Brand Identity Elements - Make Sure Your Kit Is Full

Brand Identity Elements

Table of Contents

Brand identity elements are often misunderstood as being solely about a stylish logo or what’s inside a brand kit. The truth is that brand identity elements contain MORE than the visuals. 

When you look under the brand’s visual surface, you’d discover there’s a well-crafted strategy intricately weaving various brand identity elements together. This strategy makes sure that every touchpoint your brand makes resonates with your essence and story with clarity and consistency.

What are key elements of brand identity?

First, let’s get clear on what brand identity IS and is NOT.

A brand’s identity IS about ALL the things that allow an audience to identify with a brand.

Brand identity is NOT your logo, color palette, fonts, and graphics. 

An identity helps position a brand to its audience making sure it’s the most effective it can be.

The elements of a brand identity form the conceptual and visual distinction of one brand from another in the minds of its audience. It’s a combination of tangible and intangible brand identity elements that work together to create a memorable and UNIQUE brand experience.

There are 6 essential key brand identity elements:

  1. Brand Offering: Services& Products
  2. Brand Personality
  3. Brand Story
  4. Brand Name
  5. Verbal Identity
  6. Visual Identity

7th Extra: Sound & Scent

6 Essential Brand Identity Elements

Brand Identity Elements #1: Brand Offering: Services, and/or Products

Your brand’s services and product offerings are a foundational floor for your business. They are either tangible products or intangible services (also digital products) that represent the presence of your brand to its audience. 

They should contain your brand’s values, mission & vision, purpose, and position in the market. How these products or services are designed, packaged, and delivered plays a crucial role in shaping the overall perception of your brand.

Patagonia - The Greenest Product is the One That Already Exists - Ad Campaign
Tesla Motors

Brand Identity Elements #2: Brand Personality

Brand personality refers to human characteristics associated with your brand. Just like people have personalities that determine how they behave and how they’re perceived, brands have traits too that embody attributes like sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, or ruggedness. 

That means your brand’s personality will dictate how it communicates, behaves, and interacts with its audience. For instance, while a luxury brand may have a sophisticated and elegant personality, a startup tech brand might project a personality that’s innovative and dynamic.

Mercedes ad
Slack Ad

Brand Identity Elements #3: Brand Story

A brand story is the narrative message that connects your brand to your audience. It often includes the origin story of your business, your mission, vision, and values, and the journey that led to its current position in the marketplace. 

More than just a chronological account of events, your brand’s story captures the ethos of your brand, evoking emotions and offering insights into why your brand exists and what it stands for. 

The more compelling it is, the more it portrays itself as HUMAN, making it relatable and memorable to your target audience.

Warby Parker

Brand Identity Elements #4: Brand Name

Your brand’s name is one of the first and most vital points of contact between your brand and its audience. It’s the word or set of words that’s recognized. In order for your brand name to be memorable, your position should be clear and unique. 

It is best to create the name once your Brand Core, Audience, Market, and Difference is set. It also should be easy to pronounce, UNIQUE and DIFFERENT from competitors, evoking positive associations in the minds of consumers.

Dollar Shave Club logo 2020 1

Brand Identity Elements #5: Verbal Identity

Verbal identity encompasses the words, tone, and style used in all your brand’s communications, from advertisements to press releases to digital content. 

This part of your identity dictates how your brand “speaks” to its audience. It should include these parts in its communications: 

  • Voice and Tone (e.g., professional, casual, playful)
  • Messaging Frameworks
  • Taglines and Slogans
  • Brand Words (your brand’s vocabulary)

Consistency in verbal identity ensures that the brand is recognizable and trustworthy in all verbal interactions.

Brand Identity Elements #6: Visual Identity

Your visual identity is the visual part of your branding that is typically seen as the first thing people see in various marketing touchpoints. 

It should provide a consistent look and feel across all your branded materials (digital and print), keeping everything cohesive and easily recognizable. Your brand identity design should go WAY BEYOND its logo. It’s essentially the visual language that your brand uses to communicate with your audience.

Starbucks Creative Expression

Visual identities should:

  • Convey your brand’s mission and principles through its visuals
  • Distinguish your brand with a UNIQUE presence
  • Enhance your brand’s recall and recognition (where audiences think of it easily)
  • Present a cohesive and attractive design
  • Maintain a consistent look across all marketing platforms and media

They should contain these essential elements:

  • Logo (primary, secondary, and sub-marks)
  • Color Palette (color scheme)
  • Typography / Fonts
  • Icons / Patterns / Graphics / Images
  • Brand Style Guide
  • Brand Board

Once ALL the visual elements are created, they are bundled together into a Brand Kit.

What’s a brand kit?

In recent popularity (through the help of Canva), a brand kit is the central collection of your brand’s essential visual elements and resources to help keep your brand looking consistent and cohesive in its visual presentation throughout your marketing.

Think of a Brand Kit like your brand’s visual identity toolbox. 

The more tools you have in your toolbox, the better prepared you’ll be in visually expressing your brand’s identity across ALL of your marketing.

Brand kits should include clear guidelines (like the brand style guide) on logo usage, color palette (like RGB, HEX, and CMYK), typography/font styling direction, and other key brand components. Marketers use guidelines as invaluable references, so they can grasp your brand’s visual standards quickly and effectively.

