A comprehensive guide to memorable branding

A strong brand is akin to a familiar face customers recognize and associate with positively. Just as we form emotional connections with people we know, customers develop similar relationships with brands who consistently deliver value and improve their lives. This is why your brand, which serves as your corporate identity, should not only stand out, but also resonate with your target audience.

Brand building is an intricate process that involves understanding your business's essence, identifying your target market and creating an identity that bridges the two.

While visual elements play a crucial role in branding, your company's communication style, core values, and unique narrative also contribute to shaping a robust brand identity.

Whether you're a startup creating a new brand or an established business aiming for a rebrand, a strong brand identity will enable you to differentiate yourself, foster genuine relationships with your customers, and devise impactful marketing strategies.

Below we’ll walk you through our top strategies to create a lasting impression online.

Table of Contents

Define your purpose

A brand purpose is the reason your brand exists(opens in a new tab or window), beyond the desire to make money. It's what your brand stands for and the causes you support.

Defining your brand purpose can be done by first asking yourself:

- What are our core skills?

- What are we passionate about as a company?

- What impact do we want to have on the world and our community?

A well-defined brand purpose can guide your business decisions, inspire your team, and connect with customers on a deeper level.

For example, Patagonia's brand purpose(opens in a new tab or window) is to use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. This purpose drives all of their actions and resonates with their environmentally-conscious audience.

How to write an effective brand story

Your brand story should:

  • Be true: Don’t make up your history, share your true origin story.
  • Be engaging: Your story should resonate emotionally with your customers.
  • Be simple: Your story should be easy to understand and remember.

Build a Brand Character

The key elements of building a brand character include:

- Personality: This is the unique character of a brand, which can be serious, fun-loving, sophisticated, etc. It should be consistent across all marketing materials and customer interactions.

- Values: These are the guiding principles of the brand. They inform the behavior of the brand and create an emotional connection with customers who share the same values.

- Ability to Evoke Emotion: Emotionally engaged customers are more likely to recommend the brand and make repeat purchases.

- Relatability: The brand character needs to be relatable to its target audience. This helps to build trust and loyalty.

A strong brand doesn't need to be complex. Sometimes, the simplest ideas can make the most significant impact. One such example is the Australian beauty brand, Frank Body.

Frank Body began as a simple coffee scrub in unassuming brown paper packaging, but it quickly grew into a cult favorite in the beauty industry. Frank Body prides itself on being transparent(opens in a new tab or window) about its ingredients, all of which are naturally derived and free from harmful chemicals. This honesty extends to their communication style with their customers. They don't promise miracles, but instead reliable skincare that does what the label says.

Frank Body also stands out for not taking themselves too seriously. Their branding is infused with a sense of fun and cheekiness, from their product descriptions to their social media posts. They've even personified their brand as 'Frank,’ a coffee-loving character who speaks directly to the consumers in a friendly and informal tone.

The elements that make up your brand

The first step in building a successful brand is defining it.

This includes your:

Mission Statement: This should succinctly state why your company exists, its purpose and what it stands for.

Logo Design: Your logo should be unique(opens in a new tab or window) and easily recognizable, and reflect the nature of your business.

Marketing Materials: These should consistently use your logo and colors to create a comprehensive and consistent brand image.

Packaging Design: The packaging of your product(opens in a new tab or window) should not only stand out, but also clearly convey your brand identity.

Product Design: The design of your product itself(opens in a new tab or window) should reflect your brand's values and quality.

Spokespeople: A spokesperson or character can personify your brand and make it more relatable to consumers.

Sensory Cues: Sounds, smells, and textures associated with your brand can create a multisensory experience for your customers.

Pricing: Your pricing strategy should align with the perceived value of your brand.

Voice and Tone: Your brand's voice (its personality) and tone (its mood) should be consistent across all communication channels.

Customer Experience: Every interaction a customer has with your business should reinforce your brand image.

Measure your brand equity

Brand equity refers to the value of your brand(opens in a new tab or window) in the minds of consumers. It's important to measure this regularly to understand how your brand is perceived(opens in a new tab or window). You can do this through surveys(opens in a new tab or window), focus groups, and online monitoring tools. This will help you understand what's working for your brand and where improvements are needed.

