News and Insights

Building a Brand Identity: Where to Start?

Julie Morris, Writer

We recently touched on the difference between branding and marketing at GCI Publishing. While marketing encompasses the strategies you use to promote your product or service, branding is the promise you make to customers and the way you convey that promise through imagery, messaging, and customer experience.

To develop a reputation as a dependable and memorable business, branding should be visually compelling and consistent across all touchpoints. This includes visual elements like logos, colors, and fonts as well as a brand’s voice, story, and values.

Why is brand identity so important?

Brand identity is what makes a company recognizable. It embodies a brand’s personality, speaks to its mission and purpose, and advocates for a company over its competitors. Most importantly, brand identity resonates with target audiences to generate leads and foster loyal relationships.

What to expect when hiring a branding agency

Partnering with outside experts and agencies gets brands to market faster and offers a fresh perspective on brand value and identity. A branding team includes skilled specialists in brand design, strategy, and management.

●  Brand strategists define a brand’s goals, values, and audience. Brand strategists are skilled market researchers who analyze trends, competitors, and markets to develop a brand’s unique value proposition. They work closely with both company stakeholders and design teams to develop a brand position and visual assets. Due to the collaborative nature of their work, project management apps are a key tool for brand strategists. Solutions like Asana and Wrike let teams share files, track critical project dates, and collaborate on tasks.

●  Brand design specialists include experts in graphic design, web design, user experience, and copywriting. Design teams develop a brand’s visual identity including style guides, logos, illustrations, and animations. Once they understand a client’s strategy, design teams apply creative decisions to develop designs and submit them for feedback. This involves a lot of back-and-forth, so ask design leads to send files as PDFs to avoid long download times and multiple image files. Convert JPG to PDF online to retain higher image quality.

●  Brand management teams work with companies long-term to align branding and marketing strategies with business goals. Companies rely on brand management when launching new products, entering a new market, or launching a marketing campaign. We’re focusing on brand development in this article, so we won’t go much deeper into brand management.

Hub Group Logo Truck Decal

The key components of brand identity

Brand design and strategy teams collaborate to develop the key components of a brand’s identity, including:

●  Positioning is the space a brand occupies in relation to its customers and competitors, for example marketing a brand as the exclusive or economic choice.

●  Logos, typography, and colors are what make a brand instantly recognizable. Brands use visual elements like these to convey specific emotions and communicate a brand’s personality.

●  Imagery covers visual elements like photography, website graphics, packaging, and other aspects of the brand aesthetic.

●  Messaging includes the taglines, tone of voice, and vocabulary a brand uses to convey its identity. Messaging shapes how customers perceive and interact with a brand.

Together, these elements make up a brand’s style guide. Also known as brand guidelines, a style guide is a set of rules for representing a brand. Style guides are distributed to stakeholders to ensure a brand’s identity stays consistent whether it’s being managed internally or externally.

A company’s brand should reflect its values and communicate authentically with target audiences. Yet for in-house teams wearing multiple hats, that’s often easier said than done. That’s why it’s wise to partner with outside experts to develop your brand’s identity. With the necessary expertise and technical skills, a branding agency can develop high-quality assets and guidelines that represent your brand proudly and empower business growth.

Thumbnail image used is a clay bust, created by Kerry Grady
Previous Post
From Student to Designer
Next Post
Grady Campbell Announces The 2022 TOP 50 PE Firms in the Middle Market™