Before getting into the details of developing brand identity, refresh your memory with the intro to branding.

It’s helpful to think of your “brand identity” as a person. Every person has a name, personality, and physical characteristics that, combined together, make them distinct and recognizable from other people.

For example, there are lots of people named “Ben” with brown hair. But there the more features we’ll add to describe that ben, such a “Ben” with brown hair who always wears band shirts, smells like menthol cigarettes, has an Australian accent and snorts every time he laughs. It will be  easier to remember this specific “Ben.”

a men smiling at the camera

And so it should be easy to distinguish your brand identity from your competitors’, even if you both own ice cream shops in Seattle, Washington. There is something that sets your ice cream shop apart, and you’ll use your brand identity to communicate those unique attributes.

Choosing Your Brand Name

Choosing a name for your brand can be intimidating. A good place to start is always, ALWAYS to look at what your competitors are named. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, but you do want to make sure that your name is distinct enough from your local competitors so that you don’t confuse customers.

Start with a keyword Google search of your market to see which competitor appears in the results.

For example, if you run a yoga studio in Seattle, do a search for “yoga studios Seattle.” Write down your competitors’ names and make sure that you don’t create anything too similar to your progress in your naming process.

yoga teacher

Now, let’s look at how brand names are most commonly determined:

  • Use your own name/the founders’ name (example: “McDonalds”,)
  • Describe what your business does (example: “Pizza Hut” “Snap Chat”, “Airbnb”)
  • Describe an image or experience (example: “Nike,” “Facebook”)
  •  Choose a random word(s) (example: “Amazon,” “Apple”, “Uber”)
  •  Make up a word (“Google,” “Sony,” “Ikea”)

Remember that your name should be appropriate for your product or service, but it mostly depends on who your audience is and the market you’re trying to reach. If you are a realtor or lawyer, it’s more convenient to use your own name for your practice or firm. On the other hand, if your field and target audience is more creative, young, or advanced, then it makes more sense to have an unconventional name.

Time to describe your business

Make a list of 10-20 words that you want people to associate with your business. Use those words to inspire the direction of your brand name. Now try to make 4-5 optional names for each of the following categories – Conservative names b. Made up words c. Descriptive names d. Random names

Design: Logo, Color Scheme and Font

Design elements—like color, shapes and size—can have a huge affect on our emotions and how we perceive information and brands. Here’s a simple example: Which color represents heat? Which color represents cold? Chances are you answered “red” and “blue,” respectively.

What about Size? How do you feel about more IMPOSING SIZES?

what about font? Would you have read this far in the lesson if the text was in Comic Sans? And what feeling would you have while reading? Some Caribbean breeze perhaps?

As we can see, visual design elements have a great influence on our emotions, reactions and perceptions. This is why your brand’s logo, color scheme and font must align with the emotions you wish to evoke, and with the values, and story you created

Let’s compare how design works for different businesses:

Professional and business services (accounting, law, consulting) – these businesses often seek to portray a feeling of professionalism, accountability and security. Therefore, they often use a dark, muted colour scheme (greys, blacks, dark blues), a traditional fonts with clean lines.Professional and business services (accounting, law, consulting) – these businesses often seek to portray a feeling of professionalism, accountability and security. Therefore, they often use a dark, muted colour scheme (greys, blacks, dark blues), a traditional fonts with clean lines.Creative businesses or startups (graphic designers, musicians, photographers, app developers) – these businesses often seek to portray a feeling of innovation, fun and creativity. Therefore, they often use a brighter, bolder color scheme with a more interpretive, playful logo or font.

Insurance company with light, modern design – https://www.lemonade.com/

Bank with modern young language – http://www.pepper.co.il/en/

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is logos-1.jpg

Tone of Voice (Personality)

Just like design, language also plays a huge role in your brand’s identity. It’s not just what you say but how you say it.

Think about how you would tell a funny story to your best friend versus how you would tell it to your mother. The story doesn’t change but the way you tell it does. Why? Because the audience is so different;

Try to imagine if your brand would have been a real person, how would he talk? Would it be a “he” at all? Or maybe a “she?” How old is he/she? Where from? What accent he/she might have? Is it very official or maybe friendly and easy-going? Is it directive and didactic or maybe requesting and wishful?

The voice and tone is not just the story, but also the small gestures – the microcopies. Microcopy is all the mini texts and gestures that our brand might use in the communication with its audience. Just like the marketing messages, the microcopy should be an outcome of the brand identity.

The Micro copy is the continue button texts next to it or the legal comment below the leave details form. The way it is addressed by the audience is as relevant as the main message.  

