visual identity

Branding Objectives: The “Why” of Visual Identity Design

Feature Image Source: iStock.com/Aurielaki

We are living in a world concentrated with products and services ready to grab our attention. In all this traffic, how do we make choices? We use visual identities of each company and of its product mix to identify, memorize and recall.

In 2009, researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston found that the human brain learns to process objects at an early stage of life. It was concluded that it takes just 100 milliseconds for our visual cortices to recognize visual representations as compared to textual information.

This is no rocket-science, it is just the way humans communicate and learn. Let’s explore why businesses should have a visual identity design and what is the role of branding objectives in this entire process.

Branding Objectives – The Start Of Everything

First of all, it’s important for business owners to realize that branding is not the same as visual identity design. In fact, the latter is only a part of this progressive journey.

According to the book Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team, branding can be defined as “a disciplined process used to build awareness and extend customer loyalty. It requires a mandate from the top and readiness to invest in the future. Branding is about seizing every opportunity to express why people should choose one brand over another.” Some of the most common branding objectives include:

Brand Identity

The different ways to share your message with the target market. To build a brand identity, you don’t just use visuals. You also use textual, auditory and experiential methods to deliver your vision, story or solution to your audience.

Brand Image

This has to do with the perception your customers have of you. Consumers pick a product not necessarily for its usefulness but also for the image that is attached with the brand. A good example of this is the iPhone, people don’t buy it because they need it but also because it creates a unique lifestyle for it – that of extravagance and minimalism.

Brand Awareness

It involves the information dissemination process of your brand. This is why when I think about water, I go with Aquafina. Perhaps it is different for you, but the point is to spread your brand into the market via a variety of channels and methods so that more and more customers get to know about you and pick you over others.

Brand Equity

This word is often used in marketing but it is a branding objective because the promotional material is part of branding. Brand equity is concerned with the value of owning a well-known brand name. It becomes fairly easier to sell products of a popular brand name than to make sales for a less recognized name. A positive and strong brand equity is a sign of success.

Brand Engagement

According to Wikipedia, brand engagement is “the process of forming an emotional or rational attachment between a consumer and a brand.” There was a time when the only engagement customers could have with a brand was via a phone call or by buying the product. Today, there are a number of ways to induce engagement because we have the internet and the web.

Brand Loyalty

This is a hard-to-achieve branding objective but if you win at this game then you can say cheers. The idea here is to retain customers so that they become recurrently use your product or service. There are a number of ways to achieve this such as premium customer service, special discounts and loyalty cards.

branding objectives

Once the objectives and the goals are set, it becomes easy for professional designers to create an appropriate and a customized visual identity design for startups, small businesses and large enterprises.

What is a Visual Identity?

A visual identity of your business is any brand element that mainly requires the sense of sight. Know that a logo design is just the tip of the ice-berg. For example, your physical store and your website design are part of your visual identity design. Your visual identity will include everything that can be first seen then felt or experienced. It can include your corporate video, marketing collateral, packaging design, photography and much more.

Visual Identity Design

Why Have a Visual Identity Design?

This is one question several business owners still ask despite the global realization that a visual identity is a significant part of branding, marketing and conversions. You may argue that in 2016 the buzzword ‘debranding’ took off, but what you don’t realize is that the entire idea of this approach is only about detaching the name of the brand from visual so that the identity appears to be less corporate and more personal.

It’s time you stopped finding reasons to avoid investing in your visual identity. To start off with, I’ll tell you the importance of a logo design and how this visual gives you a lot more than its size.

1. A visual is worth more than thousand words, it is in fact something that conveys an entire story without the use of letters. For example the Nike logo design soon stripped the brand name from its brand mark simply because the need for words diminished. This was the very first attempt at ‘debranding’ a brand, and surely a successful one. The symbol proves to be enough to connote the vision and the feeling suggested.

Nike Logo

2. Visuals such as a symbol or an icon is easier to remember. For example, the brand name Apple than it is to recollect Ritz Carlton. This is because as visual-beings we have associated the image of a well-known fruit with the name of the tech giant. Even better, as storytellers we have associated the tale of Adam, Eve and the forbidden apple with the mark.

Apple Logo

Let us explore more reasons why you should spend your time, money an effort into planning, executing and maintaining your visual identity.

3. Visual components of the brand help establish a consistent personality for your company. This strategy aids in the visibility and recognition of your brand. A well-organized visual identity design lays a concrete foundation. An example of this can be the Coco-Cola brand. It leverages the power of one color (red) to evoke the feeling of hunger and excitement. This is why, since 1886 the brand is doing great.

4. When you create a style guide for your brand, you basically give a detailed description about what your visual identity system is and what it is not. This way you set the standard of your company and no matter who comes and goes, people working for your company will know exactly how they are supposed to present you. You can either print it out or to save costs you can make an online eBook out of it.

5. The visual identity helps mold the brand personality, which in turn builds the perception of your brand in the minds of your customers. For example, the Japanese motor corporation delivers a sense of affordability for middle class families while the German multinational BMW radiates luxury and sophistication. So once you know the audience you want to reach, the visuals help you position your brand in the market.

suzuki vs bmw
Image Source: suzuki.com, bmw.com

6. The visual design of your brand influences business profitability. At the end of the day, any business or organization wants leads and conversions. Either you want to collect funds or you want to make money from a sale. Your brand’s visual media helps you to attract and connect with your audience, evoke reactions, and urge them to take an action.

Popeyes Packaging for Holiday Traveler

Popeyes Packaging for Holiday Traveler

Arby’s Subscription Box

Arby’s Subscription Box

UK’s Bulb brand comical advert

Coca-Cola’s Instagram Feed

Coca-Cola’s Instagram Feed

National Art Museum Ukraine Rebranding

National Art Museum Ukraine Rebranding

7. Visual branding helps to increase and strengthen your brand equity. To stay within a market, you have to make sure that your brand name is among the top three choices of a customer in the respective industry. For example, when burger comes to my mind I think of Burger King, McDonald’s, and KFC. Try this mini activity yourself for your industry niche and you will know where you want to be.

How has visual identity design helped your brand?

A visual design blogger passionate about interactive, experiential and captivating techniques designers, marketers and brands use to accentuate messages, tell stories, and spread awareness. I’m a visual addict like Alice, who finds books (or anything) without pictures boring! My writings focus on graphic and web design, branding, and visual marketing. My hobbies are to write poems, draw zentangles, read mysteries, and watch YouTube videos.

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