Brand Identity: More Than Skin-Deep

May 31st, 2021

Brand Identity Design

It’s tempting to think that (successful) brands are only skin-deep. After all, aren’t colours and logos important? Visual branding is essential, but the ultimate goal is to establish a strong brand identity, combining both Branding Elements (logos, colours, shapes, imagery) and a Brand Persona (values, ethos, personality and traits).

While most brands have a handle on basic branding, few brands can claim they have an ‘identity without a Brand Persona. A Brand Persona is what ‘humanizes’ a brand, making it primed to interact with us on a deeper, intellectual and emotional level. Just like it sounds, a Brand Persona is not dissimilar to a person, having a unique ideology, character traits, values, ethos and culture. These aspects make it possible to develop a more profound emotional experience and build a relationship – potentially lasting a lifetime.

As humans, our lives and our relationships are incredibly diverse and complex. At a basic level, though, Maslov described that all humans have the exact fundamental physical and emotional needs to fill. These needs are “physiological,” “safety,” “belonging,” “esteem,” and “self-actualization.” They directly influence our behaviours, manifesting as desires, impulses and decisions. We never make a decision that is not linked in some way back to one of these core needs. We might not always be aware of this, but brands knowingly work hard to leverage this fact and use our emotions – as a gateway to selling us things. Targeting certain desired emotions has long been the specialty of good branding. It was initially used to reduce our anxiety about making buying decisions (thus leading to more significant profit for those companies who branded their products). Branding today still offers to show us what feelings or experiences we can expect: to feel happy, imaginative, loved, sexy, in control, witty, healthy, secure, prepared, strong, etc.

Brand Personas emerged to take things a step further by looking to our rational brain and psychology. They are designed to reach our deepest intellectual thoughts, principles, judgements and beliefs. To illustrate this, consider for a moment that on an interpersonal level, we will rarely develop a connection with people that we find nothing in common with; yet as soon as we discover common ground on something, we feel closer to them and take a greater interest in them.

This concept underpins the development of a Brand “Tribe”; defined as a group of people who align themselves with a Brand Identity as a true reflection
of themselves. Psychologically speaking, Brand Identities are fully developed in mind, just like people. These brands exhibit a detailed ideology and philosophy – they share a world perspective, outlining their values, speaking in a unique voice and showing off their personality. This level of complexity naturally mirrors the complexities we hold within ourselves, both attracting us and deepening our connection.

This is both how and why strong Brand Identities shape our lives, our experiences and eventually come to receive mass-market traction across the world. Far from being a negative situation, the inherent potential for brand identities to positively influence people’s lives and bring commonalities (bridging divides) gives designers around the world their hope and challenge for the future.


Branding Experts

Are you ready to strengthen your brand and build your business? At Treefrog, we can help you develop your brand strategy. Whether it’s logo design, logo maturation, corporate identity or graphic design services, we’re your business branding experts.

Give us a call at 905-836-4442; our team of branding experts are ready to help!