Guide to Building a Successful Online Brand Identity

Brand identity, especially online brand identity, is one of the greatest peddlers of success. Building an online brand identity is a crucial tool that establishes who you are and how people see you. It’s what sets you apart from others within your industry. Brand identity takes into consideration not only what you think your brand is, but also how customers and end users perceive you to be. For a more technical definition, brand identity also includes the brand logo, the colours, typography, brand tone, brand assets, and even your employees’ uniforms.

It’s so important because it’s so entrenched in everything surrounding your brand. Especially on the digital platform, where word travels fast and wide nowadays.

In this list, we give you three major steps to building a solid online brand identity!

Solidify Your Story—What Your Brand Is All About

These days, people are more conscious about the brands they subscribe to and support. Conscious consumerism is on the rise, and aside from considering what happens when a product or service ends its lifecycle, there’s focus given to how the product is formed in the first place. For example, what ethical considerations are present when it was assembled? How the brand or organisation came to be? More than anything, people want to know that you care and that this care translates well to the product or services you’re offering.

So, even if you can’t keep everyone on loop about how your products come to be, you can do one thing instead: tell consumers your stories. It’s stories behind why something—an idea, an endeavour, an organisation—is formed that resonate with consumers. And all these stories guide not only how the audience’s perception is shaped and maintained but as well as the direction business owners can take in the future. Solidifying stories is step one to building a successful brand identity that people can remember.

Now, if you’re having trouble solidifying your brand’s story, it’s good to ask yourself the following questions:

Who are you as a brand?

Call this your brand’s very own “origin story”. Here’s where you go back to the barest parts of you that led your organisation to where you are now. Where your brand is in the marketplace. What words do you associate with your brand? What terms do people use to define your brand? Determining who you are as a brand can be as simple as listing down the words and terms you, as well as consumers, associate with it. This way, you get a synergy of perspectives that can help you illustrate your identity clearly.

What are your mission and vision?

This is where you reflect and recall what market needs you want to satisfy in the first place and what needs you’ve already satisfied. A fine, clear definition of your purpose to see who you want to be in the eyes of your market. Remember, a brand is only as good as its ability to satisfy a need or a gap in the market. So, before making yourself clear to the end-users, it’s important that you first know what you’re here for.

Who’s your market?

The market is one of the most important aspects of building a brand. Without them, you won’t get an idea as to what needs you must satisfy, or what direction your brand should be going in the future. The market holds the power to unlock most of your business’s potentials. So, when building a brand image, it’s important that you don’t leave out your audience in the story. For starters, you can utilise market data. Consider a clear buyer or user persona and get to know them—their perks, their interests, how valuable they think you could be for them, etc. Finally, this gives you the edge to adapt strategies that entice them.

How are you different from the competition?

With so many brands competing for attention, it’s important that people can differentiate you from your closest competitors. Food establishments, for instance, have “special recipes”. Any organisation has that, too. A defining characteristic that you don’t share with anybody else. Find that specialty and capitalise on it.

How does the brand’s voice sound as if they’re a real person talking?

Here, you personify your brand. Is your brand like a reliable older sister? A "life of the party” kind of friend? Or perhaps, a grandmother that loves to spoil her grandchildren? Whoever you think your brand is, its personality must be consistently visible in all aspects of your branding. It must convince the end users or audience that truly, you are who you want to embody.

Finally, tie all these in one unifying statement. An explanation of what your brand does in one brief yet complete sentence. Think of it as your brand’s thesis statement, a unifying sentence that concisely summarizes your claim as a brand. Figure that out and you'll be guided as you go along these steps.

Now, it’s time to get down to the specifics. By specifics, we mean your brand’s creative, tangible elements, which we’ll discuss in detail below.

Establish Your Brand’s Creative Elements

Another thing to know about brand identity, according to design expert and brand strategist Arek Dvornechuck of Ebaq Design, is that it is tangible. Simply, he mentioned that brand identity is "...everything that you can see (the visual language)," JustUno published a report that says, “93% of consumers consider the visual appearance of a product to be a key factor when making a purchase online.”

