8 Essential Brand Elements for a Cohesive Identity

Hannah Tow
Hannah Tow  |  May 6, 2019

A successful brand creates a unique experience for its customers.

A customer’s experience with your brand is so much more than a perfectly designed logo or even the products you sell.

Those elements are undoubtedly still important, but they are pieces to an overall brand identity puzzle that is necessary to build to ensure your brand is memorable and stands out from its competitors.

Creating branded elements to appeal to your customers’ every sense is crucial for not only a cohesive brand identity but recognition in the marketplace. This will eventually lead to strong and lasting brand loyalty from your customers for years to come.

Essential brand elements

Each of these eight essential elements make up an important piece of your brand’s puzzle that proves to your customers who you are, why you’re better, and why they should remember you.

Without these branded elements, your customers have nothing to remember you by. If consumers can’t remember your brand or why they should choose you over the others, they won’t purchase your offerings, which guarantees a short lifespan in the market you're in.

Before you bring any product or service to market, nail these elements down first. If you do, your brand will stand out and blow all your competitors away who haven't thought as comprehensively as you have. Be creative and make it memorable.

Let’s get started.

Name

Perhaps the most important element of them all. Your brand name defines everything in one (or a few) words. It gives consumers the perception of who you are and it is likely the very first impression they have of your brand.

Creating a perfect brand name is no simple feat. There are multiple variables to consider, like the identity you wish to portray, availability on the market, and proper alignment with your brand strategy.

But if you are able to nail it, your brand could be on its way to becoming a household name, just like Band-Aid or Kleenex.

Who even says “can you please hand me an adhesive bandage”?

Nobody.

A brand name for the product became more popular than the generic product name itself! That is how iconic the Band-Aid name is.

Band-Aid brandSource: Band-Aid

Logo

A logo is the visual trademark that can arguably be considered the second most important element. A logo should be just as (or more) recognizable as the brand name, since images are often remembered easier than words.

This can even mean creating a wordmark. A wordmark is the brand name skillfully designed with branded fonts and colors to be used in place of a designed logo, thus making the brand name the actual logo.

Brands like Google and FedEx are great examples of creative wordmarks.

GoogleSource: The Verge

FedEx logo

Source: FedEx

It is also important to design different logo lockups that uphold your brand standard. This means creating different sizes and colors of your logo to be used when the primary logo doesn't fit well on different types of promotional collateral.

Think of Apple. The brand name is simple, and the logo is just as simple. Both elements portray sleekness and simplicity; something the brand embodies well. Apple is a great example of why less is usually more for logos. It is iconic and one of the most recognized brands in the world.

Apple Logo on iPhoneSource: Apple

Picking out and designing the perfect logo is a fun and creative step during the brand building process. In the end, it doesn’t matter which type of logo you decide on, what matters most is that your brand has a dynamic and clever visual representation for the world to recognize.

Brand colors

Color is powerful.

Feeling a certain way when associating with a specific color is a universal trait. Certain colors mean certain things, that's just how it is.

Think of the color red. The words that typically come to mind are: error, danger, stop, help, urgency, and so on. Why is this? There is a lot that goes into color psychology in business, but let’s focus on what that means for your brand.

Coming up with proper color for your business means thoroughly understanding what your brand portrays and what audience you appeal to. Once you understand that, choosing a color that fits that profile should be easy.

To fully understand how iconic colors can become for a brand, think about Tiffany & Co.’s Robin Egg Blue, which was in fact trademarked by the company in 1998.

When I think of that brand, that little robin egg colored box immediately comes to mind. The color is synonymous to luxury and power. If another jewelry brand were to use that color, the same associations would be made, which is exactly why Tiffany’s trademarked it. It is uniquely theirs.

Tiffany & Co.Source: Tiffany & Co.

Slogan

This catchy phrase quickly defines your brand’s position in a handful of words. It should be memorable, easy to say, and match your brand’s personality.

You wouldn't want to create a funny catchphrase if your business handles money. That would relay a lackadaisical and carefree message to your customers who expect you to be nothing but professional when handling their most important assets. 

