When we have five minutes to describe to a layman what they have to understand about brand identity, this is how we do it. These are our six commandments of branding, distilling the the complex world of brand identity, design and communication down to their core essentials. This is the (all killer, no filler) combined Hello Starling brand design team’s knowledge shoehorned into a tea break sized article.


First and foremost, it’s vital that we acknowledge that we live in a branded world. Everything, from the obvious large customer facing retailers, to charities, public sector organisations and individuals are, whether they act accordingly or not, brands. If you aren’t thinking about your own branding, and how it will be perceived, you won’t be communicating effectively to your audience or keeping up with the competition.


Your branding will promote your business, communicate with your audience and differentiate you. It’s important (for clarity of communication both externally and internally) that you are able to define your own brand in simple language. What are the core values of your organisation? Write them down!


To brand effectively you really have to get to grips with your target audience. Understand who they are and where they come from. Not only figuring out the obvious demographics but truly getting under their skin. What, for instance, are their values, preferences and lifestyles? Build on those and you’ll do a far better job at communicating to them with your brand.


You are always on. The brand never sleeps. You need to take every window of opportunity to correctly and consistently place your organisation in the minds of the target audience. Identify the places in which the customer will interact with the organisation and ensure all of those touchpoints perform according to your expectations and are entirely consistent with the brand. It should be a given that your branding is considered during any communication with customers and that the communication is on-message.


Branding communicates your core values to your customers. Create a strong brand identity that is truthful to the values of the brand and that reflects what is actually delivered.


As well as communicating core values, a working brand identity is an important part of the mechanism for attracting and keeping customers. Often the first way a prospect will differentiate between you and the competition will be via your brand identity. Don’t just do good work, actively demonstrate your competitive prowess with your effective brand identity.


This might be concise but it will provide a platform for thinking about creating and nurturing a brand identity that works. And when you need to ramp up the detail, just get in touch.


By Oliver Brown