7th Extra Brand Identity (non-essential element): Sound & Scent

As branding has evolved, so has the understanding of how multi-sensory experiences impact brand perception. Sound branding can include jingles, voiceovers, and even specific soundscapes or sound effects associated with a brand (think of the iconic Netflix app startup sound, or Apple). 

On the other hand, scent branding involves crafting a unique aroma that represents a brand. Retailers might diffuse this scent in stores, or airlines might use it in their cabins. A distinct, pleasant scent can create a memorable and immersive brand experience. Both sound and scent work on a subconscious level, reinforcing brand identity and deepening emotional connections with consumers.

Old Spice Smell Is Power Ad

What are the 7 steps to brand identity?

Keeping in mind that building brand identity elements is more than creating a logo, it often requires a more intricate, strategic, and time intensive process. Brand building can take anywhere from 2-9 months depending on what parts we are forming together with you. This is our 7 step process to building complete brands:

STEP 1: Discovery, Audit, & Initial Research

Before we dive into the work, we’d like to get to know you, other stakeholders, and everything we can about your business. We’ll start the process off with some initial meetings and research. 

When we meet, we’ll facilitate/guide you through an initial series of workshops. Our objective will be to uncover deep (sometimes hidden) insight on your offers, services, products, values, vision, goals, audience, competitors, and any other identity characteristics of your brand. These strategic workshops produce diverse perspectives on your brand’s identity and future direction. 

Here are the common steps involved in a brand discovery workshop:

  • Introduction and Objective Setting
  • Stakeholder Input
  • Brand Audit
  • Interactive Exercises
  • Action Items and Next Steps
  • Feedback

STEP 2: Brand Strategy Research & Development

We’ll meet again at this phase in the process to review “insightful data” and facilitate a couple  interactive workshops. Our data from you will help us dive deeper into our research process. From there, we’ll cover detail on your audience, competitive analysis, and a brand identity matrix.

It will include:

  • Data Review
  • Interactive Exercises
  • Audience Personas
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Positioning Strategy
  • Action Items and Next Steps
  • Feedback

STEP 3: Human Brand Persona

In this phase, we’ll meet to review brand strategy “insightful data” and facilitate the last set of interactive workshops. It’s the part where your brand begins to look and act HUMAN by representing itself like a person instead of a lifeless entity. We’ll help you find your voice and tone. We’ll also have a better idea of your brand’s story to tell and words you’ll be using. All the emotion and feeling your brand will express will be part of this phase of the brand identity journey.

It will include:

  • Data Review
  • Interactive Exercises
  • Brand Archetypes
  • Voice & Tone
  • Brand Words

STEP 4: Visual Identity Creation

This phase of the process is on forming the visual brand identity elements. 

It covers this list:

  • Logo (primary, secondary, and sub-marks)
  • Color Palette (color scheme)
  • Typography / Fonts
  • Icons / Patterns / Graphics / Images
  • Brand Style Guide
  • Brand Board

The only meeting we’ll be scheduling with you at this time will be the custom logo presentation! From there, we’ll finalize it and create the rest of the visual brand identity elements for you.

STEP 5: Brand Strategy Statements & Identity Guidelines

It will be at this phase where we present our brand strategy statements with guidelines.

We’ll cover:

  • Purpose
  • Mission
  • Vision
  • Values
  • Audience Persona(s)
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Positioning
  • Human Brand Persona
  • Tone of Voice
  • Brand Words
  • Brand Story
  • Name, Tagline, & Hooks
  • Visual Identity

STEP 6: Brand Marketing

Depending on what packages you are engaging in with us, it would be at this part of the process where we produce various marketing materials for your new identity.

That could be:

  • Custom 5-Page Website
  • Business Cards
  • Event Marketing: Vertical Banners, Presentation Templates
  • Print Collateral: Folders, Brochures, etc.
  • Social Media Templates
  • Email Marketing Template
  • Canva Brand Kit setup
  • Promotional Marketing: T-shirts, Notebooks, Pens, etc.
  • And more

We would set up any additional workshops and presentation meetings around these various marketing needs you have.

STEP 7: Brand Identity Implementation

At this final identity creation phase, we’ll guide you and anyone on your team through training and a launch plan.

Let’s Create A Solid And Full Brand Identity Together

Understanding brand identity elements is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. Each element plays a pivotal role in shaping the perceptions of your audience. They are the threads that weave together the fabric of your brand’s story, reputation, and overall image in the market. Without a cohesive and strong brand identity, brands can fade into the background, lost amidst the clamor of competitors.

However, merely understanding the significance of brand identity elements isn’t enough. The real challenge lies in crafting an identity that genuinely captures the essence of your brand, standing out in a crowded market, and consistently resonating AUTHENTICALLY with your target audience. It’s an art and science, requiring not just creativity, but strategic insight, market understanding, and a knack for storytelling.

This is where partnering with professionals becomes paramount. By partnering with us, you’re not only investing in custom aesthetics, but strategy, longevity, and relevance. 

We want to hear your ROAR because you REFUSE to settle for an ordinary and lifeless brand; but instead, you strive for a brand identity that embodies an ethos that influences, thrives, and prospers. With 28Lions by your side, you’re not just creating a brand; you’re building a legacy. So, take the leap, embrace the myriad of brand identity elements with us, and let 28Lions guide you to branding excellence. Your future self will thank you!

Nicole Andrew

Nicole Andrew is a 20 year brand designer, Level-C certified brand strategist, educator, and co-owner of 28Lions, a branding & marketing agency that helps service-based entrepreneurs turn their expertise into powerful brands.