At this point in the lesson, you’ve already identified your target customer (or have begun to). This target customer is your audience, and your tone of voice must appeal to them as well as reflect the emotions you want to convey

iPhone and shopify email

Create your brand persona

Answer the following questions and create your brand persona (note that the persona you create should always be similar to your target client characteristics, but usually it helps to make it similar to ease the messaging process later on

  • How old is that person?
  • Is it a male or female? Where is he/she from?
  • What does she like?
  • Is she sarcastic /humorous/ funny/serious any other emotional features?
  • What does it like to do?
  • Hobbies?
  • Does it have kids?
  • Married?
  • What kind of relationship she has with her family members?

Now identify the repeating words you have – like caring, Funny, serious etc. Use them to create the voice and tone for your brand.

Find your brand’s voice

You have a customer who just completed an order for your product or service. You now need to send the customer an email to confirm and thank them for their purchase.

What kind of tone will you take in the email? Take the following email and rephrase it to match your brand voice and tone, make sure you also match the micro-copy in the email.

Template #1

[This could be instead of receipt email]

[branded image or typographic image with “Thank you” ]

Dear [Customer name],

Thank you for your order.

We truly value our loyal customers. Thanks for making who we are!
As a token of appreciation, have a 15% off coupon code for your next purchase.

[discount code block with CTA]

That’s what you’ve ordered this time:
[table with products ordered]

Template #2

[Send out to customers on the parcel delivery day]

Dear [Customer name],

Thanks for shopping with us!

Your feedback is important to us. Would you mind writing a short review of your last purchase?

[table of products purchased with CTA to review page]

Thank You once again,
The [brand name] team

Template #3

[make a segment of customers that recently have bought more than two products]

Hey [Customer name],

Recently you have purchased a bunch of our products. Thanks a lot!
We would like to know how you like them. Did you have a chance to try them all?

[CTA to review products]

[table of recently purchased products]

Thanks again, looking forward to hearing your feedback.

– Elsa from the [Brand name] Team

Template #4

[Order confirmation email to send out immediately after the purchase has been completed]

It’s ordered!

Hi [customer name],

Thanks for your order!

Order number,
Order Date,
Estimated time of delivery

[Table of items purchased]

[Delivery details]

Thanks,
The [brand name] team

You’re almost done!

We’ve come to the last stretch of branding. Now that we’ve covered the basics of your brand identity, it’s time to explore how your customers will encounter and experience your brand identity: through your brand assets.

To review, your brand identity is the look, feel, and tone of your brand, which consists of carefully defined visual design elements and language that represent specific emotions. Your brand identity must always adhere to the guidelines you defined.  

– Font type

– Color scheme

– Logo

font type, design

The tone of voice must always stay consistent (unless you decide to rebrand years from now). Brands rebrand themselves when their values, goals, or type of business change.

They need to match their brand identity and appearance to their new values and goals, but that’s getting ahead of ourselves!).

Create Your Assets

Now that we’ve covered what a brand is and its purpose, it’s time to explore your brand assets. There are two general categories for brand assets:

  1. The experience:
    These are elements that create the look and feel of your brand. It can include your brand logo, colors, typography, and tagline. If we take the “Nike” brand, for example, its distinct brand assets are the “swoosh” symbol and tagline “Just do it.”
  2. The touchpoints:
    The term “touchpoint” refers to how audiences come into contact (or “touch”) your brand. This could be your website, your social media pages, business card, advertisement, or anything else that your audience might encounter.

Brand Style Guidelines

There are countless places (or “assets”) where you can place your brand: ads, social media accounts, your website, and even a coffee mug. No matter where your brand appears—online or offline—it absolutely needs to be consistent.

The look, feel and tone of your brand should not change from asset to asset. Everything from your color scheme to your font type and weight should match, and this is why it’s crucial to develop brand guidelines. You’ll also hear it referred to as “brand standards,” a “style guide” or “brand book.”

Think of your brand guidelines as an army uniform. Your brand might have a few variations of its “uniform” (just as the U.S. Army has three), but there is still continuity between them and each remains consistent in and of itself.

Brand Guidelines

Brand Guidelines Checklist Here is what to consider when defining your guidelines:  

  • Voice & tone
  •  Values
  •  Logo
  •  Color palette (including colors code)
  •  Font type(s)
  •  Font weight(s)
  •  Tagline(s)
  •  Images guidelines

All done

Once you’ve compiled your guidelines, use them to create your brand assets such as your website, business cards, social media, merchandise, advertising, and more.

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