In order to convey this language, you need creative elements that people can visually identify. Design tops off the list of “creative elements” a brand needs to establish its online brand identity. Corporate design includes the following:

Typography

Typefaces are important building blocks of brand identity in that it conveys a mood or a feeling you want to leave your onlookers. So, choosing the right typeface is crucial to determining how people will react to your brand. Venngage names six major types of typefaces, namely Serif, Sans serif, Slab serif, Script, Handwritten, and Decorative. Below is a characteristic and font guide for each typeface that you may want to check out:

Font Personalities from Venngage

Color palette

Next, we have colour. When choosing a color palette for brands, designers follow a guide called the colour theory. Colour theory talks about how colours influence and impact people’s behaviour—how certain colors evoke what type of emotion. Colour is not only dictated by cultural differences, but also of the industry. Here are some quick examples: red is often associated with food or the food industry since it triggers the appetite; blue is a serene color that is reminiscent of security as well as productivity; while yellow evokes a sense of optimism and creativity.

Logo

Finally, we come to one of the most striking parts of the brand design—the logo. Or as HubSpot calls it, the “face of your business”. You may share color palette or typefaces with other brands out there, but the logo is the definitive symbol of your company or organisation. It must be everywhere you want your brand to be. From packaging, company newsletters, brochures, and so on. It’s what people will first recognise about you and what stimulates their recall. Design Hill offers 10 logo types, including monogram logos, icon-based logos, mascot logos, emblem logos, and abstract logos. Check out these examples:

Monogram

Icon-based

Mascot

Emblem

Abstract

Additionally, we're including another creative element of brand identity that every brand should have—a slogan. Slogans should be succinct but still emotional. It must carry with it a brand’s value proposition while being memorable at the same time. Think Nike’s “Just Do It” or KFC’s “It’s Finger Lickin’ Good!”. You hear those words and you know exactly who they’re associated with.

To tie up the elements in this section, you need to come up with a Brand Guide. A brand guide is something that unifies all the creative elements of your brand identity, making it replicable. It seeks to present your brand clearly to potential clients and users. Finally, it provides a step-by-step method for implementing your brand’s design to all aspects of your company.

Implement Creative Elements into Every Aspect of Your Business

Finally, here’s where you market your freshly minted (or rehashed) online brand identity! Implementing all the elements we’ve mentioned is a great way of communicating, advertising, and embodying your brand, especially on social media. These strategies show that a brand is coherent; that it’s consistent all throughout.

Online, here are few ideas as to how you can show this cohesiveness through online marketing.

Through branded emails

Branded emails include all creative elements we’ve talked about. It’s a marketing strategy for making a good, continuous impression on your customers. Not only that, but it’s also a way to keep your brand fresh in your market’s mind. May that be a promotional email, a welcome email, or a newsletter, emails are a way of reaching out to your market. If you want to learn more about how to design a great branded email, check out this list.

With a branded website

Your website is the most important online marketing tool at your disposal. And great brand websites are not only created with expert web developers. What they do is make sure to include the best parts of and about your brand in order to entice potential and existing market. Take note, people are more discerning these days, so they’ll judge your website from the theme you choose to the positioning of website elements.

On social media platforms that fit your brand

Take note of the key phrase here: “platforms that fit your brand”. While we’ve preached the importance of being present on social media, your branded content (another important building block of brand identity) must be optimised for different platforms. Some content is a better fit to, say, Facebook, and wouldn’t have a profound effect if published on Instagram. That's why you must also onboard digital marketing experts who can help match your brand to an appropriate channel. People to help you create branded content and maintain them at the same time.

To be recognisable, a brand must have a quality that people can pick out easily from others.

One needs markers or identifiers that portray the brand perfectly and consistently. That’s where a solid online brand identity comes in. Call us and learn more with our team of competent designers now!

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