Rethink brand names, logos and taglines

Brand names and taglines should be memorable, easy to pronounce, and convey the essence of your brand. If your current name or tagline isn't achieving this, it may be time to regroup. Look at successful branding campaigns for inspiration and consider polling your audience for ideas.

Build a personal brand

- Decide How You Want to Be Seen: Think about how you want others to perceive you. What are the qualities you want to be associated with?

- Highlight Your Unique Strengths and Style: Identify what sets you apart from others in your field. This could be your skills, experiences, style, or personality.

- Create Strategies for Consistent Expression: Your brand should be consistently expressed across all platforms from your social media profiles and website to your interactions with others.

Are you in need of a full or partial rebrand?

A successful brand is the cornerstone of every thriving business. However, there may come a time when you need to reassess your brand's effectiveness(opens in a new tab or window) and relevance in the market.

It's time to rebrand if you’re experiencing the following:

  • You attract the wrong clients: If your brand messaging is attracting customers who undervalue your products or continually ask for discounts, then it's time for a rebrand.
  • Your branding feels outdated: If your logo, color scheme, or overall aesthetic no longer resonates with modern tastes, it's a clear sign that your business has outgrown its original branding.
  • Your branding is too confusing: If people struggle to understand your visual branding without an explanation, consider revising it to be more recognizable and concise.
  • Your brand is too similar to others: If your brand doesn't stand out from your competition, it's time to differentiate yourself with a unique brand identity.
  • You need to refocus your team: If your company has undergone significant changes in philosophy, offerings, or management, a rebrand can provide a clear, unified vision for your team.

Before you embark on a rebranding journey, consider the scope and cost of this endeavor. It's not just about updating logos and taglines, it could involve product changes and other costly investments.

But, all is not lost. You don't necessarily need to start from scratch(opens in a new tab or window). A partial rebrand might suffice if certain elements of your existing brand still resonate with your audience.

The key is to identify which parts of your brand are problematic and which are not. What does your brand stand for today, and what do you want it to stand for in the future? Your goals for the rebrand will guide this decision.

A partial rebrand can seamlessly merge multiple brands or services into one(opens in a new tab or window) cohesive unit. By creating a new logo and brand identity, you can craft a unified story. A prime example of this is the successful merger of United and Continental Airlines. By merging their brands, they were able to boost their market presence.

This can also breathe new life into your business and help launch new ventures. American Eagle's launching of ‘Aerie,’ their lingerie line, is a classic case in point. With a fresh logo and branding, Aerie managed to carve out its own identity while remaining under the American Eagle umbrella. This allowed the company to tap into a new market segment without alienating its existing customer base.

If you're looking to attract a new demographic while maintaining your current customer base(opens in a new tab or window), a partial rebrand can subtly shift your image to appeal to this new audience as your company grows. When Airbnb underwent a rebrand, it was a strategic move to reach a wider customer base. They successfully repositioned themselves in their competitive industry, appealing to a broader demographic without losing their core users.

Collaboration is vital during this process. Include your team in the rebrand to ensure consistency in messaging and visual identity across all platforms. Create mood boards(opens in a new tab or window), host brainstorming sessions, and lean on each other’s past experiences to design a seamless customer experience. This collaborative approach can help build a stronger, more unified brand.

Feedback from your trusted audience members should be a crucial part of your rebranding process, too. Before making any significant changes, seek their input. What do they like about your current brand? What do they think needs improvement? Their feedback can provide valuable insights and guide your rebranding efforts.

Your brand is not just about what you want to convey, but also about how your audience perceives it.

The importance of style guides and media kits

Maintaining a consistent visual brand identity is crucial for boosting engagement(opens in a new tab or window) and brand awareness. A recognizable and consistent brand can cut through the noise of crowded marketplaces, making it easier for potential customers to find and choose your business over competitors.

