As a business person in Kenya, you are up against millions of businesses trying to make a name for themselves. That is why you must create a strong brand that will differentiate you from your competitors.
Why should anyone buy your products or services? What makes you stand out?
Transforming your business into a premium brand is one of the most valuable assets that dictate your perception in the market.
Your brand identity is what creates that essential link with your customers. It outlines the unique personality of your business.
So, what are you doing to show customers they should choose you over a competitor?
In this guide, I’ll walk you through the steps of building a trusted business brand identity in Kenya. You’ll learn branding tips, how to hire a professional designer, how to use brand guidelines, and more.
What Is Brand Identity & Why Is It Important
Identity is the uniqueness that is used to identify your business compared to other businesses. Brand identity is how you utilize a range of specific signifiers to establish your business as unique.
These specific signifiers may include name, logo, color palette, typeface and font, website design and layout, tone of voice, and product packaging.
Brand identity is about how your business speaks to your audience. It is how it makes them feel. How they associate with it, the characteristics they attribute to it, and how they forge a relationship with it.
Branding involves discovering, developing, and integrating unique features into your business so customers can easily identify and patronize your products or services.
It gives your business a personality, values, and goals that’d make it intriguing, likable, and engaging, allowing people to connect with it easily.
Having a unique brand makes it a lot easier for customers to fall in love with your business, and when that happens, your business can easily:
- Attract even more customers.
- Connect emotionally with customers.
- Boost sales.
- Stand out from the competition.
- Encourage customer loyalty.
- Support customer word-of-mouth referrals.
Developing a trusted brand identity is about using storytelling techniques and visual consistency to build a narrative around your brand and draw a connection with customers.
Brand identity is important in every stage of the customer journey, be it winning a new customer, nurturing the current customers, or keeping them.
The most intriguing reasons to build a trusted brand identity in Kenya are:
- It differentiates your business
- It helps you connect with your customers
- It enables you to provide meaningful user experiences
- It helps in creating credibility and trust
Brand Identity Examples
Let’s look at a few Kenyan brands I’m sure you’re familiar with.
- Safaricom – The primary colors of this brand are green and red. The logo is a stylized ‘S’ with a revolving circle, representing their core value of delivering mobile telecommunications in a simple, honest & transparent manner.
- Equity Bank – The primary colors of the equity bank brand are maroon and black. Its logo is a simple house illustration with the word Equity below it. It incorporates the balance between the house graphic element and the (wordmark) logotype, which spells the word Equity. The use of the grids had been adopted in making the logo quite firm with its strokes and the boldness in its statement. Customers are now able to identify with equity banks better.
- Naivas – Naivas Supermarket has a distinct logo which is a wordmark with the word Naivas. Its brand colors are orange, white, and green. They emphasize their low prices on commodities that save money for their customers.
- Coca-Cola – Coca-Cola’s brand identity begins with a red logo in script text. The red color elicits confidence in the person who drinks a Coke, while the script typeface is all about enjoyment. Right from its inception, Coca-Cola has had its brand identity strategies in place where it associates red and white colors and the feeling of happiness with its brand. The company also uses a unique shape for its bottles, making them unique from the competition. The brand message has also been the same – the high-quality soft drink that relates to good experiences.
These businesses invest significant money in their brand identities, helping them become the most recognizable and best-performing brands in Kenya.
How do you create a brand identity in Kenya when your budget isn’t as big as Safaricom’s? Let me walk you through it.
How to Create Your Brand Identity in Kenya
Creating a strong brand identity in Kenya requires you to devote yourself fully to the process of understanding your company and sharing the perceptions of your brand with the world.
You will need to conduct plenty of research to understand your business’s value, mission, and vision. You will also need to thoroughly understand your audience, competition, and business personality.
To help you easily create a trusted brand identity in Kenya, we have broken down the process into 12 steps to get you from start to finish.
Whether you’re building a fresh identity from scratch or rebranding your existing one, follow these steps to design a strong brand identity that sets you up for success.
Table of Contents
Step 1: Discover The Purpose Behind Your Brand.
Why does your brand exist?
What is the reason that your brand exists beyond making money?
Your brand purpose is the meaning behind your existence or a keen view of what you want to become to your audience. A powerful brand’s purpose relates to the product or service itself.
Purpose has to be born from a place of passion. If it’s considered nothing more than an afterthought, your customers will recognize the lack of effort.
There are four questions you should ask yourself when defining a brand purpose:
- Why do you exist?
- What differentiates you?
- What problem do you solve?
- Why should people care?
