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Elements of an Effective Brand Identity


If you’ve been in marketing very long you have probably heard the phrase: Your logo is not your brand.
That concept is pretty easy to understand but it’s often difficult for marketers to wrap their head around all the other elements that make up the construction of a brand identity framework. So, in this post, we’ll look at terms like logo, brand, and brand identity and list the 8 essential elements you need to develop your own brand identity.

What is brand identity?

Let’s start by differentiating between “brand” and “brand identity”.  Seth Godin has a excellent brand definition to help on this point:

“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”

So a brand is somewhat intangible – like an experience. But the elements that help define the brand can be broken down into various pieces:

  • Logo
  • Typography
  • Personality (think tone and style)
  • Customer service
  • Product quality
  • Corporate responsibility

A good place to start the process of developing your brand is to build a Brand Essence statement. This is a single phrase that captures what your company is about in a unique and inspirational way. It can be a great tool to build and visualize your key positioning statements. Often it becomes the company tagline.

Brand identity is a subset of the overall brand and is the visual component of the brand. It is the face of the brand the consumer sees. This includes logos, typography, colours, and messaging. These elements need to match the organizations tone and style designed as part of the overall brand strategy designed to attract and retain customers in a particular market.

Key Elements

  1. Logo or Wordmark
    A logo is a graphic representation of a brand, whereas a wordmark is the company name set ins specific style. Think Nike for logo and Coca-Cola for wordmark. Your logo or wordmark (or both) is the core of your brand identity. You will need several variations of the logo to accommodate different uses. For example, both a colour and black and white version.
  2. Colours
    The corporate colour palette is often defined by the colours in the logo. These would make up your key colours and then you need to choose several colours that will complement those. To ensure consistency publish the pantone, CMYK or RGB values to these colour so that everyone that is involved in creating content can maintain the brand values.
  3. Typefaces
    Decide on a small number of fonts to be used across all content. These typefaces should complement the brand’s tone. Again, ensure rules are set for how these fonts will be applied.
  4. Typographic Treatments
    Beyond the font selection, you must create guidelines or editorial standards. These rules would govern the style of writing so that there is consistency among all contributors.
  5. Images and Graphic Elements
    Again, to match the brand elements consistently, create rules around image selection – colour palette, black and white, etc. Similarly, other graphic elements for website or content, such as icons, need guidelines established.

After you establish your brand essence and identity you’ll want to create a brand guide that will ensure consistency among anyone who represents your brand.  This document will help build a solid foundation for your ongoing marketing efforts.




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