A brand style guide(opens in a new tab or window) serves as your business's design bible(opens in a new tab or window). This comprehensive document outlines the key elements of a company's brand identity, including its logos, hex codes, fonts, images, illustrations, tone, formatting preferences, and brand templates. It may also include the brand's mission, vision, and values to ensure all external communication aligns with the brand's identity.

This consistency is crucial in building trust with customers. When people see consistent branding, they start to recognize your business more easily, which fosters trust and reliability.

Brand style guides can serve as both internal and external documents. Internally, they provide a reference point for your team, ensuring everyone is on the same page when creating branded materials. Externally, they inspire collaborators, partners, and even customers by providing a clear and consistent image of what your brand stands for.

A media kit, on the other hand, is a pre-packaged set of promotional materials(opens in a new tab or window) which provide essential information about your business or event. It typically includes a company overview, fact sheet, bios, photos, press releases, case studies, and sample social media posts. These materials can be used by journalists, bloggers, and influencers to tell your brand story accurately.

To further your team’s collaboration, sign up for a Canva for Teams account,(opens in a new tab or window) which makes designing style guides and media kits more streamlined. The platform encourages collaboration, allowing team members to work together in real-time, share ideas, and give feedback(opens in a new tab or window)through tagged comments, ensuring the production of high-quality, consistent branded content.

Stay top of mind with high-quality visuals

Your photography(opens in a new tab or window) and videography should tell your brand's story without the need for copy.

It’s important to provide technical specifications for your visuals in your brand style guide and media kits, offering a small library of brand-approved photos and videos for reference. These assets should serve as a guideline for stylistic consistency.

Canva's built-in Photo Editor(opens in a new tab or window) is a valuable tool for color-correcting and enhancing images to align with your brand. Adjust brightness, contrast, saturation, and tint to match your style guide.

Maintain consistency in post-production by not over-editing and using trendy filters sparingly.

Develop a Brand Kit in Canva

Canva’s Brand Kit(opens in a new tab or window) serves as a storage hub for all of your documents, graphics, and style guides, and allows you to organize your resources in one centralized location so anyone on your team can utilize them effortlessly.

When every team member can select brand colors, choose the right font, and download pre-approved files directly from the design tool they're using, it boosts conversions and eliminates the need to request access from high-ranking team members on every project.

Choosing an effective color and font palette for your brand

Creating a compelling brand involves making strategic choices about your brand's visual identity, including its color and font palette. These elements play a critical role in shaping your audience's perception.

Understanding the Psychology of Colors: Colors evoke emotions and can significantly influence consumer behavior. For instance, red can incite excitement or urgency, making it a popular choice for clearance sales, while blue often conveys trust and reliability.

To choose an effective color palette(opens in a new tab or window), you need to understand your brand's personality and the emotions you want to evoke in your audience. Tools like Canva’s Color Palette Generator(opens in a new tab or window) can help you create palettes which align with your brand's intended message.

Best Practice: Stick to a primary palette of 2-3 colors, complemented by secondary colors for accents. This ensures consistency and avoids overwhelming your viewers with clashing colors.

Typography:

Just as with colors, different fonts can convey your brand personality. Serif fonts often suggest tradition and respectability, while sans-serif fonts are viewed as modern and clean. Script fonts can express elegance and creativity, while display fonts are ideal for making a bold statement.

When choosing a font or font pairings, consider their readability(opens in a new tab or window) across your website and advertisements, as well as how they appear in different sizes.

Best Practice: Limit your brand's typography to 2-3 typefaces, a bold san-serif font for headlines, and a highly legible serif font for body text.

Lean on brand templates to simplify your design workflow

They eliminate lengthy internal approval processes and allow anyone to create on-brand designs in minutes.

The dimensions, sizing and cropping of digital deliverables often vary across different platforms. To ensure that your designs are perfectly sized and optimized for each format, it's beneficial to use specialized social media templates(opens in a new tab or window).

To make this process more efficient, create a checklist of all the elements you need for your digital mediums and work on them collectively. This approach prevents discrepancies like slight color variations and streamlines your launch process.

Create a community on social media

Building brand communities on social media is a crucial aspect of modern marketing(opens in a new tab or window). By investing time and energy into your social media strategy, you can cultivate an engaged following, increase your follower count and create a loyal customer base.

