Look at the above image and ask yourself the following question: What product is this?
That’s right, it’s Coca-Cola!
Pretty easy right?
Now ask yourself this question: How were you able to so easily recognise that the image was representing Coca-Cola, when there was no logo or text on the image to confirm this?
The answer to this question (and subsequently the topic of this blog) explains an incredibly powerful and pervading force in the world of branding – Brand Identity.
WHAT IS IT?
Brand Identity is the combination of all of the visual elements of your brand - what people see when they look at your brand. This includes the use of colour, fonts, letterheads, uniforms and packaging. Most commonly, Brand Identity is associated with a Brand’s logo. Although the logo is a significant feature in a Brand’s overall Brand identity, it is only one part of a wider picture.
To take a closer look at an element of Brand identity, let’s look the use of colour palettes. The image above illustrates what a powerful tool colour can be. The utter pervasiveness of Coca-Cola’s marketing has meant that its signature red and white colour scheme is now synonymous with its brand. No logo or text is required to know that the bottle in the image is a bottle of Coca-Cola – simply the red and white colours are enough. Think about this for a second. Coca-Cola needs to virtually ‘own’ these colours within the psyche of the everyday consumer in order for this ad to work. Coca-Cola’s Brand Identity is so powerful, that only two colours are required to make you think of their brand. The impact of this on the success of their company is immense and a prime illustration of colour on a Brand’s identity.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
A Brand’s identity is reliant on there being a consistent visual through-line amongst all of their marketing. Visually speaking, there needs to be guidelines that all ads must adhere to no matter which advertising medium is being used. As mentioned before, colour and fonts are taken into consideration, but also elements such as the layout of an ad or the tone of the writing can impact on a Brand’s identity.
Successful brands have a specific “feel” to their marketing that is unique to their brand. Each ad differs slightly from the next, but the guidelines of its Brand Identity connect them together. For example, Apple uses a very sleek, simplistic style in its advertising. Whether an advertisement is for TV or a magazine, the colours are usually black and white and the copy is very stripped back. This reinforces the uncluttered design of its products and solidifies a stronger Brand Identity inside the market. Every ad is different (because they need to market different products), but each ad feels the same.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Brand Identity is important because it helps consumers identify your brand more easily in the market.
Companies that have poor brand identities often lack consistency throughout their marketing (the “through-line”). The colour scheme, fonts and visual layout of the ads aren't constant, and change from ad to ad. The results are disjointed advertisements that bear no resemblance to one another and a campaign that fails to reinforce itself across the different advertising mediums. It would be similar to owning a large hardware store where each of the employees wore a different uniform. This would make it very difficult for customers to identify the people who worked there, and thus purchase the products from the store.
The correct Brand Identity can help transform your branding strategy into a cohesive force in the marketplace and help your brand be strongly positioned in the mind of the consumer.
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