Top 10 Branding Elements Every Start-Up Business Needs
Let’s talk first about what brand identity is exactly. Branding is a way for companies to connect emotionally with customers, build awareness, and create ongoing customer loyalty. When it comes to the sea of choices consumers have, branding helps differentiate you from competitors. It helps customers know who you are and why they should care. Successful branding is about seizing every opportunity to express why people should choose you over your competition.
Branding has 3 primary functions:
Navigation – Branding helps consumers choose from an overwhelming array of options. It helps them choose brands that align with their values.
Reassurance – Branding communicates the level of quality of your product or service. It helps reassure customers that they have made the best choice.
Engagement – Branding uses distinct imagery, language and associations to help customers identify and engage with your company.
Why is branding important?
Many companies understand that creating brand identity is crucial, but they don’t actually understand why or how to incorporate it consistently with their company. Studies say that over 90% of communication is non-verbal.
Think of it this way: Your brand identity is a tangible route to appeal to a customer’s senses, by providing a way to see, touch, hold, hear, or watch something that helps spike recognition, persuade and inspire action.
Your brand is the most powerful investment you can make for your company and it is never too late to establish your brand identity. So how does it work?
Your brand resonates in everything that your business does on a regular basis. It’s the full customer experiences your company provides including the following four areas:
Visual Brand Identity, such as logo, website, and color scheme
Brand Tone of Voice, such as mission statement, website copy, and blog posts
Brand Values, such as the types of causes your company supports
Brand Personality, such as your company’s culture and customer service
These 10 elements EVERY business needs to establish a compelling brand identity:
- Clear Brand Purpose
The first part of establishing your brand, before anything else, is determining a clear brand purpose. The brand purpose is the entire reason for why any brand should matter.
Why is your brand more important than another or why is your brand more efficient than other brands? Who is your product for? Why should a consumer choose your product or service over another?
These are all questions that must be answered before moving forward. Answering these will help you determine your brand name, logo, tagline, and all other elements of your brand identity.
- Brand Personality
Take a minute and think of your brand as a person. What would that person be like? Though it may seem silly or cliché, it’s a smart way to think about your brand’s personality.
How do you want to portray your brand to consumers? Brand personality will show through in every aspect of your brand identity. Whether it’s the name, logo, tone of voice, or any other element, it has a major impact on the overall feel of your brand.
If there is no consistent brand personality established, consumers will get mixed messages and have trouble connecting.
- Brand Name
Brand name refers to the word or words used to identify a specific company. It may seem easy enough, but deciding on a brand name can feel daunting. After all, it is the initial and most important element of your brand that people will resonate with.
When deciding on your company name, choose a name that is original and will stand out against other companies within your niche. Also, keep in mind how you are going to want your logo designed and the overall appeal of your brand when choosing your final name.
A logo is the visual trademark of a company. It can be a wordmark like Amazon or a pictorial mark like the Apple symbol. The company logo is an instant recognition stimulant for consumers. For example, the Nike swoosh has become so well known that the word Nike is no longer necessary for consumers to recognize the brand by its logo.
A company tagline helps quickly state the brand position memorably. Taglines like, “I’m lovin’ it” from McDonald’s or “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard”, are taglines that are both memorable and informative to a consumer. Keep taglines short and direct with your brand.
Due to the visual world we live in, graphics play a major role in defining a brand. Take Coca-Cola’s dynamic ribbon for example; everyone knows that ribbon signifies the Coco-Cola brand, and when you see it, you instantly think about Coca-Cola products. Or another example is the Louis Vuitton flower pattern that is printed on handbags and luggage.
Graphics are not logos, but they are visual elements that help identify a brand’s identity without the use of words.
Photography is another visual element that helps customers resonate with a brand. It is important to use only high-quality imagery and stay consistent with a photography style that suits your brand. Incorporate photography into your website, social media, email marketing, etc.
- Color Scheme
Color is used to create emotion and express a brand’s personality. It helps differentiate one brand from another and it stimulates brand recognition.
For example, the Coca-Cola red on soda cans or the tiffany blue box both create an instant familiarity without the need to read a logo or any words.
Do not pick too many colors and be sure to stay consistent with your chosen color palette. Otherwise, your consumers will not be able to associate what color identifies your brand.
Typography is a core element to effective brand identity. It must support your overall brand personality and it needs to help elevate your brand.
Companies like Mercedes-Benz and Citi are immediately recognizable, in great part due to their unique and memorable typeface. A coherent brand identity is not possible without the use of legible and unique typography.
- Tone of Voice
Speaking with a consistent tone of voice will provide a seamless experience for consumers. Whether it is through written voice on the website, captions on social media channels, or speaking directly to customers, it must remain consistent.
When deciding on any of these key elements for determining your brand identity, keep in mind the main goal is consistency in the experience you provide. You want your customers to come to rely on your product or service to give them that experience you’ve promised through great branding. Promise an exceptional experience through your branding, and then deliver on it. Do this and you’ll have customers for life.