Brand identity is the collection of all elements that a company creates to portray the right image to its consumers. In other words- it is what makes your company instantly recognizable to your customers. Brand identity consists of the visible elements of a brand that identify and distinguish the brand in consumers’ minds. If you want to be a competitive and successful company, crafting a strong brand identity is mandatory.
In addition, it can bring in consistent sales and make product roll-outs more successful. However, it requires analyzing the company and its market and determining the company’s goals, customers and message. Building a brand identity is a multi-disciplinary strategic effort. Furthermore, every element needs to support the overall message and business goals. When building your brand identity, start with:
1. Defining Your Brand Strategy
Your brand strategy is a detailed plan that outlines exactly what you’re trying to achieve and how to do it. It consists of your:
- Brand Heart (purpose, vision, mission, values)
- Messaging (brand voice, personality, tagline, value proposition, messaging pillars)
- Brand Identity (logo, color, typography, etc.)
Your brand identity is a tool to help you communicate your brand visually, thus supporting your brand strategy. As such, before you dive into your brand identity, it’s important to have a fully fleshed-out strategy.
To design a strong brand identity, you need to complete the foundational work of your brand strategy. Once you’ve documented your brand strategy, you can focus on brand identity.
Before you know what elements to include in your brand identity, you need to know who your brand is. Start with defining the following elements that represent your brand’s foundation:
- Mission (What purpose does your company serve?)
- Values (What beliefs drive your company?)
- Brand personality (What kind of personality would your brand have?)
- Unique positioning (How do you differentiate yourself from the competition?)
- Brand voice (How is your brand going to communicate?)
Before you start building your brand identity, it’s important you have a clear understanding of each. To define these elements, ask yourself:
- Why did we start this business?
- What are the beliefs and values that are important to us as a company?
- What makes us special?
- If we could describe our brand in three words, what would they be?
- What are the three words we would want our customers to use to describe us?
Next, build the identity that will bring your brand to life and show your customers who you are.
2. Determine Your Buyer Persona
Your brand identity should accurately communicate who you are while interacting with your target audience. Furthermore, it should resonate with their needs in order to be effective. That way you will make more effective design choices once you understand their needs, wants, and values. To understand who you’re trying to reach, create buyer personas that represent your different target segments.
These personas identify both demographic and psychographic information that gives you insight into your target audience. Beyond your primary customers, consider how other brands or potential clients might perceive your brand. Afterward, use this information to influence your design decisions.
3. Identify Your Competition
It’s crucial to understand not just who your competition is but how your brand compares, in perception and presentation. For a start, conduct a competitive analysis. Pay special attention to how your competitors present themselves in terms of common visual elements, trends, brand personalities, etc. For example, it’s not uncommon that all of the competitors use the exact same colors in their branding. Many industries tend to gravitate toward the same visual elements, but it reveals a great opportunity to differentiate.
4. Develop your brand design
Before you start creating your design assets, lock in the basics of your design structure. Determine the following elements:
Typography refers to the font (or type) for your branding materials. It’s particularly important to choose logo fonts and brand fonts wisely. There are several major types of typography with different symbols. Consider the ones that suit your law brand the most. Serif fonts (like Times New Roman or Garamond) are considered classic typography.
They are a great choice for your brand to appear trustworthy, traditional and a little old school. On the other hand, Script typography emulates cursive handwriting. These fonts (like Allura or Pacifico) can add a luxurious or feminine feel to your brand. The typography you choose will say a lot about your brand, so choose your fonts wisely. Whatsoever, don’t forget to consult experts in this field during this step.
Using branding color strategically can have a serious impact on how your brand is perceived by your audience. Here are some colors used in law branding and their hidden meaning:
Red – The color of passion and excitement. It’s a perfect choice if your brand identity is loud, powerful, and exciting.
Orange – Orange is another high-energy color. It is a great choice if you want to appear friendly and playful. It’s used less commonly than red so it will make your law firm stand out.
Yellow – Yellow is all about happiness. The cheerful vibe makes it a good choice if you want to feel accessible and affordable.