Engaged social media pages serve as dynamic platforms for new prospects, offering opportunities for upsells, and business expansion. They also act as effective customer service channels, allowing brands to smoothly resolve issues and maintain positive relationships with their audience.

By fostering a sense of belonging, followers often become full brand advocates, promoting your products or services within their own networks.

Fast track your social media success with these helpful tips:

1. Drive engagement with free educational resources

The key to attracting and retaining followers lies in delivering content that not only captures their interest, but also provides tangible value.

Offering educational resources such as industry-specific checklists(opens in a new tab or window) and tips and tricks(opens in a new tab or window) can be extremely effective. This type of content not only educates your audience, but also empowers them with practical knowledge they can apply in their daily lives.

2. Empower ambassadors to share brand-approved content

Working with brand ambassadors, who are often your most satisfied customers, can amplify your brand's reach on social media. These enthusiastic individuals can share their positive experiences with your products or services, offering authentic and relatable content.

For instance, a bookstore owner, delighted with his staff scheduling software, might agree to create a "day in the life" video(opens in a new tab or window) for your page, showcasing how they implemented your system in their business. Offering incentives like discounts can further motivate these ambassadors to share their stories.

To ensure brand consistency, it's crucial to equip ambassadors with the tools they need to create brand-approved content. By providing them with limited access to your Canva account, they can utilize your templates and Brand Kit(opens in a new tab or window). This approach empowers them to share their unique perspectives while maintaining alignment with your visual narrative.

3. Leverage multimedia content across social media platforms

To build a dynamic and engaged social community, it's crucial to understand the unique characteristics of different platforms and adjust your content strategy accordingly.

Videos offer a wealth of creative opportunities, showcasing your products, highlighting your team, documenting production processes, or even jumping on viral trends. Canva’s Video Editor(opens in a new tab or window)enables you to trim, edit, brand, and publish videos quickly, making it an invaluable asset in your social content strategy.

As new platforms emerge and grow in popularity, it's essential to stay ahead of the curve and test new waters. Canva's Content Planner(opens in a new tab or window) can simplify this process, allowing you to schedule posts across multiple platforms directly from your Canva account and dive into your social analytics.

4. Unlock your marketing potential with audience polls and questions

Audience polls and questions(opens in a new tab or window) are indispensable tools which help you delve deeper into your target market's psyche, allowing you to tailor your products or services to their needs.

Why should businesses use audience polls and questions? Firstly, they provide real-time insights into your audience's preferences, opinions, and behaviors. These tools serve as an informal focus group that can guide your marketing strategy, product development, and customer service approach.

Secondly, audience polls and questions foster engagement. They create a dialogue between your brand and followers, making customers feel valued and heard. This increased engagement not only boosts your social media metrics, but also fosters loyalty.

These tools also allow for data-driven decision-making. Instead of guessing what your audience wants, you can make informed decisions based on real feedback. This approach reduces the risk of costly missteps and ensures your business stays customer-centric.

5. Create a rewards program

Understanding your customer demographics is a crucial first step in designing an effective rewards program. This data can include basic information such as gender, age, marital status, education, and location. Purchasing history and product preferences give insights into what might motivate your customers to participate in the rewards program.

Armed with this knowledge, you can brainstorm potential incentives that align with their interests. For instance, if your demographic data shows your customers value convenience, consider offering free shipping or express delivery as a reward. If they are frequent buyers, a points system can be redeemed for discounts on future purchases.

Make your rewards program easily accessible on your website, newsletters, and utilize your social media for promotion to drive sales.

6. Incentivize email subscribers

To attract and retain subscribers(opens in a new tab or window), your emails need to be compelling, interesting, and attention-grabbing. Use a catchy subject line to pique curiosity and improve open rates. Use data-driven insights to understand your subscribers' needs and preferences, and craft targeted messages that resonate with them.

Offer exclusive content to incentivize subscription, as well. This could include early access to sales, special discounts, or valuable resources relevant to your audience. By creating a sense of exclusivity, you encourage more sign-ups and engagement.

