Dec29

Effective Brand Identity & Design Begins With Research

A Great Brand Identity is Built on a Solid Foundation

The brand identity of a business can’t just be what someone thinks looks good. An effective brand must: accurately represent the business; engage positive customer response; and differentiate the business from its competitors.

Decades of market research have quantified every detail from colors, fonts, and shapes to the number of words in a slogan (7 max). This research informs how we do our work in developing a brand identity that does its job now and for years to come.

In addition to broad marketing research, we need to conduct specific research with each client. We need to know about your mission, your audiences, your competition, and your goals, among other key insights. Here’s a list of the questions we’ll ask when developing your brand identity:

  1. What is your industry:
    Your industry makes a difference in the choice of a color palette, among other things. Blue is the most popular color for businesses that want to convey stability and integrity. It’s the most common corporate color overall. Here’s a quick rundown of branding color psychology: the brand values and industry sectors associated with each.

    Blue: (secure, trustworthy): Finance, technology, energy, health care
    Green: (wealth, health): Health care, energy, agriculture
    Yellow: (light happiness): Energy, hospitality, household
    Orange: (fun, vitality): Health care, household, technology
    Red: (dynamic, passionate): Hospitality, automotive, retail
    Purple: (royal, creative): Tehcnology, arts/crafts, finance
    Black: (sophisticated, upscale): Retail, automotive, technology
    White: (clean, pure); Health care, retail

  2. What is your business?
    Within an industry, there’s a wide range of products, services, and customers. A surgical equipment manufacturer and a wellness spa are both in the health care sector, but their businesses are very different. Target and Neiman Marcus are in the same business, but their customers are different; that’s why Target’s logo is red and Neiman Marcus’s is black.

    You may have noticed that in the color list, some sectors appear more than once. Colors can be further refined to represent your specific business. A regal deep purple gives an impression of authority, whereas a light lavender purple creates a sense of spirituality. You can even combine colors to produce a desired effect. McDonald’s combination of red and yellow is one brilliant example.

  3. What is your mission?
    What do you do? Why do you do it? How do you do it? You know your mission and your vision. Help us understand it so we can develop a brand identity strategy that effectively communicates it to your various audiences.

    Brand identities shouldn’t be something that needs frequent retooling. They should have a certain amount of staying power, if you’re in a trendy or rapidly-evolving field. You’ll want your identity to reflect your modern approach but isn’t dated two years from now. Understanding your mission and vision are important to us so we can develop an effective brand identity with a certain timeless quality.

    The examples from Target and Neiman Marcus illustrate the staying power of a well-researched brand identity. Target is bold, clean, and modern. Neiman Marcus is slim, elegant script. Each appeals to the tastes, lifestyles, and motivations of their customers and are classic designs that won’t soon look dated.

  4. Who are your customers?
    A brand identity program needs to meet the expectations of your target audience. A whimsical cartoon drawing makes a good logo if your audience is parents of young children; not such a good choice if your prospects are corporate decision makers.

    The psychological principle of cognitive dissonance is at play when we see a discrepancy between our perceptions and reality. To resolve that dissonance, we will usually leave the situation – meaning we leave your business behind. When we see a high-end watch being offered for sale by a street vendor, we are suspicious. Our perception is that high-end watches belong in high-end stores. When we are presented with a different reality, we tend to walk away because we don’t like the dissonance.

  5. Who are your competitors?
    Your brand identity should clearly differentiate you from your competition. We need to get to know them, too, to make sure we aren’t following them. Ethically, we would never copy anyone else’s look. Practically, we don’t want to look like others in the industry because it will confuse the customer. Our goal is to convert them with what our brand represents.
  6. What are your marketing arenas?
    Your brand identity should look good on everything from business card to a website to a trade show display. It should be easily-recognized on tiny smartphone screens and grainy newspaper ads. It should be visible on different-colored backgrounds you might use in a magazine or TV ad.

    “Less is more” is our design mantra for brands. Minimal imagery outperforms cluttered imagery for legibility, scalability, and recognizability. We consider every element of your overall brand identity: artwork, color palette, lines of text and words per line.

    We know you’ll find lots of application for your newly-designed logo. Well provide you with all the resources you’ll need: color and grey scale, low-resolution for email ads and high resolution for printed brochures. We’ll give you logo files with and without your slogan. We can provide logos for specialty applications like presentation templates, logowear, novelty giveaway items, and animation.

The more we know, the smarter we design

We want to deeply understand your brand’s platform and its customers. We apply proven marketing strategies to designing a brand that empowers your marketing campaigns, customer responses, and ultimate business success.

Don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers. We have decades of experience in marketing and brand design and we’re happy to help you define your brand. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation.

How Do You Track Your Competition?

After a few months of consistent tracking, give us a call and we’ll help you craft and implement a competitive marketing strategy.