A compelling and memorable brand identity system makes it easier for customers to choose your product or service. It differentiates you. It helps customers understand the features and benefits of your product or service, and creates customer loyalty.
In short, it makes your company more successful! Who doesn’t want that?! Here we will get into exactly what a brilliant brand identity system consists of and how and when to deploy it.
What is a brand identity system?
Your brand identity system is the visual and verbal expression of your brand. The visible expressions include the logo, the colors, the design, the photography style – all of the visual elements that identify and distinguish your brand in the consumers' minds. The verbal expressions of your brand are things like a tagline or brand promise, positioning statement, value proposition and key messages. In short, your brand identity system is all the things about your brand that you can see, touch, hold and hear.
Your brand, on the other hand, is the customer’s perception and expectations of your product, service or company. As Marty Neumeier puts it in The Brand Gap: “A brand is not what you say it is. It is what they say it is.”
Still a bit confused as to what’s a brand vs. a brand identity system? Head over to our blog “What is a brand?” to quickly become an expert in branding terminology.
When do you need it created?
An obvious time to develop a brand identity system is when you’ve created a new company or product or campaign, but there are other times when it’s needed, such as:
- During a name change; because your name no longer fits who you are, or you are going through a merger
- When you need to revitalize your brand or reposition
- When you are entering new markets
- When your current brand identity isn’t working, isn’t equal to your competitors
- When your current brand identity system isn’t consistent or distinctive
What makes a good brand identity?
- It’s bold, memorable, and appropriate
- Easily recognizable
- Provides a clear and consistent message
- Communicates the company’s persona
- Works well across media and scale
- It is legally protectable
- It has meaning
- It is authentic
- It is differentiated
- It is flexible
How to deploy a brand identity system
Once you have your brand identity system nailed down, the next step is deploying it consistently. Consistency is important because it breeds trust, and trust means your customer will choose your brand again and again.
The first step in maintaining a consistent brand identity is have your design agency create a brand manual for you. A brand manual will ensure that all parties, internally and externally, apply and express the brand in a consistent way.
A brand manual usually includes the brand’s mission, vision, and values. It shows how and where to apply all of the visual elements, such as various logos, tagline, colours, typography, photography, graphics, etc.
It also contains communication guidelines; what tone of voice does the brand use? What type of grammar and formatting? With the brand manual, everyone should be crystal clear on the personality of the brand and how to express it both visually and verbally.