A Guide to Brand Identity: How to make your business stand out

What is brand identity?

A brand’s identity comes through in the way they present themselves to their customers. Think of it as all of the elements that make a brand recognisable in your mind. This includes things like the logo, business name, the colours they use, and the language they choose to communicate. From a copy perspective, this includes their unique tone of voice, and also in the way they train employees to interact with the public.

The outcome of all this is known as a brand image —  the way that customers actually think of them. And any of us who have had a bad experience with a business know exactly how quickly your opinion can flip.

Your perception of a company goes beyond just rational evaluation, and largely takes place on an emotional level. As a little experiment, take a look at this list of brands:





Each of these probably spark a very different set of thoughts and emotions, good or bad, and this all comes down to the success of a brand’s identity and design execution.

Creating your own brand identity

We’ve already checked off the physical attributes that form a brand’s identity, but let’s take a look at the most important things to consider when creating your own. In a lot of ways, this is like creating a character — to be convincing and believable, you need to know your business’s motivations, personality, goals and values –  inside and out.

Key Brand Identity Elements

Brand positioning

Your brand’s positioning is all about how you want your customers to think of you.

To figure this one out, you need to start with two things: complete honest with yourself, and the ability to be realistic. Essentially, you need to pinpoint how you’re relevant to your customer, how you’re different from your competition, and the ways in which your services attainable and credible as well.

Market Research

This is all about finding your niche. Good market research has the power to inform you about other businesses in the space you inhabit, and help you to uncover gaps in the market that you can occupy to set your business apart.

This step of building your brand will also include researching who your ideal customers are, what problems they have, what you offer, and exactly how you can help them in real terms.


We mentioned before that your brand is almost like creating a character. So with that in mind, you should think about what that person would be like face to face. All businesses want to come across as reliable, hardworking and honest, but there’s much more to a brand’s personality than that. So what sets yours apart? Are you funny? Formal? Lighthearted? Kind?

Pick out three core attributes that set you apart from those in your list of competitors, and channel these throughout all of your communications. And always write as though you’re talking to your audience in person.

Tip: After you’ve written something for your business, stop and imagine saying it out loud in conversation with a close friend. If they’d think you sound strange, it’s probably worth rewriting.


Alongside identifying your brand’s purpose and building its personality, you’ll need a strong and identifiable visual component. Second to their personal experiences with a company, for most people, the logo is the easiest aspect to recall for any particular business. Get it right, and logos have the power to become part of the fabric of a culture. Just think about the Nike swoosh and McDonald’s golden arches.

What the best logos have in common is their simplicity. For yours, make sure not to clutter it with complex shapes or loads of text – keep it clean, so it looks sharp no matter where it appears, be it on a business card or on your website.


Another fantastic way to build your brand’s recognition is by picking a consistent colour scheme. By maintaining the same palette of a few distinct colours across the platforms you use, it’ll make it much easier for clients to spot you in a crowd. Some brands, like ASOS for example, choose to use a simple black and white colour scheme and leave the flair up to the products themselves.


And for the final component of your visual brand, finding a style for your text is the last piece of the puzzle. Most brands pick two to keep things consistent: one for regular bodies of text which is often sans-serif, and another for headlines which often includes serifs for a bit more impact. But if you find one you like, that’s good too.

Above all else, make sure your font choices are comfortable to read, with plenty of space between the characters for a smooth reading flow.

Brand Identity Examples

Now that we’ve highlighted the building blocks of your brand identity, here’s a couple of examples of brands who have taken this all into consideration, and built a truly distinctive look and feel for their business in the process.



This smoothie brand is one of the boldest out there, and one of their biggest strengths is in their use of humour as part of their personality. Their goal is clear: helping people make healthy decisions, and making products that taste nice.

They use clean visual designs, consistent with an iconic logo and soft, warm pastel colours in their palette. And for their text they primarily use a sans-serif, making their words as easy to take in as one of their smoothies.

And interestingly, you won’t find a single capital letter in any of their headlines.



Monzo’s brand is built entirely around the idea of taking banking, which is traditionally complex and confusing, and making the whole thing as easy and honest as possible.

In fact, even if you read any of their terms and conditions, you’re in for a treat. They’ve stripped out the jargon, the big words, the faff, and made things as easy to understand as they can.

Their logo is simple but striking, making clever use of the primary colours to keep with the theme of simplicity. And as with Innocent, they’ve opted for a clean sans-serif font for their main text, making their whole brand one smooth experience.


Although building your brand may seem like a pretty daunting task, it’s much easier once you can see the individual elements that go into it. At that point it’s all about taking the time to figure out your brand, check off the list of elements, and keeping it consistent across all your platforms. Armed with this knowledge, you’re ready to make sure your business stands out from the crowd. Now it’s your turn.

Still unsure about how to talk about your business? I can help you to figure out your strengths and set yourself apart from your competition.

I work with small businesses, old and new, to find their voice and put words together to get your customers invested and intrigued.

Visit justaddwords.co.uk or on Facebook to see what I can do for you, or even just drop me an email for a chat. The kettle’s always on.