Brand Identity Development Process

Demystifying the Brand Identity Development Process

Published on: May 2, 2019

Companies tend to think that the brand identity development process is over when the logo is created and the details in the style guide are finalized. But your brand is so much more than that.

Your brand conveys the mission of your company. It brings your values to life in the minds of your target audiences. And it helps you curate a very specific experience for people across all touchpoints.

An effective brand also conveys something even more valuable: relevance.

That’s why the most successful companies take advantage of ongoing opportunities to re-examine their value proposition and reunite their branding efforts across various mediums, including digital engagement, traditional advertising—and the built environment.  

3 Steps to the Brand Identity Development Process

Whether your company is a SaaS startup embarking on year ten of exponential growth or a  California-wide healthcare provider needing a brand refresh, the steps to ongoing brand development are the same:

Step 1: Analyze Your Existing Brand

First, create an accurate picture of your branding efforts across all mediums in order to identify your company’s current value proposition. While completing this thorough brand audit, consider your:

Step 2: Identify Key Areas For Improvement

After a comprehensive brand audit, you should be able to identify which areas of influence aren’t in sync with your current brand identity.

Depending on the level of discrepancy, this is the point at which many companies or organizations decide to go through a rebranding process. However, in most cases, a full rebranding isn’t necessary. By strategically selecting key areas to pivot, you can save time and money, and maintain the equity your brand has already built.

For example, a California municipality recently hired a consulting firm for a rebranding effort to help the community find a new voice in the Bay Area. The institutional feel of the brand had become irrelevant, and stakeholders wanted to instill a feeling of cultural and experiential aspiration in residents and visitors. An impressive multifaceted rebranding campaign began, but was eventually discontinued due to cost.

The municipality still needed a way to translate their new values into real-world designs that the public could engage with, however, so they implemented a comprehensive wayfinding program. This project included extensive focus group meeting design and facilitation, prototyping/ testing, and scaling of the program to pre-arrival mobile and web communications. The outcome was a comprehensive exterior and interior sign standards program with an emphasis on branding, wayfinding and language access.

Step 3: Implement and Evaluate Performance

Whether you’ve decided to revise your brand positioning through an environmental branding update, a thought leadership marketing campaign, or a redesigned website, now is the time to implement those select changes and see how they perform.

Measure your brand equity today, and again in six months, to determine whether these changes produced valuable returns. You might be surprised—in many cases, the smallest branding changes could have the highest ROI.

The Power of Branding Through Environmental Graphic Design

Process of Developing a Brand Identity

GNU group incorporated the Napa County Library’s new brand into their identification, information and regulatory signs.

Updating your environmental graphics is one of the key branding changes that hold the potential to produce a significant return. While signage is one component of your overall brand identity, it’s the critical touchpoint that helps stakeholders feel secure and comfortable in your environment. Regardless of which other rebranding efforts you pursue, a shift toward high-quality environmental graphics could make a big difference in the way your brand as a whole is perceived.

The true power of environmental graphic design becomes obvious when your signage doesn’t match your other branding efforts. Your audience will often first experience your brand online or in print, and they expect the visuals to be consistent across all elements of your environment. Without this cohesiveness, the strength of your brand is quietly undermined by a sense of disconnect. Through branded architectural signage and graphics, wayfinding programs, and sign standards, you control the entire experience for visitors to your property—while placing your refreshed brand identity front and center.     

Don’t let environmental signage be an afterthought. You’ll miss the opportunity to ensure your branding efforts reflect and support your company’s overall brand consistency.  With support from an expert signage design firm, your brand can stay relevant to all your touchpoints.


GNU Group specializes in creating comprehensive environmental branding programs for clients across a wide variety of industries and sectors. Our environmental branding programs contribute to our clients’ rebranding efforts in the corporate, healthcare, retail, and civic spaces. Connect with our team to launch an environmental communications campaign that supports developing a brand identity for your company.