Creating a Successful Brand Identity - Part One

You’ve done the hard stuff - created a product or service that you believe in, developed your business plan and positioning statement, established your target audience, and you’ve done all your market research. Maybe you already launched and created logo to get you going. Then it's proven that your product is in demand and all you need is the extra touches to make it retail-ready to stand out on the shelves but what if your rock star product can’t grab the attention of anyone?

Next to creating an amazing product or service, your brand identity is one of the most important parts of your business that you’ll invest in. We’ve all had the experience of being willing to move past a product’s so-so quality for their amazing level of coolness created by its striking packaging, but it takes a special product to make it to your cart despite its bad branding (Special shout out to one of our favourite products, Dr. Bronners).

So we decided to provide some help! We want to help save you or your client from falling for the latest design trends. What’s going to make you stand out from the endless amount of cute gold foil calligraphy brands out there? How are you going to create an authentic brand for yourself that will differentiate you from your competitors and make your potential clients easily recognize you? How are you going to ensure that the money and time you invest in creating a visual identity for your brand will look as good and remain authentic to your business from day one to year five?

Part one of our mini intro series on creating a successful brand identity starts with a questionnaire and homework. This is a basic foundation that we would recommend before entering in to choosing your company name, colours, logo, fonts, and anything that falls under the aesthetics category of your business. It's an exercise that we did when we were first beginning Piquant Marketing and so far it's given us success in our first year since launch. No matter if you’re a designer starting fresh with a brand new client, or a business owner looking for guidance and making sure you’re asking the right questions of your design professional (like us!), we hope this will be a useful tool to set you up for success!

What you’ll need: 

  • Notebook/Google Docs/Notes Application

  • Uninterrupted competitor creeping time

  • Snacks.


Step 1 - Establish your vision

  • Who are you?

  • What are your values as a business?

  • What do you want to be known for?

  • What words do you want your future customers to associate you with?

  • Who’s your target audience?


Step 2 - Research

Capture all your main competition or similar brands (could be foreign and non-threat). Be prepared to take screen shots and document your findings to easily refer back to them as you continue on in this process.

  • Who are your potential competitors?

  • What are their core services?

  • Who's their target audience?

  • What’s their look? What does their logo look like? Their colours? Their website? Their photography?

  • What works about their brand? What doesn’t?


Step 3 - Compare & Contrast

  • What differentiates your product or service from competitors?


Step 4 - Mini Advisory Panel

Assemble a close group of friends and family who are similar to your target audience and who are trusted opinions. Find out from that what they like and do not like about your competitors brands. Explain your business plan, your differentiators, your values. What words would they use to describe you and your product or service?

Consider this your homework until we move on to part 2! It's important to keep in mind that this is an exercise that can be done even if you have an established brand and are ready to refine. Send us an e-mail at to tell us how your brand development is going or what you're hoping to learn. We’re always happy to meet for a coffee to hear about your brand and needs to help take it to the next level!