Answering these questions will help you discover the purpose behind your brand and be able to communicate it to your customers clearly. People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.
Step 2: Study Your Market
Once you establish the purpose of your business, you will need to research the competitive market.
Who are in your market?
Who are the biggest players?
What do they bring to the table?
What opportunities can you take advantage of?
What threats exist that can affect your business?
What can you offer that your competitors are not offering at all or not offering well?
The biggest thing to establish when conducting market research is the right market for you. Uncover your exact target market and establish how your brand will fit into that market.
The foundation for building your brand is to determine the target audience that you’ll be focusing on because you cannot do everything for everyone.
When brand building, remember who you are trying to reach. You’ll tailor your mission and message to meet their exact needs.
The key is to get specific. Figure out detailed behaviors and lifestyles of your consumers.
I’ll explain with a few brief examples.
- Instead of “all Moms,” you could narrow down the niche to hone in on “single Moms who work full-time from home.”
- “Techy people” is too broad. But “tech-savvy early adopters who manage a large team” can narrow the focus.
- “Anyone who needs a job” is certainly not a niche target market. However, “retirees looking to return to the workforce in an executive position” can be!
As you can see, targeting a niche requires committing to something very focused to start.
You will realize that the competitive advantage when branding your business is to narrow your target audience focus.
This can help ensure that your brand message comes across crystal clear to the intended recipient. Solidify a picture of your consumers, then learn how to create a brand identity that they can understand and relate to
Analyze Your Competition by researching your main competitors to gain insight into their products, sales, and marketing tactics. This will help you develop stronger business strategies, be on top of the competition and capture a market share.
Competitive analysis can help you learn how your competition works and identify potential opportunities where you can out-perform them.
When analyzing your competition, you should never imitate exactly what the big brands are doing in your industry, but you should be aware of what they do well (or where they fail).
The goal is to differentiate from the competition. Convince a customer to purchase from you over them.
When doing your market research, don’t forget to research your existing customers within the market and potential customers.
Find out who they are, what they want from brands in that market and are not getting, how they feel about the existing brands in the market and the pricing features and benefits they want.
What you need to get out of this research is to know your target audience and what they want from you.
Step 3: Write Your Brand’s Mission & Vision Statement
Before you can fully start your brand-building journey, a crucial part is for you to be fully aware of your business goals and values. This will help you understand the ultimate goal of your business and what measures must be taken to achieve it.
The goals and values of your business will also be the foundations of your brand identity while helping measure whether or not the business is reaching its goals.
Here are some statements you can generate to realize the goals and values of your business:
- Vision statement. A vision statement is essentially a broad description of what the business is trying to become – visualize the end goal of your venture. It describes your company’s “why” and reveals a common goal and direction, especially for your employees. You can craft a compelling vision statement by infusing it with passion, making it inspiring, and aligning it with your business’s values and goals.
- Mission statement. Define your products’ impact on your customers and why this is important. This can also include actionable steps to follow day-to-day to realize the business vision. Your mission statements describe the “who” and “what” of your business. Mission statements are based on the present and convey to stakeholders and community members why a business exists and where it currently stands.
- Values statement. Define the principles and code of ethics your business lives by. It’s what the business and employees should follow in day-to-day operations. They define what a company believes in and how people are expected to behave with each other, customers, vendors, and other stakeholders. A values statement is, in essence, the moral direction of the organization that guides how it works, makes decisions, and takes action.
To write these statements, start by defining what your business does for your customers and identify your long-term goals. Then, develop steps to achieve said goals and break them down into actionable objectives.
The first step in developing your mission and vision statements is to define the issues that matter most to your customers.
Identify your organization’s unique selling proposition or the “winning idea.” This is the idea that makes it stand out from the competition.
The next step is to clarify your goal. You can do this by listing the most important success measures for your winning idea. Combine your winning idea and success measures into a general but measurable goal.
Refine the words until you have a concise statement that expresses your ideas, measures, and desired result. Ensure that your statements are in the present tense, short, simple, clear, and free from jargon.
Step 4: Choose the Right Business Name
What is the right business name? The name you give your company does a lot of heavy lifting.
It reveals your brand story, tells customers about your product, and has to be memorable for potential customers.
A business name is your introduction to customers. It’s what customers will refer to every time they have any interaction with your company.
Company names leave lasting impressions. Catchy brand names can make the difference between a business hooking its audience or disappearing into a crowd.
How do you choose the right business name for your brand?
When coming up with a business name, think of its value and how it is better than your competition. The name you give your business may increase your value and set the standard of what customers can expect.
