AdRoll Blog

How to Develop a Strong Brand Identity

Your personal identity consists of the things that make you stand out in a crowd. It’s comprised of everything from your appearance and style to your personality and thoughts. You have a peculiar way of speaking and moving, of laughing and dressing that people associate you with. Now, look at this through the lens of marketing: You want people to recognize your brand, right off the bat — a brand with an unforgettable logo, a distinct personality, and unmistakeable values. You want to have a strong brand identity. 

Let’s go over the components of a strong brand identity and what goes into creating one.

What’s a Brand Identity? 

As Jeff Bezos so aptly said, "Branding is what people say about you when you're not in the room." Your product or service leaves an impression on your customers even after you've made the sale

Your brand identity shapes that impression — it’s who you are and your values as a company. It’s how you communicate your product and the catalyst that sparks the emotions you want your customers to feel each time they interact with your brand. 

Let’s do a little test — ready for a game of “Guess That Logo?” We’re going to show you a few stripped-down logos from brand identity specialist Pedro Almeida. Your job is to see whether you can correctly guess which logo belongs to which company. 

Image: Ilikethesepixels

If we had to hazard a guess, you correctly guessed all of them. You probably recognized McDonald’s distinct arch, YouTube’s play button, and Google’s series of colors at first glance — even without any words. You might’ve felt certain emotions attached to certain brands as well, like a longing for a juicy Big Mac. And that instant recognition is what makes brand identity so powerful. 

What Makes a Strong Brand Identity?

There are three components of a well-developed brand identity: 

    1. Your logo. Of course, your brand identity extends to more than just a cool logo — it has to have meaning behind it. For example, when you look at the Coca Cola logo, what do you think of? Cute polar bears wrapped in red scarves, and a group of beautiful people taking swigs from bottles with satisfied, “Ahh’s,” right? Both represent Coca Cola’s tagline, “Taste the Feeling.” The “feeling” in question is one of happiness and belonging. When people see your logo, they should immediately think of your company and what it represents.
    2. Your company’s credibility. If you maintain your brand identity consistently, it’ll establish credibility and trust among your customers, and strengthen your position in the marketplace.
    3. Your company’s mission and values. What your business stands for is a massive part of your brand identity. Think about your goals, guiding principles, and culture to dictate your mission and values.

What Goes Into Creating a Strong Brand Identity?

While this varies based on your industry and what product or service you’re providing, brand identity is usually a mix of the following: 

A clear value proposition: Note that value propositions should be customer-centric. This means that it should cast a spotlight on the benefits your product or service provides to customers. It should also encompass the following: What does your company do? What are your key benefits and key differentiators

Consistent tone and voice: Having a consistent tone and voice across all of your content and channels is critical — it shows that your brand is consistent, too, and therefore reliable. Imagine that your brand is its own person — would your brand voice be humorous, sophisticated, or authoritative? 

A meaningful logo: As mentioned earlier, the importance of a logo is paramount. So, how do you go about creating one? Consider hiring outside help — a professional logo designer can perform industry research, brainstorm ideas, and create your logo with design best practices in mind. However, if you’re going to design it yourself, keep in mind these principles of great logo design

  • Simplicity: Your logo should give a clear sense of who you are without being cluttered.
  • Memorable: Is your logo easily recalled, even after a glance? Think of the more prominent brands’ logos that are etched into your mind for inspiration.
  • Timeless: Your logo should be modern but not too trendy in case it gets outdated. 
  • Versatile: Imagine how your logo will look like on all collateral, such as shirts, pens, notepads, etc. 
  • Appropriate: Will it connect with your target audience? 

A unique color palette: Mastercard has its famous gold and red, and Twitter has its distinctive light blue. What are your brand colors? Your pigments should represent your brand’s personality. Start by choosing three colors: Your base, accent, and neutral colors. 

Choose your brand’s typeface: Again, think of your brand’s personality and characteristics. Is your brand traditional? Reliable? Elegant and graceful? Iconic Fox created an excellent infographic to use as a starting point for your typography considerations.  

Use consistent graphics. We’ll keep saying it — consistency is key to a well-developed brand identity. This includes graphics, whether they’re in ads or emails. It’s important to create templates so that all aspects of your creatives align

We Can’t Stress This Enough — Brand Identity is Crucial

John Durham, CEO of brand marketing agency Catalyst SF, stresses that brand identity is “...the single most important thing you can do, outside of figuring out what your business model is. Your brand identity is a necessary component to helping your business grow,” and that “without it, you’ll have a difficult time really building your business.” 

Take these words to heart as you begin developing your brand identity. Soon enough, people might recognize your brand in an instant, no words or ads required. 

When you’ve developed your brand identity, it’s time to think about your brand marketing strategy. Read more here

Angie Tran

Angie Tran

Angie is the Content Marketing Manager at AdRoll. Prior to AdRoll, she was a Content Writer at various digital marketing agencies. A writer by day and a reader by night, Angie’s other hobbies include cooking and learning useless movie trivia.