We all know the saying: ”Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
The truth however is that we all do it.
Although you may think you’re making a conscious decision based on the title of the book, your subconscious has already made up its mind and triggered the well-known ‘gut reaction’ – to the look and feel of the cover. And that’s how Brand Identity Design works too. A brand identity is effectively the cover of your business.
It’s all about psychology
Having a fitting and impactful brand identity designed for your business is an essential step in building a successful brand. But why is it so important and how does it work?
More than 85% of our decisions are made subconsciously. Aesthetics are the language of feeling and design has the power to make us feel something without the need for words. Using the right visual ingredients evokes a feeling in people. It can make us feel if something is of quality, luxury and high end or if it’s casual and crafty, calming or dynamic, professional or fun.
The right brand identity design is a key part of your positioning in the market place. Sometimes the perceived value of a product or service can be higher than the actual one, cleverly steering perception. Brands capitalise on this principle. They make us believe they’re human, or have human qualities. We identify ourselves with brands, and most importantly brands make us feel something that we want to be a part of.
If our immediate reaction is a positive one – albeit intangible – we are drawn in and look closer. We digest the written information and form a more rounded picture and opinion of the brand. But it is the look and feel that first reels you in and that’s where Brand Identity Design starts adding real value to your business.
Creating a valuable Brand Identity
You need an identity to be visible and to be ‘felt’. Without a consistent brand identity your business is faceless and will not attract the right prospects and clients – you’ll be misperceived or, even worse, overlooked. The biggest value your brand identity adds to your business lies in the perception it creates, its recognisability and in the story it tells.
But to capture the very essence of your business and its personality, a brand identity designer has to dig deep and fully immerse themselves into your business. As the late famous designer Massimo Vignelli says: “Good design is the by-product of a proper contextual evaluation.” Your designer needs to understand your business’ purpose, mission, culture and long term vision. Only then will they be able to distil the essence of your brand and translate it into a bespoke and distinct brand identity that aligns with your business strategy. Usually your designer will provide you with a basic toolkit including: logos, colours, typography, layouts, illustrations, images and icons.
If used consistently across your print and digital communications, your brand identity will be seen as an identifier. It will be recognised and, over time, associated with the good things you do. If you expose your audience consistently to your brand identity, they will become familiar with it. You’ll build rapport and ultimately trust. We buy from people we like and trust.
Let’s look at some big brands and elements of their identity: the distinct Tiffany Blue, the fun typography of Easy Jet or the iconic Nike swash. We instantly know which brands we are dealing with and these elements automatically trigger the associations we have with the brand. A well-established identity holds a lot of brand equity and so adds an immense amount of value to a business.
A question that comes up time and time again is whether the value of a consistent brand identity can be measured in monetary terms. Accurately measuring your ROI is almost impossible as many other factors play a part. Your brand identity will be intertwined with advertising or marketing campaigns, new product launches, sales, your SEO efforts and much more. What it does achieve though, is a change in brand awareness. It starts by giving you and your colleagues a new found confidence in your product and skills, and your team fully embracing their brand ambassador roles. I’d say that’s a pretty positive outcome and that’s just the beginning.
What’s the vision for YOUR brand?
Are you thinking about updating your brand identity? Whether you are an entrepreneur with a big idea or a growing business thinking about a rebrand, I’d love to hear from you. See how I’ve helped Ipswich-based digital agency SimpleClick with their rebrand and how I am working with charity Age UK Suffolk to make their voice heard.
About the author: Franzi Scheithauer specialises in Creative Brand Strategy and Identity Design. She works with purpose and story driven businesses on their journey to build a successful brand. With her carefully crafted and bespoke brand identity designs, she enables business and organisations to communicate their personality, purpose, mission and vision clearly and effectively.