Your business name should exhibit the following characteristics:
- Memorable or catchy
- Simple and easy to spell
- Fits your audience demographic
- Should help in SEO efforts
- Should not be too similar with a competitor’s name
- Should be consistent with your brand
Step 5: Come Up With a Tagline
A tagline is a short phrase that communicates a brand’s mission, purpose, or culture in a clear, entertaining manner.
Their main goal is to engage customers and make them feel more connected to the brand. It is meant to trigger a picture of your brand’s logo or product the second you hear it. It is meant to evoke an emotion concerning your business.
A tagline helps to boost your business by directly impacting your business’ revenue and growth. A catchy tagline will differentiate your business from the rest of the brands in the market. Make it recognizable and unique.
If you can get your audience to memorize your tagline, you’ll be top of mind regarding your target’s pain points.
A tagline boosts brand trust and awareness. The more familiar a customer is with your brand, the more likely they will do business with you. Just by knowing your tagline, a consumer will have an easier time trusting you than your competitors. This is because they feel that they already know you. A tagline broadcasts your business value, therefore, make it clever and creative.
To create a business tagline, you should know your business goals and purpose so you can reflect this on your tagline. Brainstorm your business and summarize it in a few words. Figure out what your business is about and trim those words to curve out your tagline.
Here are some examples of business taglines:
- Safaricom: “Twaweza”
- Nike: “Just do it.”
- MasterCard: “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard.”
- Samsung: “Do what you can’t.”
- Airbnb: “Belong anywhere.”
- Equity: “Your listening, caring financial partner.”
- Cooperative Bank: “We are you.”
- Family bank: “With you for life.”
- OLA energy: “We keep you going.”
Step 6: Create a Convincing Brand Story
Storytelling is the best way to capture people’s attention, put information into their memories, and develop close, personal relationships.
Any audience will crave and give a chance to great stories. A brand story narrates the series of events that inspired the inception of your business and expresses how those events still drive your operation today.
If you craft a compelling brand story, your target audience will remember you, develop empathy and care about you.
Having a brand story lets you answer important questions that define who you are as a business, allowing you to connect with your audience on a deeper level and create trust.
Research has shown that people respond to stories on a biological level.
Our brains react to the descriptive power of words, and we begin to identify with the brand and build a relationship with them, engaging with them as we would a person.
Brand stories also help your brand stand out from the massive advertising overload consumers face from marketers.
The key questions you should answer in your brand story are:
- Why did you start your business?
- What motivates you?
- Who is it for?
It should be short, compelling, conversational, and written in a way that sounds human. It should not be a long blog post filled with jargon and buzzwords.
To write your brand story, highlight your story’s conflict. It should have some emotional journey or drama people can relate to, hold their attention, resonate with, and inspire them.
However, many brands are afraid to reveal any conflict they’ve faced, thinking they will expose their imperfections and prevent customers from buying their products.
They want to project a rosy, struggle-free story to convince people that they are the industry’s best. But in reality, everything, including businesses, has flaws, and people don’t relate to perfection. Let your story show how you experienced obstacles, struggled through them, and ultimately overcame them.
When writing your brand story, tell its status quo and resolution.
The status quo is how things are now or the initial nature of your situation. The conflict disrupts this situation and puts something at stake, forcing your brand to find a solution to this problem actively. The resolution describes how your brand solves the problem, giving your audience an emotional payoff.
Step 7: Choose Your Brand Colors and Fonts Wisely
Your brand image is what the customers perceive, and if they have a good impression of your brand, it will lead to better brand loyalty.
Many popular brands are known for their colors and fonts, like Coca-Cola and LinkedIn.
Creating your brand identity requires you carefully select your brand colors and fonts. They should be consistent in every visual medium, such as fliers, websites, print, and digital media, emails, and videos. A deliberate and careful planning process leads to selecting and designing brand colors and fonts.
So how do you pick the right colors and fonts for your brand? Let’s have a look.
Brand colors have the power to portray emotion. Choosing the right color palette will make your brand stand out and invoke strong responses in your audience. Choose a set number of colors and shades to identify your brand to your customers. Remember that these are the colors you will use when creating your website so choose wisely.
The first thing is to come up with a color palette. The colors you choose to represent your business should not only be memorable and recognizable, but they should appeal to your ideal clients and customers. Then consider how your chosen colors match your brand keywords, mission statement, and tone.
