable to consumers for their unique shapes. This means that shapes can help companies create a brand identity. For example, a soda company may create a unique bottle design that is easy for consumers to recognise. Likewise, a game system's controller linear shapes can immediately identify the brand.

Graphics

The images and patterns that a company uses in its marketing can help consumers identify the brand immediately. It is usual for companies to select imagery that represents what they do. Graphics may also help companies communicate their values.

Language

A company may use specific words or phrases to refer to its products. This can help to set the tone of its brand. The vocabulary it chooses to communicate with its target consumers can help to define the brand. It can also set it apart from its industry competitors. People may identify with the words the brand uses and buy the products for that reason.

Sound

Sound or audio branding is concerned with using unique sounds to raise brand awareness to establish a positive association with the target consumers. When used carefully, sound can be very effective in attracting public attention. It can also help build brand identity. People may respond better to sounds than to visual imagery.

Taste

Food and beverage companies often use a unique flavour or a combination of unique flavours in building their brand identity. It is important that they maintain a consistent taste in their products. The unique flavours of their products may help attract their target consumers. This helps customers recognise the brand after tasting its food or drinks.

Related: What Is A Brand Manager? Requirements And Job Description

How to develop brand identity

Companies that build a brand identity that is consistent with their values and ideals can often attract new customers, increase sales and achieve business success. The following suggestions may help you to develop a company's brand identity:

1. Conduct market research

When developing a brand identity, first research your industry and market extensively. By analysing the data you gather, you can identify specific opportunities available to you. It can also allow you to assess your strengths and weaknesses. This can enable you to understand your position in your industry and your relation to your competitors. By noting elements that make the company unique, you can focus on developing those. It may help you market yourself uniquely and compete with other similar brands.

2. Determine business goals

Knowing your exact business goals can help you develop and implement effective marketing strategies to achieve them. Aside from wanting to boost sales, your goals might be to make your products and services available to specific groups that can benefit from them. You can incorporate such information into the messaging you use to promote your brand identity. Then it can become easier for you to make your goals clear to the public. It may also attract consumers who support your stance.

Related: Business Strategy Components And Examples

3. Identify target customers

Identifying a company's target customers is a crucial step in developing its brand identity. You can conduct customer surveys, focus groups and consumer interviews to identify the company's primary customer groups. This can enable you to determine which demographics are more likely to buy from the company you are promoting.

Understanding the preferences, requirements and expectations of the target audience can help you build a brand identity that resonates with them. The next step is creating promotional campaigns that can convince the target customers to buy the company's products and services. You can appeal to their emotions and win their trust to build customer loyalty.

Related: Customer Satisfaction: How To Measure And Tips For Improvement

4. Determine brand personality and message

Remaining consistent is key to developing a memorable brand identity. It can help to decide at the onset what type of brand personality you want to cultivate. You also want to decide on the brand messaging. You can give considerable thought to selecting the right brand name, colours, design, typography and logo. You can then use these elements across different marketing campaigns.

By promoting the same specific voice, tone and message, you can get people to notice and remember it. Even if customers do not immediately decide to purchase the company's products and services, it can help them get familiar with the brand and its offerings. They may buy from the brand in the future.

5. Create a memorable brand design

You can use the different brand identity elements to create an eye-catching design that highlights the brand message. Make sure the brand design contributes to the brand's message. Make your design choices with care after conducting thorough market research. Select colours and fonts that support the brand's design vision. These stylistic choices can form the foundation of the brand and determine how customers view and feel about the brand.

For instance, a wispy font may communicate a sense of relaxation, while Times New Roman may portray tradition and stability. The colour choice of heather grey may communicate serenity while a stronger, more vivid hue of green may portray confidence. Knowing your customers and having a well-defined vision can be the deciding factors in many of your decisions in creating a brand identity.

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