Trust is the number one component of authentically marketing your small business. If you don’t have the trust of your target audience community, then your business will not grow and thrive the way you want it to. Building trust starts with designing brand identity and then nurturing it while you generate awareness, build trust and serve your community of clients.
Designing brand identity that authentically represents your business and supports your client’s needs for your products and services is the best way to build strong brand awareness. You do this by:
- Understanding brand identity
- Nurturing your brand identity when creating marketing strategies and campaigns
- Creating a brand identity system for you and your design team to promote brand consistency
Many people think they understand brand identity until they try to be consistent with their branding. It is easier for one person to “stay on brand,” but adding a team of creative designers into the mix becomes much more challenging. In this article, I will walk you through what tools to use and a system to implement to help you nurture your brand for brand consistency.
What Is The Brand Identity Of A Small Business
The definition of brand identity is the visible elements a business selects to represent its products, services, and the company as a whole. Most people think of this as the logo, but it also includes the colors used in the logo, other colors chosen to complement the logo, and fonts for text. This also extends to images the business uses for inspiration and to support the concept of the business.
To create the visual elements that reflect the values and goals of the business, the brand identity starts with deeply understanding:
- The purpose of the business – What problem does it solve to support customers.
- Identification of the customer community
- The relationship the business wants to have with the customer community.
- The language the business uses to speak to people.
The order in which this is created is important. The none visual elements ideally should be decided on first. Then the task of designing brand identity to visually represent the business’s purpose, goals, and spirit is started.
Why Designing Brand Identity Is Necessary for Business Growth
There are many reasons why people choose to buy from a company. Some want to support local businesses. Others are very price conscious, while others are value focused. Everyone is looking to fill a need, a want, or a desire they have. The one factor that ties all of these varied reasons together is trust. People will only buy if they trust who they are buying from.
Trust is built over time with familiarity. One of the most important ways to create familiarity is through your brand visuals. Seeing a consistent representation of your brand over time builds trust.
Having your logo and images out there where they can be seen is not enough. It needs to be consistently the same. Variations in logos, colors, and fonts cause visual confusion. When people are confused, they usually will not take the time to figure out why; they will decide they don’t want to engage, or trust, the brand, and they move on to another company.
Designing brand identity is one step of the brand awareness process. To appear authentic and trustworthy to people, your brand has to stay consistent over time no matter where people see it.
This can be challenging when different team members and outside vendors create visual assets for you. If they are not provided a clear brand identity guide, they will make choices on their own that will deviate from your original brand. Over time this dilutes the brand where your colors and fonts will differ depending on where you view the brand. All these different variations of your brand break trust with the people you are trying to serve. Your brand stops representing your goals, values, and customer community.
When designing brand identity, the process to ensure continuity or nurturing your brand also needs to be created. The nurturing process involves marketing and designing software that supports brand continuity.
Examples Of Brand Identity Nurturing
There are several different systems to use to nurture your brand when creating marketing strategies and campaigns. Here are the systems we recommend and how you can use them.
Creating marketing assets campaigns always involves using images and text. These images and text need to support the brand. We like to use Canva to create simple visual elements for all the various types of campaigns:
- Website images
- Blog article images
- Youtube Thumbnails for videos
- Social Post Images
- Newsletter images
Many of these images can be created as animated GIFs. Canva makes it easy and simple to create animated GIFs
Canva Pro supports nurturing your brand identity by allowing you to upload all of your brand assets into canva. You upload your logo, any additional colors you use with your brand, and all of your fonts into a brand kit. Anyone doing graphic design for you uses your Canva Pro software and will have access to your brand assets.
Canva Pro has built-in brand controls that you can also assign to your team. You can toggle on color control, Font control, and even require design approval through the system. Limiting the templates that users are allowed to use also controls how the brand is visually represented.
Designing brand identity is not just about visuals. It also involves how you speak to your customer community. Your brand voice must be consistent in your language, tone, and writing style. One of the best things a business can do is outsource its content writing since content creation is so time-consuming. Use Grammarly to set the brand’s voice for your writing team so that regardless of who is writing, it is on brand.
In addition to spelling and punctuation, Grammarly helps with clarity, word choice, and sentence structure, so your message is clear. Grammarly takes brand voice to the next level with brand tone wizard and style guide terms. Terms can be added to Grammarly for words and phrases that you frequently use that may not be grammatically correct, making Grammarly see them as correct and allowing other members of your writing team to use them correctly.
An example of this is you may call your customers senior citizens, but you always capitalize it. When you add this term to Grammarly, it will auto-correct for your term and not what is considered grammatically correct.
You can set up snippets in Grammarly as well. Snippets would be phrases or pieces of language, like your tagline, that are used frequently and need to be consistent everywhere it is placed. You can listen to Inkyma’s Marketing Strategies Podcast Episode 69 Grammarly For Business Review to better understand these features.
Once you set up all your brand voice rules in Grammarly, add the Chrome Browser Extension to use Grammarly anywhere you are writing on the web. It works inside of WordPress and in all Google docs, sheets, and presentations.
Mailchimp is the email marketing system we use and recommend. In the system you design and create the email templates that you will use for
- Welcome emails
- Abandon Cart emails
- Sales Funnels
- Special sales and announcements
You will want to have multiple templates and all should work within your brand identity. Mailchimp has a content studio with a brand kit section. In the brank kit tab, you add your logo, fonts, colors, brand personality, and even a button style you can assign.
Once all your information is set, no matter who is creating your email templates can stay on brand with colors, fonts, and images. When setting your brand personality, Mailchimp only offers images that meet your settings when designing a layout for an email or a template when using the creative assistant.
A Brand Identity System For Your Team
Having the right tools is only one part of nurturing your brand identity. The second part is having a system or process for the tools used. Your brand identity system needs to work for how your business works. I will share a basic outline of how to set up the process using the tools I have outlined in the article and create a process for your team to follow.
Brand Identity System Outline
After designing brand identity, ensure you have a central location with your original logo files, style guide, brand script, and customer personas to make them easy to find and use. We are a Google Drive Shop and have a drive folder with all of these assets. Only team members that need access have access.
Setup Canva Pro with your brand kit and brand controls. Canva Pro has a team function so everyone can access the same design system and files. This makes it easy to take an existing design and modify it all in one place.
Next, set up your Grammarly account with the wizards they provide for brand voice and snippets. Give your team access and control settings within your Grammarly account. Have your team use the Grammarly Chrome browser extension when working on your projects to utilize the brand voice and snippets feature when writing on your behalf.
Lastly, set up your brand kit within Mailchimp. Mailchimp’s creative studio is good, but Canva’s design setup is much better. Mailchimp integrates with Canva allowing you to sync your Canva designs into the Mailchimp Content Studio. I recommend using the integration.
Once all your brand identity systems are set up and in place, create a workflow document of how you want things to flow. If you are not into document creation, you can create a video for your team instead. It helps if they can see how it works before they start doing it. This is also useful when you need to change or add team members.
I hope you found this article helpful for nurturing and designing brand identity for you or your design team. Feel free to reach out via chat if you have any questions. We are always happy to answer questions. If you want our content delivered to your inbox, Sign up for our newsletter. You get great content and exclusive offers by being a member.
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