The right color should have an emotional response. Give some thought to the feelings you want your brand to get from the public. Here are some emotions associated with each color:
- Pink: Feminine, youth, romance, sweet
- Red: Passion, aggression, violence, adventure
- Orange: Excitement, inexpensive, youth, autumn (not a favorite among women)
- Yellow: Happy, friendly, cautious
- Green: Natural, prosperity, money, stability
- Blue: Tranquil, trustworthy, professional, authoritative (generally a favorite of men as well as women)
- Purple: Royal, luxurious, romantic, creative
- Brown: Dependable, natural, simple, sturdy
- Black: Authoritative, strong, refined, mysterious
Follow the trends. The popularity of colors varies yearly, so choose colors that appear current to your target audience. Also, consider your industry standards and note the colors that are most common to your industry.
Fonts give underlying meaning and purpose to your message. To get the right fonts for your brand, decide what to use and where. For example, you can choose the font for your logo, headlines, sub-headlines, and body copy. These fonts should support each other. Limiting yourself to three fonts will make it easy for you to incorporate them into your marketing materials and other branding tools.
To choose the right fonts for your business, consider the following categories:
- Decorative fonts
These are highly stylized fonts that are creative and unique. These fonts you can incorporate in your brand guide include Berliner, Fredoka One, Lobster Two, and Rosella. They are best used if you want to showcase your brand’s originality and fun personality.
The handwritten fonts are more informal and can be used for emphasis. Though they are not actually handwritten, they mimic the handwritten style. They can make the brand look more distinctive. They include Caveat, Goudy text, Permanent marker, and Lombardic.
The script font is used to highlight the elegance of your brand. They look distinctive and beautiful, as seen in brands like Coca-Cola and Johnson & Johnson. They include Allura, Belinda, Pacifico, and Thirsty Script.
- Sans Serif
The Sans Serif fonts give your brand a modern and sleek look. They portray simplicity and minimalism. The letters in sans serif fonts are distinctive and well-spaced, making them easy to read. This is the font used by brands like Google and Facebook. They include Helvetica, Open Sans, Optima, and Roboto.
Step 8: Write Your Branding Brief
Once you’ve completed the previous steps, your design is almost ready. It’s time to start creating.
A brand brief is a backbone of how a brand’s story is expressed throughout the business. It is a comprehensive overview of what a brand is and isn’t.
A creative brief will ensure the designer understands your preferences when producing a logo or identity for your brand goals.
A branding brief outlines your brand’s objectives, goals, values, and vision, allowing anyone involved with creating brand assets to communicate the business’s direction, purpose, and positioning as clearly as possible.
A branding brief should include:
- Vision and mission statements – A mission is your brand’s who, what, and why, while the vision is the impact your brand hopes to make in the world with its offerings.
- Brand promise – the solutions and expectations your brand aims to communicate to customers and prospects.
- Brand values – Your brand values help frame your brand story in a way that humanizes your brand and inspires loyalty.
- Target audience– specify the main persona on which your brand should focus marketing efforts.
- Unique selling point– Also known as USP, the unique selling point is what makes your products or service better than competitors.
- Key competitors – Those that sell the same products or services as you.
- Brand voice – the personality your brand takes on in all of its communications.
- Brand culture – the story of your company and how your team members engage with and live it out in their daily work life.
A comprehensive brand brief creates control over a brand story so that others tell your story for you in the direction they want. It eliminates confusion over what a brand should depict and become and what is communicated across and within brand assets.
Step 9: Work With a Professional Designer
Working with a professional graphic designer is a good idea if you’re not confident in your design skills.
A professional can help you create a visual branding strategy that accurately represents your brand and appeals to your target audience.
They can also help you design marketing materials on-brand and look polished and professional.
Once you identify your brand design basics, finding a designer should be your next step. While you want to go at it alone or with your partners or team, a designer will make your brand design official and look more professional.
Besides, you don’t want to waste time focusing on design when other vital matters in your business also need tending. That’s why a designer would be glad to take the design work for you.
You want to select a designer that will match the aesthetic you’re going for. In addition, just because a designer or company is affordable doesn’t mean they will provide you with an excellent brand design.
To hire the best graphic designer, look at their portfolio. Their previous work will give you an idea of their skills. It will give you an idea of their design style and their creativity.
Ensure that they have a diverse experience like working for various clients or across multiple disciplines. Check their client testimonials online and Google reviews.
It’s good that most design companies or freelance designers would have a portfolio ready before you hire them. Upon seeing their work, you can narrow down your choices and prepare a design brief that you would submit to a designer.
Step 10: Design Your Business Logo
A logo is a symbol or design used to identify a company or organization, as well as its products, services, employees, etc. It is an identity of how your company is recognized and remembered.
