From strategy
to identity

No matter how great you are, people form strong opinions about you by how you present yourself. It’s the same for your product, service, business or organisation. Appearance is a critical dimension of brand.

Your brand’s identity and your personal appearance share a lot in common. Both create first and lasting impressions about what you do, your attitude, your ability, and your value. 

A positive, memorable appearance can take you a long way. Some people can craft a good look by themselves. But many sensibly find success with an expert – a tailor, tastemaker or even a romantic partner – to improve their appearance. It’s the same with your brand.

A brand identity carefully developed will influence customer perceptions and advance your strategic business goals.

It’s tempting but risky to design your brand identity without deciding on your brand strategy.

What is your brand identity?

Your brand identity is a collection of all the elements that identify and distinguish your brand in your audience’s minds. These elements include (but aren’t limited to) your logo, colour, type… and even scent, sound, tone of voice and writing style. 

Just as you have different outfits for board meetings or lazy days with friends, your brand identity needs a variety of formats and elements to fit the right context or situation to appeal to stakeholders.

Like a thoughtfully assembled wardrobe, your brand identity is designed to work as a system that maximises your brand’s potential to be expressed, and therefore recognised, recalled, and bought from.

Here are the two parts your brand identity comprises:


The logo is the most visible element in your brand identity. It becomes the main inspiration for how every other part of your brand identity is built. 

Your brand strategy (which you get by creating a plan such as our brand model) inspires how your logo is designed. It’s tempting but risky to design your brand identity without deciding on your brand strategy. 

You wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint or turn up to an event without knowing the dress code. A brand strategy reduces risk and greatly increases the effectiveness of your brand.

We’ll dive deeper into logos in our next article.

Design language

These are brand elements inspired by your logo. Basic components of your design language include colour palette and typography. It can also include illustration style, photography style, animation style, iconography, supergraphics, and more. 

Your design language helps make your brand distinctive. This is important because distinctive brands are proven to attract customers and build sales over the long term.

A brand identity carefully developed will influence customer perceptions and advance your strategic business goals.


Brand management

Your brand guidelines are a comprehensive document explaining the components of your brand identity and how they work together as a system. They are detailed so that designers can fully understand and apply them correctly to materials. 

Guidelines help manage consistency and aids recognition. They give your team the independence and flexibility to apply your brand assets effectively for the long term.

A brand identity system that’s too limited inhibits creativity – and weakens expression. An identity system with too many moving parts is impractical to follow. It leads to inconsistency and weakens recognition. 

Expression and memory

You take care of your appearance to make favourable first impressions. In the same way, your identity expresses the value of your offering and helps people notice, recognise and recall your brand.

Why wouldn’t you look your best?

Brands that neglect their identity face similar obstacles to people who undervalue the way they present themselves. They may have something great to offer. But people might not notice them or think of them the wrong way. 

A memorable, appropriate appearance provides valuable competitive advantages.

Key takeaway: It’s easier to trust a well-dressed brand

Your brand identity likely needs an expert’s touch to get right. Contact our wholehearted brand building team for your best chance to make a positive impression...

Sign up for Wholehearted Brand Building – a practical how-to series designed to help you get more value from your brand

Please note our website is not optimised for your browser

Don’t worry, it's still viewable (sort of). But your experience would be improved if you update your browser.