Picture this: cheerful yellow and peaceful blue. Add to that a shop entrance filled with cute little pencils and handy rulers and pads of paper. And a cheerful squad of caretakers who will take your kids. For free! Tack on a café where you can get your hungry shopper self a $10 lunch that includes wine! Of course, I’m talking about Ikea, one of the most clever brand identities out there. They are the makers of “The Wonderful Everyday”.
But what exactly is a brand identity? And how do you get one?
Here’s the low down. Brand identity is a bunch of ingredients that a company puts together to reveal the right image to its consumer. Done correctly, these fixings will make you immediately identifiable to your audience. Whenever your customer sees your brand identity they will make a link with your product or service. And boom – your identity and customer will have formed a steadfast bond.
Therefore getting to know your brand intimately is the only way to successfully build an identity.
So get out the mind maps, or SWOT analysis or star bursting – whatever floats your boat. You need to figure out who your brand is.
Ask yourself these questions: If your brand was a character, what traits would they have? What is their mission in life? How would they communicate with others? What would they value? How would they stand out amongst the crowd?
Once you have become better acquainted with your identity, you can start branding.
Making a good first impression is key at this point. Your audience will be judging your brand by the cover. And when they peel back the first page, they better find a consistent brand or they will walk away confused and skeptical. So deciding on your design palette is essential.
Different Strokes for Different Folks
Picking the right font to represent your company is one tool you have in your art box. Is vintage your jam? Or perhaps something a little more sleek? Is your identity plush or bold?
Now that you have picked a brush, what colour will you choose? Colours historically hold a psychological influence over people’s emotions and therefore their opinions of products or services. One search on the internet reveals a plethora of wheels and colour symbolism whereby one could easily get sucked into some sort of hypnotic vortex. Red depicts passion. Orange reveals energy. Yellow is cheerful while green means tranquility. The wheels go on and on, with each colour disclosing multiple associations. If this isn’t already an overload, your buyer’s persona is knocking at the door and needs some attention too. Your buyer’s age, gender, and culture should not be overlooked. Because while you may see passion while gazing at red another may see death. If it’s green, you might see wealth while another sees infidelity. Gulp. You better snap out of it and get focussed on who your real consumer is.
There are geometric, organic and abstract shapes. Then there are circles and squares and spirals. And they all are related to something. Again, checking in with your buyer’s persona and deciding what kind of identity you want to create is crucial. If you are going to pick a round shape, you my be appealing to a sense of community whereas if you pick a straight edged shape, you will be engaging with an audience seeking stability.
Once you can extract yourself from the decisions of font, colour and shape, you can dial it in with a logo, business card, website, social media, and packaging. And that’s just the beginning. For example, if you’re a restaurant, you should be thinking about menu design, lighting, music, and uniforms too.
You know, even though I cringe at the thought of all the times I have packed ginormous furniture boxes into my Volvo, only to return home and be traumatized by endless screws and Allen key twists, I like Ikea. I am happy to put my kids in Småland and leisurely shop without worrying that one of them is going to lick the shopping cart handle or how I’m going to do a triple Lutz jump to stop a kid from … well, I don’t even know what … I luckily haven’t been there. Where I have been to is a place that consistently rewards me with free childcare, functional furniture for a decent price and a full belly when I leave. Now that’s definitely a wonderful everyday experience. I think I’ll go back.
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