It is the face of your business. But remember that your logo is not your brand, visual identity, or an indicator of success. However, it plays an important role in all these.
To create your business logo, you need first to understand your goal. Have a solid understanding of who your business is, what you believe in, what you want to accomplish, and how you want to get there. Remember that your logo will help you shape your brand identity.
Look for inspiration by observing everything around you, not just other logos. Study your competitors to understand how they build their brands, where you are in your brand-building process, and how to exceed your customer expectations.
Choose the right colors for your logo. Your brand colors communicate the essence of your brand. Choose colors that will project the right image, e.g., is it bold and bright or traditional and refined? Make your logo iconic by capturing the right image that captures the essence of your brand.
A great logo should stand the test of time, resonate with your audience, utilize simplicity and be versatile. You can create a logo with a white background, black background, colored background, pattern background, gradient background, or transparent background.
Step 11: Document Your Brand Identity
A brand identity is what your brand says, what your values are, how you communicate your product, and how you want people to feel when they interact with your business. It helps you to differentiate your business from those of competitors. Once you have created all aspects of your brand identity, you must document it.
Your brand identity document outlines your design assets, when and how to use them, and the design do’s and don’ts for your brand. Documenting your brand identity helps you in the following ways:
- Brand consistency
For your brand to be effective, it needs to be consistent. Clients recognize your brand better if it is consistent. Your brand identity should be documented to ensure that it is consistent and recognizable. It ensures that brand elements are used effectively and look professional every time they are used.
- Sets standards and rules
Your brand identity includes guidelines that stipulate the specific rules and standards on using the various elements. For example, it will give the various logo variations and how to use those logos. It will also help anyone creating a message from the brand know and understand which elements to use and how to use them. It helps know what’s wrong and right when using brand elements.
- Provides tools and avoids confusion
Brand identity provides the tools that help keep your branding consistent. If you want to scale your business to more than one employee, your brand will have more people involved. This means that you have to provide streamlined branding guidelines to help keep your brand consistent and cohesive.
Having a brand identity document in place will help eliminate confusion when you get a new employee.
Step 12: Build Your Brand Presence
The final piece of the branding puzzle is promoting your brand. You can’t expect to set up all the above points, sit back, and watch your brand grow. You must do your best to get your brand in front of your target audience. This takes time and continuous effort and will help you increase the value of your business.
Use the following strategies to build your brand presence.
- Run promotions and ads, such as PPC campaigns, billboards, radio adverts, and gathering email addresses.
- Create social media accounts and post relevant content; start conversations and get involved in relevant communities.
- Set up a website to link to from your ads and social media.
- Work on boosting your brand in Google through SEO (search engine optimization), so users will find your website when searching the web.
- Use Branded Product Packaging If you sell physical products, having a magnificent unboxing experience is critical to getting social media mentions, user-generated content, and making a good impression.
- Business Cards are a fast way to spread the word about your business. Ensure they’re branded with your logo, fonts, and brand colors, along with your information.
- Email Signature Adding your logo and brand fonts to your email signature adds trust and professionalism that can garner more replies and collaborations from others. A simple branded email signature can help you can gain more authenticity!
- Clothing & Stationery For localized or online businesses spread the word by getting branded swag to give to customers and friends. Add your logo to everyday items like linen totes, t-shirts, or notebooks. If people use them, it becomes free marketing for you!
- Guest Blogging Write and deliver ultra-valuable, gorgeous-looking content and share it on other blogs. Guest posting is a very powerful way to get your name known in your industry. However, you must publish high-quality content to cut above the competition. Ensure that your content is memorable and valuable to get introduced to new markets and audiences.
- Referral Programs Users will gladly spread the word about your product or service when they know they’ll get some added compensation.
- Local Partnerships If your business is local-oriented, forming local partnerships is a great way of creating brand awareness. Partner with other local businesses to hold join intro seminars or festivals. Sponsor local sports teams and donate to charity events. Plastering your brand all over a sports festival will help your brand to be seen.
- Freebies Everyone loves free things. You can offer a free sample of your product or service at any time. This way, people will recognize your brand and know it at a glance.
- Social Media Contest Run a social media contest where contestants submit a photo or video, with other users voting for their favorites. Contestants will share the link with friends and family to get more votes, building their brand awareness.
Finals Thoughts on Building a Trusted Brand Identity in Kenya
Without a clear branding plan and guidelines, you’ll never gain the recognition you need for your business to succeed. Try to create trust, boost your credibility, and make your brand the one people remember and turn to. You have everything you need to get started, and Creative Kigen is here to help if there’s anything you want to know about starting your brand.