How to Define Your Brand Identity
Brand identity – what is it and how do you create it?
Let’s start with the basics, your brand identity influences your customers’ experience at each and every touchpoint. It subconsciously affects how they perceive everything from your relevance to your trustworthiness.
Logo, marketing materials, website, brand identity encompasses many things. Although consistency is key, it’s important to remember that as your business grows your brand will evolve with it – and that’s a good thing.
Not to get super philosophical but your brand identity is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be. Essentially, it conveys to the public what they can expect from your products and services. The objective is to differentiate your offerings from your competitors. Your branding should reflect the values and aspirations of the business as a whole.
It’s all about the who
So, to quote the 1970’s classic, “Who are you?”
Is your brand cerebral like IBM? Sassy and conversational like Old Spice? First, you have to take into consideration that you can’t be all things to all people. Who you are should be based on who your target customers want and need you to be.
To get started, here’s some questions to consider:
- What products or services are being offered? Decide who exactly you are and what you are providing or selling.
- What qualities are these offering? Define what differentiates your products.
- What’s your company’s mission? Think about ethics and values.
- What’s your niche? Define your specialty.
- Who is your target audience? Determine who will be buying your products and services.
- What’s your company’s personality? Innovative, traditional, sophisticated, hands on, the possibilities are endless.
Building your brand identity is no easy task. Just remember, to successfully establish this, your identity should be memorable, distinct, flexible, scalable and cohesive.
The building blocks
Let’s get down to the core of your brand starting with:
Research: Let’s just put it out there, this is a very labor intensive part of the process. However, this is really going to be the foundation for building your brand. Understand your organization’s strengths and weaknesses and exactly who your audience is and what they need.
Audience: You can’t sell your products or services without understanding what your brand’s customers want. By creating audience personas, you will gain more insight into their needs, wants and values which will be translated through your brand.
Competition: If you don’t understand the competitive landscape, it’s easy to blend in, something that you definitely don’t want to do. This research is crucial to understand not just who the competition is but how the brand compares, in perception and presentation. Explore how your competitors are presenting themselves.
Visual Ideation: Taking the research that you’ve compiled, it’s time to translate it into visual concepts. Now the challenge is to figure out how to communicate and enhance those sentiments through visuals.
Remember, a strong brand, can give your business the competitive edge to thrive and stand the test of time by:
- Developing strategic partnerships
- Increasing customer loyalty
- Allowing you to attract the resources you need such as talent and capital
- Providing focus to marketing efforts
Acting as a tool for guiding internal decision making.