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What is a Brand Identity & Why is it Important?

I want you to close your eyes for a second and picture the logo for Nike or Disney or Apple. We’re going to think about what makes them them. We’re looking at their brand identity right now. Pay close attention to these things:

You see their logo, yes? How would you describe the color? Do you see other versions of that same logo?

What non-logo thing immediately comes to mind when you picture one of those brands?

For me, when I think of Disney, I think magic. Followed up immediately by kids movies that also make me cry every time I watch them. I think Disney World, which goes hand in hand with magic, as the entire purpose of Disney World is to allow their audience to experience the magic that they’ve brought to life within their movies.

A brand identity is so much more than just a logo, some colors, and two or three typefaces.

It goes beyond the visual. A brand identity is just that – an identity. You have your own identity, I have mine. We are different people and we each bring different things to the table. A full brand is its own entity. It starts with a business’ mission and goes into their values and then dives into what kind of tone of voice they use in their communications and content.

Just Do It – the brand identity of Victory

Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan and swoosh logo are just the tip of the iceberg. They have positioned themselves as the top choice for professional athletes, simply with the name, Nike. Nike is the greek goddess of victory. So first and foremost, they’ve named themselves to appeal to their target market of competitive athletes, and the language they use is confident and empowering, which further supports their mission statement, “to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.

The advantage of time in brand recognition

Granted, these businesses have all been around for a while, so they’ve had plenty of time to gain brand recognition. But the bigger thing in driving recognition than time? Experience. Disney World exists to let their audience step into their magical worlds. Apple makes hardware that (controversially, we can debate this in the comments, if you’d like) are the best options for creatives and their products are easy and intuitive to use. Check out this post by The Bract Team for further insight on some of the most recognizable brands of today.

Now think about businesses that don’t have that kind of global recognition, but do provide a unique and memorable experience. The first one that comes to mind for me is Ed Debevic’s in Chicago. It’s a retro diner with great food, but here’s the kicker – the servers are snarky to the patrons. This is what they’re known for. The experience they’re providing is so vastly different from every other diner or restaurant that I’ve ever heard of or been to, and it’s fun every single time I go.

You don’t need decades behind you for brand recognition

Your business does not need to have existed for the last fifty or hundred years in order to gain the recognition it deserves. You just need a solid, strategy-backed identity that will resonate with the people you want to resonate with and create that mental and emotional connection. Because that’s what will keep people coming back for more. And the visuals are only a part of that. The visuals are what tell your brand story without outright saying it via words on a screen or on paper.

Without having a distinctive and strategic brand identity for your business, you’ll likely wind up going through several rebrands in as many years and your consumer base will get confused, wondering where you went each time you change things up. A good brand identity should last you for years. That’s not to say that you won’t grow as a business and business-owner and that your goals will not change because all of that will absolutely happen. Your business is an entity, but you are a human, which means you are constantly growing and learning and your priorities will shift as time goes on.

A brand refresh is not a bad thing

When you’ve got a solid brand identity in place, you’re in an excellent position to go through a refresh instead of a full rebrand. Because at that point, you know who you are, who your target market is, why they come to you, and the non-visual elements of your brand identity won’t need to change, at least not much. That’s when the visuals get their own update without your business becoming a stranger to everyone. It’s kind of like a good haircut. Everyone knew and loved you with your old hair style and color. But you just went light or dark or changed the length or color – you’re still you and everyone still knows you. You just look a little bit different. A little refreshed. And you feel more confident.

If you’d like to work with me to build your business’ strategy and branding, click here to inquire and get started on your project.

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