As a new company, how you portray yourself to your customers is incredibly important. This reputation is called your Brand Identity. In our two previous articles, we dived into what makes your brand unique and the fundamentals of your business that must be aligned to earn the trust of your customers.
We also discussed where to find your customers and how to validate that the problem your product is solving is needed. The articles are great resources for new entrepreneurs looking to develop their innovative idea into a tangible product.
In today’s article, we will dive deeper into brand identity. Specifically, we will discuss exercises to discover your culture and show you how to develop a brand board.
Tools to Discover Your Brand Culture
Magazine and Blogs
A great and easy way to discover your culture, and potential content for marketing, is to research magazines and blogs. Take the characteristics you know your customers share and find a magazine, digital or print, that share those same characteristics. Do the same with blogs and you will begin to build a visual representation of your culture.
For example, if you are creating a home remodel app then the general characteristics of your target audience could point you to DIY magazine.
Show the images and articles to your customer focus group and ask them if the content resonates with them. Save these ideas for later social media posts or advertisements.
Another way to gather a deeper understanding of your culture is to find keywords that describe it. You have an idea of what your company does, but you will get a whole new set of words when you ask your potential customers.
Try posting on social media and asking the question, “how would you describe my company and the solution we offer?” Read the comments and take note of the keywords and phrases that stand out. Compile them into a list and use it as a way to guide the language you use in your marketing assets. It is important to use language that resonates with your customers to better target them.
Facebook Audience Insights
Social media platforms like Facebook offer many opportunities to learn about your brand culture. With Facebook Audience Insights you can find themes that your customers have in common.
The process is very simple. Go to Audience Insights on Facebook and enter the names of magazines, TV shows, movies, and other interests that your target customers have mentioned to you. Facebook will show you what kind of people share those interests and it will show you other interests they share. Common interests help to guide the decisions you make as you develop your product and market to your future customers.
While at this point you already have an idea of what brand identity is, it can help to have a solid definition to refer back to when you are looking to make changes. Your brand identity is essentially how you portray yourself to your customers. When you combine all of the assets in this section you will have a collection of materials that define who you are as a brand.
Your brand image is how your customers actually perceive your company. Although you have less control over your image, if you are consistent in your identity, beliefs, values, and promise, you will have your desired result!
Your brand image can only be identified by asking your customers and listening to their answers. If you don’t like how your customers perceive you, use that as a guide to change your image.
Brand personality refers to the human qualities and characteristics that you assign to your brand. Ask yourself this question, “If my brand were a person, what traits would they possess?”
Brainstorm a list of qualities it would possess and a list of qualities you want to avoid. For example, maybe your brand is honest, funny, and creative, but you don’t want it to be perceived as loud, cheap, or rebellious. Use these qualities and characteristics to ask your customer if they see those traits in your brand.
A brand name is an identifying factor given to a brand to differentiate itself from others. A name is what resonates in customers’ minds, and what they associate your product with.
When you think of the brands such as Coca-Cola or Pepsi you immediately form an association in your mind about the products they have. What name could you give your brand that would guide marketing tactics and sales? Sites like Namelix and Namecheap can help you find a unique name and domain.
A tagline tells your potential customers what you do and whether or not it will be helpful to them. This is a quick sentence or phrase that should easily answer the question, “Is this for me or should I move along?”
It is important for your tagline to be aligned with your brand’s vision and mission because that is what builds trust with your customers. Don’t try to be cute or clever, but instead clearly and simply state your service and the benefit to the customer.
Building Your Brand Board
Creating a brand board with materials like your logo, fonts, and colors can be helpful for designing your product and crafting marketing assets.
Your logo is what potential customers first see when they interact with your product. It sends a clear message of your personality and provides an anchor for them to identify you in the future.
Pinterest is a great resource to find logo ideas. Create an account and try searching for ‘logo shapes.’ You will find many examples of logos with different shapes, fonts, and colors. When you have created your logo bring it to a select group of future customers. Ask them what emotions the logo evokes in them. Does that match your desired reaction?
Fonts are important not only in your logo but on your website and other marketing collateral. Think about what font would evoke the desired feelings in your target customer when they see your logo or when they visit your website.
Thousands of fonts exist all over the web and they are each unique. Whether you choose a font with rounded edges or one with straighter lines, it should match the feel of your brand. Pick a few different options that would work for headers and smaller bodies of text.
Just like fonts, colors play a big role in the overall feel of your brand. Your colors will guide the creation of your logo and will guide the design of your website. You will want to start by choosing 5 different colors.
- Primary color: Should be on your logo.
- Secondary color: May also be on your logo and website buttons.
- Attention color: For warnings and errors.
- Background color: Background color on your website.
- Body Text color: Main text color.
A great way to organize your colors and make sure that they complement each other is to visit the Coolers website where you can pick specific and unique colors.
Once you have compiled all of these items you can create a brand board. This is an easy way to present your brand to investors, clients, and to use as a reference for decisions down the line. Consider also including photos or graphics that inspire the direction you want your brand to take.
Brand board example:
Now that you have found your brand culture and created a brand board that represents who you are, you have a brand identity! You are ready to get started designing and developing your digital product.
Don’t be afraid if your brand identity slightly changes over the years. As you grow your brand will evolve into a new and exciting version, but you will always hold the main principles that you started out with.
If you would like help discovering your brand identity and diving deeper into what problem you solve and who you are solving it for, we invite you to consider brand identity coaching. It can be a valuable resource that will prepare you for the ups and downs of creating a digital product.