What is a ‘Brand Identity’ and why it’s so important

What is a Brand Identity

In a nutshell, Brand identity is the collection of all design elements that a company creates to portray the right image to its audience.

Your brand identity is how you want your brand to be perceived by the public. Try and think of 3, well-known brands – they might be brands like Apple, Google, and Coca-Cola? Now think how these brands are portrayed. The chances are you can picture the colours, the fonts and even the tone of voice these brands use. This is their brand identity.

brand identity

Why is your brand identity so important?

You have to start with a couple of questions. How do you want your brand to be perceived? Who is your target demographic? What are your brands USP (unique selling point)? How are you going to portray this USP?

Being able to answer these questions will help you decide your own brand identity. Let’s take my business, for example – dotwall (the site you’re on right now 😉). How do I want to be perceived? My branding is a straightforward logo with dark greens, greys and blacks plus a tiny dash of colour (bright orange) I want my brand to look professional, smart and minimalist. I want to let potential clients know that dotwall has a keen eye for detail, simple in design but elegant. I’m using my brand identity to attract my target audience. If I were aiming to design websites for the primary school sector, my brand would be friendlier with more colour and a playful side to its personality.

First impressions

As soon as we come into contact with something new, we all do it – we will be subconsciously judging the experience. How long does it take you to form an opinion? “30 seconds to form a first impression. Others believe it takes 2-3 seconds“. Wowzers, that’s quick, right? I do it all the time. For example, I love coffee. Whenever I enter a coffee shop, it normally takes me 2-5 seconds to form an opinion and even conjure up an opinion of how good the coffee is going to be based on my first 2-5 second experience…. and I’m almost always right.

If you’re thinking of creating a new website or having someone build one for you, make sure you or they understand you and your business and how you’re trying to come across.

This is the very reason Apple spends millions on its public image. It’s the reason they can charge so much for their products. I mean they have a set of wheels for a computer on their website at a whopping £699 – these same wheels are probably £30 at your local DIY store. Why so much? Because they’ve positioned their brand in such a way that they can.

Some important questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Your mission (what’s your “why?”)
  • What are your brand’s values?
  • If your brand was a person, what sort of personality would they have?
  • What’s your unique selling point? How does it fit with your brand?
  • What’s your brand voice going to be? If it was a person, how would he/she speak?

Who needs a brand identity?

Any business or organisation needs a brand. Even if that brand is a person (think David Beckham).

One of the first questions I ask is “Do you have a brand ID I can use?”. I ask this because it’s a requirement when designing a website if I don’t have a clear perception of your brand (fonts, colours and logos etc.) then I won’t know how to design to with your target market in mind.

If your target audience is 17-25 year old who is into tuning cars, my approach is very different from a target audience of 45-65-year-olds looking at wealth management.

What does a brand identity look like?

There are different levels to brand identity. Big corporate companies will spend months designing their brand to ensure it covers absolutely every aspect of the customers’ journey, including visuals, tone of voice, plus loads more.

dotwall brand guidelines

Smaller businesses need a clear identity which includes what colours to use, what fonts and some basic design rules. The image above is an excellent start and something I can work with when designing a website.

Remember a brand identity can grow as your business does, but it’ll grow stronger with a solid foundation.

How do I use a brand identity when designing a website?

When creating a website, you ideally want one main CTA (call-to-action). This is the one thing you want your visitor to do when they land on your website. Whether this is shopping for one of your products, signing up to a mailing list or contacting you. The last thing we want to do with your visitors is to confuse them. We want them to be very clearly pointed in the correct direction. This is where your brand identity comes into play.

Don’t let your visitors get lost!

If your brand consists of 3-main colours, I’ll generally take the brightest and boldest of the three and make this your main call-to-action colour. This means the main action you want your visitors to take will stick out most on the webpage. Of course, this has to fit in with your brand’s profile. If your business has a more subtle approach then a more subtle colour will be fine for the call to action.

Any other call-to-actions will consist of slightly less obvious colourway. For instance, if we have two buttons, one called SHOP NOW and the other Our Story, SHOP NOW will be bright, bold and clearly designed to catch the views eye. Our Story will be much more subtle as we don’t really want your visitors to go here (but they can if they want to find out more).

Your brand identity keeps your business consistent

One of my biggest bugbears is inconsistency. Ensuring that every page of your website follows the same brand guideline is vital. It ensures your brand keeps it’s personality and keeps your audience locked into your brand.

Having inconsistencies within your brand is like having two personalities. One minute lovely and gentle and the next are angry like a bear. It creates unrest and irritation amongst your audience. Your brand identity will help you stay on track and ensure your tone of voice and visuals are the same, no matter where they interact with your business.

To conclude

Your brand identity is the foundation of your organisation. Get it right, and you’ll find it super easy to grow, maintain consistency and build trust with your customers. Get it wrong, and you might be faced with a design language that makes no sense and an increased bounce rate on your website (how fast a visitor leaves your website).

Not sure where to start?

Need help getting your brand identity started?

Whether you’re looking for a re-brand or starting a new business, I can help lock in a solid brand identity to build from.

Book a 1-hour consultation call – absolutely free and with no obligation; you can even use this time to pick my brains.

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