Why are you different from your competitors? What’s your motivation for starting your business? And why should your customers care? Your history is essential to lay the groundwork for connecting with your audience.
The brand is often mistaken to be synonymous with the company logo. But while you admittedly could not associate the logo with the company, focusing on the design to the exclusion of everything else is like skipping leg day. The result is a flawed campaign that will likely blow up in your face.
Even brand experts could not have imagined how much social media changed the marketing landscape. With the market constantly in flux, it’s never easier to start a business today. But the casualty rate is also brutal.
You see, companies that could not survive the honeymoon period as their customers move on to the next hype.
If you are a new business, the numbers are already against you. But the odds of survival further plummet if you do not have a unique and memorable brand.
What Does Brand Identity Mean?
Brand genesis can be traced to ranchers “marking” their cattle with a hot iron to establish ownership. So, looking at the brand, people already know which ranch the cattle belong to.
Thankfully, branding in marketing is not as painful as that.
Your brand is how you want people to perceive you. But brand identity is much more encompassing. You need to do the dirty work to develop your voice or personality to amplify your message so that you would be immediately recognizable to your customers.
The brand identity is the bond that cements the connection between you and your target customers and ultimately dictates how people perceive your brand.
So, the logo is only a tiny part of it. Your identity also involves theme lines, overall design, the company font, and other visual elements.
Finally, the brand identity also involves your story.
Elements of a Noteworthy Brand
Your brand should have the following elements:
Customers who interact with your brand must automatically know that you will consistently deliver on your promise. Meeting customer expectations every time takes a different level of commitment from your brand.
Some people are quirky, while others are more serious and temperamental, which can be a product of their environment or upbringing. However, cultivating character in brand identity is much more calibrated. Your personality will shape how people perceive your company and feel about your product. Your brand should elicit a knee-jerk response when people hear about your name. Whether that is a negative or positive response is up to you.
Your brand should have peripherals that differentiate you from others. These identifiers include the logo, company colors, tagline, and other visual representations. Your designs must be consistent with your brand promise and personality.
The world’s most valuable brands possess these elements and develop a culture that their employees embody.
Consistency is key to delivering a meaningful customer experience. And despite a few hiccups, which are impossible to avoid in a large corporation, these brands have managed to meet expectations for the most part.
Doable Steps to Creating Your Brand Identity
Your mission and vision are your guideposts to avoid straying from your goals. The statement should answer your unique value proposition that differentiates you from your competitors. Apart from the products and services you offer, the statement defines where you should be five, ten, or twenty years later. The mission and vision will help build the company culture, which your employees eventually embody.
As already mentioned, the corporate character is manufactured to fit your goals. For instance, when you think of Nike, what personality traits do you immediately think of? It could be sporty or stylish. Apple is known to be sophisticated, even exclusive. Harley Davidson is associated with danger or aggressiveness, while Disney is synonymous with family or fun.
Since you can calibrate the personality, you can take on the trait that you think resonates with your audience the most. If you are a real estate company targeting Gen X, you need to develop a sophisticated and sincere personality to earn their trust. Of course, you need to conduct market research to narrow down your customers and identify the successful strategies employed by your competitors.
The next step is to design your logo and fonts and choose your corporate colors, business cards, physical storefront, and digital page. All the symbolism attached to your brand must be consistent with resonating with your target audience on a deeper level. The design concept is crucial in relaying your message to your potential customers. The visuals extend to your employee uniforms, so ensure that you put a lot of thought into it because they are ultimately your brand ambassadors
The communication strategy ensures that you properly relay your message to your target audience. The campaign must be anchored on your mission and vision statement, including the business insights into your customers. You must know who you are talking to find the right words to create the most significant emotional impact. Also, you must identify the platforms to distribute your message for optimum reach. Finally, you must regularly monitor, review, and recalibrate your communication plan.
These will tell you if you are heading in the right direction. For instance, is the positive response to your brand translating to actual sales? Is your brand personality resonating with your audience? Does your logo clearly relay the message you want to get across? How many mentions does your brand get whenever you run a campaign? Along with your KPIs, you also must conduct a SWOT analysis to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
You might have heard about consistency a lot in this article. However, another element of a successful brand is flexibility. For instance, before Amazon’s iconic logo today, the company had five other logo designs between 1995 and 2000 as it progressed with the times. In the end, you must be willing to evolve if you are stuck in a rut, and your current strategies are no longer working. You must determine your market position by benchmarking your brand strategies with your competitors. You must know how your customers perceive and receive your products and services. More importantly, you must break down how your competitors are reaching your audience and how you can leverage this knowledge to grow your brand.
Remember that you do not build your brand overnight, so patience is the key. You must remain consistent with your personality and identity. However, you must also be prepared to shift your trajectory if the numbers say your strategies are not connecting with your audience
Building Your Website
Your website is such a crucial component of brand identity that it needs its own section.
As you may know, the Internet is a great equalizer. With technology, at no time in the history of advertisements where the small guy can compete with the big guy. Not exactly in resources, mind you, but in an exposure.
So, a mom-and-pop store can hire developers to design a website that would serve as their digital storefront.
Unfortunately, about 3 in 10 businesses still do not have a website for one reason or the other.
But the same survey also revealed that 32% built their respective sites. So, while it’s not the ideal route, especially if you are serious about maximizing your website to improve your bottom line, it only proves how easy it is for anyone to have an online presence.
Although the Internet leveled the playing field somewhat, branding is one of the primary indicators of success.
However, you cannot reach your audience to relay your message without your website. So, the last thing you need to do is to DIY the process.
Instead, you should hire a professional web designer to optimize your digital address to ensure that you appear on Google. As you know, the search engines connect you with your target audience.
In the end, even if you have the brightest neon sign, it’s still useless if nobody can read it.
Who Are You?
If you cannot answer that question, it would be very challenging for you to develop a brand identity.
Businesses often jump on the bandwagon to profit off the hype when a fad hits the market. But sustainability is an issue if you are hopping all over the place to make a quick buck. You may have an idea of what to create and who your target audience is.
But you cannot hope to gain customer loyalty without a brand identity.
So, what happens if you have an identity crisis?
Thankfully, you are not trailblazing a path. However, successful brands have left breadcrumbs for you to follow to boost your chances of attaining your goals.
As you follow these steps, you can develop a unique and unforgettable identity to grow your brand.