Creating a Brand Corporate Identity in 5 steps
We form an opinion about the brand fast and tend to judge it. How can you influence what image someone has of your company?
Each time we visit a different coffee or lunch. Each time we leave with a different impression. This impression is influenced by everything we have seen and experienced. From looking at the website in advance to selecting a table, ordering, eating, drinking, the other customers present and the social media channels. Everything contributes to the image that is slowly forming.
We will explain to you how you can work in five steps to create a recognisable identity for your company.
What do you stand for?
Start at the beginning: determining, discovering and recording your identity. If you know who you are, what you stand for and who you want to reach, then you will reflect that as well. If you do not yet have a clear idea of your identity, this will also be the case in your communication. So start by looking at your company, yourself, the history, your product or service and your customers.
- Start by describing ‘what’ you do
- Then write down ‘how’ you do this
- Finish with the most difficult question ‘why’ you do this
- Money’s not the answer here. Go back to your ambition. Why should people come to you? From there, work towards a vision and ambition that describes your company.
Do a target group survey. Are you not sure yet who your customer is? Then start with a target group survey and setting up personas.
Do you know who the target group is yet? Then you can start immediately with the next step: a survey among your customers. How do they see your company? Why do they buy from you? Then see if this is in line with what you have written down yourself. Does this match? If it doesn’t match, what causes customers to experience your company differently?
Make it visual
You now know what you stand for and how what and why you do things and not unimportantly: who your target group is. Now it’s time to think about how you’re going to reach that target group. And not only that but especially how you want to reach them. A number of things are important here. We start with the looks.
If you know what you are (what you stand for) then you may already have an idea of how you want to propagate this. Ideally, you already have a dream image of all your online and offline communication. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. It is difficult to capture your ideas in visual elements. And how do you make sure your customers see what you want them to see?
Start with a mood board.
Don’t necessarily think about a website or product packaging. When you think about your product, what colours do you think about? Warm, cold, pastel? Make a collage of colours and choose at least two colours you want to use. Also, make a distinction between main and spot colours. You can, of course, fall back on Pinterest or Instagram.
The meaning of colours
Take a look at the meaning and association of colours. You want your target group to have the right associations with your product or service and colours can help.
Have you chosen colours?
Then you can start thinking about a logo and eventually the complete house style (business cards, website, banners, all visual communication). Make sure that your identity is reflected in all these elements. Not only through the use of colour, but also through the use of forms, for example. For example, do you have an organic product? Then use earthy colours and organic round shapes.
Keep in mind that bright colours and angular shapes are more aggressive or are often used for children’s products, for example. Pastel colours and round shapes are softer and calmer. So use it consciously. Don’t just look at what you like, but also whether the association matches what you want to radiate to the target group. And does your target group have the association you expect?
As a final part, you should definitely perform a test.
Ask several people what they think, see and feel when they look at your corporate identity. What comes to mind in them? What associations do they have? Preferably ask different people, but certainly, several people of which you see them as part of your target group.
Tone of voice
Now that you know what the identity of your company is and how to make it visual, you can work with the tone of voice. This is where you determine how you communicate with customers. Make sure that this matches the identity of your company. It’s all about the big picture. This includes the use of colour and the images you use. If you choose a tone of voice that does not match the use of images or colours, this will leave a confusing impression on the receiving party.
How do you put it?
With the tone of voice, don’t just think about what you say (which words you use, which spellings you use), but also about how you say it (formally, informally, enthusiastically, seriously). When you have thought about this for a long time, it is important that you record the tone of voice in a document.
Such a document can be a great help in implementing the tone of voice. And if you work with several people in your company, it is all the more important to record this properly. Think also of the details, because they often make the difference!
This may be self-evident, but we would like to emphasize it: apply your chosen tone of voice everywhere. From your website to flyers, e-mails, phone calls and on social media. Make sure that a conversation with you feels the same everywhere and matches your identity.
Make your content fit
This fourth step is actually about the previous steps. To create a recognizable identity, you need to combine these steps.
Suppose you are the owner of one of the coffees where we sometimes have lunch and work. You often get them, people who open their laptops and start working in your business. They are also part of your target group. You already decided this when you started your business and you set up your facilities accordingly. You want to draw more attention to this and start a campaign. You are going to share stories from your regular customers.
If you start with this, make sure that this campaign is in line with steps 1, 2 and 3. Let these stories strengthen the identity of your company. Explain the points that underline your identity. Would you like to attract these people because you find it important that everyone has the freedom to work where he or she wants? Or do you think it’s important that people can inspire each other? Or are you convinced that coffee without an excellent cup of coffee is less effective?
When you publish the stories, make sure that the visual material fits in well with them. Make sure that the photos match your coffee tent. How you photograph the customer is also how you see the ideal customer in front of you. By having your tone of voice come back clearly, this becomes unmistakably a campaign of your company: easy to recognize and it confirms your identity to everyone.
Consistency & safeguarding your identity
Make no mistake: consistency is important! As soon as you drop it, your identity becomes less and less clear to your customer. Why is consistency important? Because you want to constantly remind your customer of who you are and what you stand for. In this way, this image becomes more and more important to your customer and they will start to talk about you in this way.
Pay attention to consistency:
- Always use visuals that match your identity (pay attention to the right colours and shapes!).
- Use the right tone and voice. Whoever speaks to your customer, make sure it always feels the same.
- Focus consistently on the target group and the goals you have set. Will you continue to do so? Then your customers will notice this as well. You will also attract the customers that fit your company.
- Be consistent in your approach and timing. Do you respond to questions asked on Facebook? Always do this. Otherwise, people will think you’re ignoring them (because you’ll respond to someone else’s question). Even if you decide to start blogging, do so consistently.
- If you are not consistent for a long time, you will start with the first step again. Because if you lose sight of your own identity, people form their own image. And where do you stand?
Now, of course, it is not the intention that it comes to that. That’s why we can’t emphasize it enough: consistency is the key! Be consistent, in all your communications. Note: this is not to say that you cannot adapt your communications to the channel on which you publish. After all, Facebook is a different platform than LinkedIn and often asks for a different type of message. But always stay true to steps 1 to 4.