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Basics for creating Brand Identity

2009-09-18 | Articles


An essential prerequisite before launching companies or products onto the market is having a recognisable graphic identity with which they can be identified.

Unfortunately, the work of a designer is often reduced to a series of sketches in a haphazard search to come up with THE IDEA that an executive team has in mind.
Haphazard because these kinds of jobs are like going to the doctor: you know when you begin, but not when you end, and a firm estimate was signed in advance.

Doing sketches is good (it’s part of the normal process of creating a brand image), but they must answer a question that has yet to be posed, which is this: what is the competitive strategy that will be reflected in the identity of our company and brand?

Brands must also state what is it that you are going to provide that the other guy won’t.

Isn’t it enough to have a good image? NO. Brands are weapons of communication for conquering the minds of customers. This communication must make sense and answer a basic question: what is it that you are going to provide that the other guy won’t?

The competitive context

A brand doesn’t exist in isolation. It is a serious error to orient a business strategy by focussing solely on yourself and on your target customers.

The second error is to try to differentiate yourself with things that no longer differentiate. In today’s market, offering a product or service with a good price-quality ratio does not differentiate you from the rest: it is simply an indispensable requisite for not getting devoured by the market.
Remember: your competition is not mediocre; any mediocrity was extinguished some time ago for that very reason.

Today, getting to know customers is not complicated. What’s complicated is getting them to know you.

The third error is not demonstrating that you’re the best.
In “me too” markets, EVERYONE says their wonderful, the best option. But customers want to buy from the best.
In view such a deluge of qualifiers, the best option is to reduce the purchasing uncertainty of customers and demonstrate that you’re the best with something other than pretty words: talk is cheap and everyone promises too much.

Today, getting to know customers is not complicated. What’s difficult is getting them to know you, to differentiate you from the other competitors and to prefer you over everyone.

From the product to the strategy: what to investigate and why

To create a brand identity, we have to focus on three basic aspects: our product, our target customer and the competitive environment.

  • Our product. You must know precisely what the benefits are for the customer
  • Your target customer. You must identity to whom you are going to offer those benefits in order to know how to do so
  • The competitive environment. You must base the benefits on your advantage over the competition.

To start, we must first find out what customers know about the product or service that we are offering, about our competitors and about us:

We must prepare a list of the attributes that customers consider most important for a certain product or service, and we must know the order of priority that they give each attribute when making their purchase decision.

Subsequently, we must find out the strengths and weaknesses that customers perceive, both about our company/product and about our competition.

The idea is to know who has the better perceived relationship with each attribute in the customers’ minds.

Which attributes can we adopt as our own in order to reach our customers?

The final objective is to discover which attributes we can adopt as own in order to reach the customer’s mind, but while knowing the perceptions they have about our competitors.

Careful: People often work with a product and a certain vision about where they would like to take it, and then they define a strategy. It’s as if executives saw things as they would like them to be and not how they really are.

A strategy is not an objective, it is a coherent marketing direction. A strategy must revolve around the axis of the ability or basic skill that we have and that the competition doesn’t. The key is to be honest with yourself.

The brand creation process

  1. Definition of the company, of the product and of the need that is covered
  2. Definition of the target customer
  3. Competitive profile of product attributes
  4. Strategic positioning
  5. The semiotics of Brand Identity
  6. Communication briefing


The aesthetic finish for a logo or commercial brand must essentially be creative and original, but the process of getting there is absolutely universal. We should imitate the technique or the process that takes us to the objective, but never the result.