The most successful businesses are the ones that know how to build recognizable brands. Ultimately, their names are associated with more than products or services. When customers think of the brand, they may also think of values like customer experience, reliability, trustworthiness, and similar qualities.
Importantly, customers also recognize their branding — meaning that just a glimpse of a logo or a name is enough to remind the customer of the business and its products.
The following provides a look at the process businesses use to make their branding recognizable. We’ll also be looking at some practical steps that any business, regardless of size or industry, can take to build a more recognizable brand name.
1. Review Your Branding Materials
The best place to start when upgrading your branding is with a thorough brand audit. This is a review of your branding materials, performed company-wide, as well as anything that uses brand elements, like marketing campaigns, printed materials, and site content.
This audit helps you to understand what resources you have available — as well as find any potential shortcomings or inconsistencies in your current brand strategy.
For example, you may have an old or outdated logo that wasn’t updated when you revamped your website and content strategy. This logo may be functional, but an upgrade will bring it in line with your current branding, making it much stronger and more memorable for consumers.
You may also find that your branding is completely consistent across the business, or that you’re using different brand elements for different channels or campaigns. The audit is a chance to make a note of these inconsistencies so you can manage them later.
2. Learn About Branding Myths
Some elements may need to be completely repurposed or revamped before they’re ready for prime time. You may also be cultivating a brand from the ground up — meaning you need to create an all-new logo, tagline, name, and design strategy. If so, it’s good to know about the best practices for developing or iterating on major branding elements.
For example, almost every marketer has heard certain myths about brand names and what factors make these names effective. Some will suggest that descriptive names, rather than coined names, are the best bet for new businesses, or that likability of a brand name is essential.
Letting these myths restrict you can hold you back from creating truly interesting and memorable brand names. Learning about common branding myths can also help you avoid choosing safe but hard-to-remember options.
3. Tell Your Brand’s Story
Once you’re happy with the foundation of your brand — your logo, name, and mission — you can more effectively build content and web pages that reflect your brand. This is where storytelling skills come in.
Every successful brand has a story — it’s a unique message about its history, what the brand does, why it exists, and what values it upholds. This story tells customers about what makes the brand different from the competition. It makes the business stand out, become more memorable, and be perceived as more authentic.
For an example of how design can build a strong and lasting brand message, take a look at how DECIEM, a skincare company, handles the design for the product pages of its brand The Ordinary, a product line aimed at improving “pricing and communication integrity in skincare.”
Everything about the site’s design helps to underscore the brand’s mission — it’s a unique approach to communication and pricing for skincare products.
The brand isn’t afraid to use technical language and a scientific vocabulary to name products and discuss their features and benefits. The look of the page, like the brand’s logo and color palette, is slick and minimalist without looking sterile.
The web designers weren’t afraid of being a little playful, either — the other pages on the site feature hand-drawn graphic flourishes.
The result is a website that helps to truly sell the brand’s message — and, potentially, make the brand much easier to recognize.
4. Know What Makes You Unique
Messages only work well if they actually help your brand stand out. Otherwise, you’ll just be adding to the noise. You need a unique story that helps your brand appear distinct from the competition, especially if you do business in a crowded industry.
For an example of how brands differentiate themselves, consider the branding for Twist, an online business communication platform.
Twist wants to emphasize how it’s different from industry-leader Slack. To do so, it emphasizes the values of its products and adopts a distinctive visual style that combines minimalist backgrounds and text with playful and colorful illustrations. The overall effect is meant to create a brand that comes across as professional and practical but also friendly.
These decisions help to make the brand memorable and distinct in customers’ minds from the competing brands.
5. Keep It Consistent Everywhere
Brand recognition is partly a result of your branding and partly a result of how you use it. Even the best logos, slogans, campaigns, and design strategies can be less than effective if your branding isn’t kept consistent.
Consistency builds recognition — it’s easier for customers to remember your brand if it’s the same every time they see it. While perfect consistency isn’t usually possible — rebrands, for example, will disrupt your branding strategy — it is a good goal to aim for.
Brand guidelines, or style guides, are the best way to keep branding consistent across an organization and its communication channels. If your brand doesn’t have some kind of documentation laying down these common guidelines, you should develop one — especially if you work with third parties, like marketing agencies and independent designers, who may not be as familiar with your brand and its history as you are.
Strategies for Building an Instantly Recognizable Brand
Memorable brands are key to business success. Having a brand that is recognizable and unique will be essential for standing out from your competition.
A brand audit is a good place for existing businesses to start. By using information from your audit, you can update your brand materials and content to more effectively represent your brand’s story.
About the Author
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.