Green – An incredibly versatile color, green can be used for just about any brand. Culturally, though, when people see green, they think of two things: money or nature. If your brand is tied to either of those things, green is an especially good choice.
Blue – Blue can help your branding to appear more stable and trustworthy. If you’re looking to appeal to a wide demographic—and get them to trust you in the process—go with blue.
Purple – Purple is the color of royalty. If you’re going for a luxurious feel in your branding, think purple.
Pink – This color is culturally tied to femininity. If your brand is targeted towards women, consider pink for your brand color. It’s also a great color for brands with a soft or luxurious identity.
Brown– This is perhaps the least used color in all of the branding, but that could actually work to your advantage! It can help you stand out by presenting your brand as rugged or masculine.
Black – If you want to be viewed as modern or sophisticated, there’s nothing as classic and effective as black.
When it comes to your designs, you also want to think about form and shape. They can be used to reinforce the desired reaction from your customers. For example, a logo with soft edges will inspire a different reaction from a logo that’s sharp and square.
Here’s how different forms can shape your brand identity:
Round shapes are circles, ovals and ellipses. Brands that incorporate round shapes can create feelings of community, unity and love. The rounded edges can also be viewed as feminine.
Straight-edged shapes—squares, rectangles and triangles—make people think strength and efficiency. These lines create a feeling of stability and trustworthiness.
Straight lines also have their own implications. Vertical lines suggest masculinity and strength, while horizontal lines suggest tranquility.
5. Design your brand identity
Your design assets are the tangible elements that will determine how your brand is perceived. Things like your logo, web design, social media graphics, business cards and your employee’s uniforms. Once you’ve figured out the basics of your design, it’s time to consult a designer. The specialist will use his expertise to bring your brand identity to life. Finally, to translate who you are as a brand into tangible design assets you can use in your marketing.
Your logo design is the foundation of your brand identity. Your logo should:
- Clearly communicate who you are and what you value as a brand
- Be visually appealing
- Poses a clear and classic design
- Align with your industry’s standards
- Make a lasting impression on your audience
Make sure to save your logo in multiple formats and ensure each is in line with your brand identity.
Your website is one of the most representative aspects of your brand identity. Your customers will definitely check your website out before deciding to do business with you. Therefore, your website is where your brand identity should be stated loud and clear.
A well-designed card offers the chance to reinforce a positive opinion of yourself in the eyes of potential clients. When it comes to business card design, include your company logo and your key personal details.
Email is a great way to engage your customers and drive business. However, if you want to grow your business via email, you need the right design strategy. Only that way you will set yourself apart from others. Think about the purpose of the email and what are you trying to achieve. Afterward, adjust your content and design accordingly.
6. Create Your Brand Style Guide
Create a brand style guide to make sure your design assets are used in the right way. This document outlines your design assets, when and how to use them etc. Moreover, it will ensure that any future design aligns with your brand identity. In addition, it will generate the right perception with your audience.
Make sure to always stick to a brand guide that covers all the different elements of your brand identity. That’s what is going to enable you to build brand recognition and brand loyalty in the long term. Include clear, easy-to-follow guidelines for every part of the brand identity, including examples.
Also add practical detail, denoting as much information as needed to help your designer replicate the brand identity successfully. Once completed, make sure guidelines are distributed to the team, easily accessed and regularly updated.
Your brand identity is what sets you apart from your competitors. Furthermore, it shows your customers what they can expect from working with you. Therefore, it’s crucial to create your brand identity and designs that accurately portray who you are.
Strong brand identity needs to work for your internal team and the people who will interact with it. Finally, make sure your brand identity is:
- Distinct: To stand out among competitors and catch people’s attention
- Memorable: To make an instant visual impact
- Scalable and flexible: To be able to grow and evolve with the brand
- Cohesive: Each piece complements the brand identity
- Easy to apply: To be intuitive and clear for designers to use
To learn about this and similar topics, we recommend reading How to Establish Brand Presence for Law Firm.