It’s also important to learn from others' mistakes. There are several common pitfalls to avoid. One is sending too many emails, which can lead to subscriber fatigue and increased unsubscribe rates. Another is neglecting to maintain a clean list, regularly remove inactive subscribers to improve your deliverability rate. Lastly, failing to measure your results can hinder your ability to optimize your campaigns. Use analytics tools to track key metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates.

7. The art of repurposing content

Not only does repurposing content across various formats allow you to reach a broader audience, it also enhances the longevity and impact of your high-performing content.

Maximizing ROI: By transforming a single piece of content into multiple formats, you extend its lifecycle and maximize your return on investment.

Reaching a Broader Audience: Different people prefer different content formats. Repurposing allows you to cater to varied preferences, ensuring your message reaches a wider demographic.

Reinforcing Your Message: Repetition aids recall. Presenting the same information in various formats reinforces your message in the minds of your audience.

Techniques for Repurposing Content: Identifying high-performing content is the first step. Use analytics tools to track engagement metrics and identify the posts that resonate most with your audience. These are your prime candidates for repurposing.

Once you’ve selected content to repurpose, you can transform them by:

Transforming Blog Posts into Videos: Videos have a high engagement rate. Use tools like Canva’s Magic Write(opens in a new tab or window) to create compelling video summaries for your blog posts.

Creating Social Media Graphics: Turn key points from your blog post into eye-catching social media graphics. Tools like Canva's Magic Switch(opens in a new tab or window) make this process seamless, allowing you to resize and adapt your designs for different platforms with a single click.

Turning Content into Podcasts: Podcasts are growing in popularity. Convert your blog post into a script for a podcast episode. This format is ideal for in-depth discussions and interviews.

Optimize your repurposed content for search engines to enhance discoverability. Use SEO best practices, such as integrating relevant keywords, using meta tags, and creating engaging meta descriptions.

8. Forge successful partnerships with like-minded businesses

Partnerships are a powerful tool to grow your brand and extend your reach. The key lies in identifying the right partners, those who align with your brand's ethos and goals.

Start by analyzing your industry landscape. Look for brands or creators whose values resonate with yours and whose customer demographics match those you aim to target. Consider their reputation, market position, and the quality of their products or services. Remember, their image will reflect on your brand through association.

Utilize each other's platforms

Once you've identified potential partners, think about how you can mutually benefit from each other's platforms. Social media collaborations can be particularly effective. Ideas include social media takeovers, co-branded posts, and mutual shout-outs. These strategies can significantly increase your reach, visibility, and follower count.

Another strategy is to involve your partners in industry round-ups or collaborative promotions(opens in a new tab or window). For instance, you could create a joint blog post highlighting industry trends or a shared giveaway on social media(opens in a new tab or window).

Strive for complementary partnerships rather than competitive ones. If your company sells skincare products, consider partnering with a health and wellness brand rather than another skincare company. This way, you can cross-promote each other to similar audiences without cannibalizing sales.

9. Create a purpose-driven movement

Creating a movement to support a cause you believe in and which aligns with your brand purpose can be a powerful approach to make a difference while growing your brand's reach and influence.

For example, if you’re a healthcare brand you might consider running a targeted ad on platforms like Google, Facebook, and Instagram to highlight your brand purpose and the importance of mental health awareness, featuring real stories from individuals your products and services have helped.

You might expand this further and reach out to health and lifestyle publications, blogs, and influencers to share your mission and the impact you’ve made on their lives. Taking things one step further, you could host events and webinars(opens in a new tab or window) featuring mental health experts.

By implementing a strategic plan, you can inspire action, make a difference and grow your brand's influence(opens in a new tab or window). This purpose-driven movement will not only reinforce your brand's commitment to your mission, it will also foster a community where everyone feels supported and empowered.

Creating a timeless brand involves identifying and consistently expressing your core values through unique and memorable visual elements. It's about striking a balance between staying current with design trends and maintaining a consistent identity.

To continue learning about how you can elevate your brand image, head on over to Canva’s YouTube channel(opens in a new tab or window) to dive deep into design tutorials.

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