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How to Create a Strong Brand Identity

Strategically Speaking
Dec 10, 2020

Lauren_Gleim_Headshot_50x50.jpg   By Lauren Gleim,


Pop Quiz: Think of five words that describe yourself. To help, here are mine:

  • Wife
  • Inquisitive
  • (Dog) Mom
  • Dependable
  • Hiker

What does your list reveal about your identity? The words you chose likely reflect adjectives, roles or personality traits that are important to you and how you want others to perceive you.

Now, think about your financial institution. Can you think of five words to describe it? If this was an easy task, you likely have a strong idea about your institution’s brand identity. If this was difficult, I am here to offer a few tips on how to reflect the value of your institution to your customers.

What is a brand identity?

According to the American Marketing Association, a “brand is a customer experience represented by a collection of images and ideas; often refers to a symbol such as a name, logo, slogan, and design scheme”. It is how your financial institution appears to your customers. Your brand identity encompasses your communication and visual cues. We are accustomed to all sorts of brands. So much so that when we see a brand such as Starbucks or Apple roll out a new product we have high expectations.


Why is a brand identity important?

People and companies may want to be perceived in one light but sometimes there is a mismatch between what we want people to see and what they actually see. Your brand image and identity speaks to who you are as an institution. It builds trust amongst your customers. When you see golden arches in the shape of an “M” you know McDonald’s is close to provide consistent fast food service. Or that if you are an Amazon Prime member, you’ll receive free shipping. Your reputation depends on the service you provide to your customers while your existing customers are where brand identity is most important. Loyal customers to your brand are a greater value to your business. Think of it this way, your business has a 5-20% probability of selling to a new customer. However, your business has a 60-70% probability of selling to an existing customer, a loyal customer (Help Scout, 2015).


Related: 4 Ways to Connect With Your Customers Through Email Marketing


How to create a brand identity?

If you have a strong understanding of your brand, that’s great. Even so, here’s a refresher on creating a brand identity. The SWOT analysis is a great tool to determine your strengths and weaknesses, identify threats and find opportunities for improvement. If you are trying to reinvent your institution’s brand identity, start here.

All businesses have a mission. Use that mission to create a visual brand. What does your institution value? What is your institution’s culture? These aspects can all be incorporated into your brand identity. 64% of people cite their main reason they have a relationship with a brand is due to shared values (HBR, 2012). If you value customer service, highlight that in your online and print marketing. Your brand identity should also be consistent across all outlets whether your online presence or at your branch locations. Your logo, brand colors, banner ads and print materials should all be uniform.

Be methodical about your brand decisions.  If your financial institution promotes banking services online with a banner ad, match that banner ad with printable materials. If you have a color scheme, make sure your emails reflect those colors. If you utilize social media, add social media links to your website, landing pages, email signature and emails. This will especially cater to millennials. 62% report that online content drives their loyalty to brands (NewsCred, 2015). Your decisions will reinforce your brand identity.  

This last piece of advice may seem obvious. Be sure your team is informed and understands your brand identity. If they do not understand, consequently, your customers might be confused, as well.



What does your brand identity reflect about your company? Are you sending mixed messages? Ask yourself these questions when creating your brand identity. If you need new marketing materials to help, visit the iPay Resource Center below. We free have marketing materials to help you with your brand identity journey.



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