Slogans like, “Tastes So Good, Cat’s Ask for it By Name” from Meow Mix are clever and state why their brand is considered the best, while Coca-Cola’s slogan “Open Happiness” portrays the feelings they want you to have when you purchase and drink their beverage.

The slogan you choose should have the ability to withstand your brand’s evolution throughout the years, but within reason. You shouldn’t change your slogan every year, because that would confuse your customers, but you still need to refresh your image and ensure the slogan matches what you stand for and the way your customers perceive you.

Coca Cola open happinessSource: Business 2 Community 

Image

Whether you're using stock images or shooting your photos in-house, the images you choose for your marketing and advertising efforts should be consistent and possess similar qualities.

If you’re shooting your photos in-house, the editing style must be uniformed. Creating branded filters and presets is a fantastic way to ensure comparable photos.

The clothing brand Madewell does an excellent job at creating eye-catching and engaging photos while impressively sticking to brown and orange hues.

Madewell's InstagramSource: Madewell's Instagram page

Shape

This is where product design comes into play. When in a heavily saturated market, an easy way to distinguish your product from the rest is by creating a design that’s different than the standard, generic shape.

By innovative thinking and creating something unlike anyone has ever seen, your brand creates a “gotta have it” feeling in consumers, thus making your product highly coveted.

Although old news now, we saw this when Apple reinvented the mobile phone by making it one screen with no fold. The frenzy that ensued when the first iPhone was released was nothing short of a phenomenon. To this day, Apple continues to innovate within its product categories, shocking consumers every single time. 

This can also be as simple as Health-Ade’s kombucha bottle design, which takes inspiration from an old-time medicinal bottle versus the standard long and skinny glass bottle design commonly used by all types of beverage brands. Health-Ade is the only bottle shaped that way in the kombucha aisle, or possibly any beverage aisle, creating an intense intrigue with kombucha customers because it’s so different.

Health-Ade KombuchaSource: Cooking Light

Graphics

This next element is not another logo. Branded graphics are used to supplement the primary logo, and if done correctly, consumers may recognize them just as much as they do the logo.

Graphics typically show off the entirety of your branded assets. This can be done by utilizing the full-color pallet or modeling the designs off a specific element of the logo. These graphics are used on every type of marketing or advertising collateral to enhance the appearance and allow the abundant creation of new material, without looking redundant and excessively using the logo.

For example, the G2 logo has an arrow, so the graphics used display multiple arrows. They are shaped differently, pointing in different directions, bearing a myriad of colors, but the graphics clearly represent the overall brand and reinforces the primary logo.

G2 Graphic ExamplesSource: G2 

Typography

The font, or typography your brand uses can be inspired by the style of your logo, or it can be something completely different but still complementary. Ensure that the typography chosen meshes well with the other elements of your brand, because just like color, fonts can be associated with a specific feeling or essence that must match your brand’s personality.

Once the font is selected, ensure that it is used on every piece of collateral and material your brand produces. This can be a small detail, like the font used to send company emails, or as big as the billboard design next to the highway. 

Start branding!

It’s simple to understand how crucial these eight elements are to a brand’s identity when reflecting on the success of the companies shown in this article.

Sure, the products they offer are great, but the branded elements they have produced throughout the years have been the catalyst for their success and iconic reputations. 

Each element makes up one piece of the brand identity puzzle, and it’s imperative to execute them correctly to have a solid identity and positive customer perception.

 Think outside the box, be creative, and find what’s uniquely yours. Trust me, it's worth it.

 Are you ready to get started on building your brand? Check out these graphic design skills to get you started on designing your logo!

Hannah Tow
Author

Hannah Tow

Hannah is a Content Marketing Associate at G2 Crowd. Raised in the Chicagoland area her entire life, she graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in Journalism. In her free time, Hannah enjoys running with her dog, Teddy, traveling to new and exciting places, and capturing the beautiful places she travels to with her DSLR.