Without a doubt, a recognizable and loved brand is one of the most valuable assets a company owns. Today, having a strong brand has become crucial for businesses to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Just like your personal identity makes you uniquely you, your brand identity is the special sauce of your business that sets you apart from every other Tom, Dick and Harry on the block.
During the last few years, there has been an incredible shift in the way companies market their products; with social media, robust search engines, and access to mobile technology, we’re literally drowning in content. Secondly, the massive growth in the popularity of online shopping and video shopping of late, has given retail businesses a major boost. This popularity is the reason why many brick-and-mortar sellers have also opened their online stores in the hopes of hitting it big.
However, building a strong brand identity, especially in a saturated market, is not all fun and games and doesn’t just happen overnight. You can’t just pick a few colours, slap them together and call it a logo – you need a strategic approach. As a small business, you may be competing against big brands with devoted customers and unlimited marketing budgets. That’s why you have to find ways to stand out – with a solid brand building process of your own.
Before we dive into the how’s of building a strong brand identity, it is important to understand what a brand identity is: a brand identity is made up of what your brand says, what your values are, how you communicate your product, and what you want people to feel when they interact it. Essentially, your brand identity is the personality of your business and a promise to your customers.
Your brand identity is what makes you instantly recognizable to your customers. Your audience will associate your brand identity with your product or service, and that identity is what forges the connection between you and your customers, builds customer loyalty, and determines how your customers will perceive your brand.
HOW TO DEVELOP A STRONG BRAND IDENTITY
Know Who You Are
Before you know what tangible elements you want to make up your brand identity, you need to know who you are as a brand. To do that, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
- What’s your mission?
- What are your values and beliefs?
- What is your brand personality?
- How do you differentiate from the competition – what’s your USP?
- What’s your brand voice?
These elements are what define your brand, and before you start building your brand identity, it’s important you have a clear understanding of each.
Research Your Audience Well
Think deeply about the type of customers you want to serve. If you don’t know who you’re marketing to, your attempts to grow your business may be unsuccessful. You can’t create a brand identity that resonates with your customers if you don’t understand your customers to begin with.
Audit Your Current Brand Identity
When you begin a branding project, you want to approach each phase from a philosophical and highly critical standpoint—inspect, poke, and prod until you get to the core of your brand. The goal is to understand how your brand is perceived, both internally and externally. Getting an honest and accurate reflection is the only way to understand how and where you’re succeeding or how you need to course correct.
Once your research is done and dusted, it’s time to translate what you’ve learned during your research into visuals. This includes:
- Colour palettes
- Photography and graphics for marketing campaigns
- Style guide that explains appropriate logo usage and tone of voice, among other things
All these elements will help you on your journey to build a strong brand identity.
Identify Your Competition
Building a brand identity is all about differentiation: making your brand visible, relevant, and unique. However, without a firm understanding of your competitive landscape, it’s easy to blend in. Thus, it’s crucial to understand not just who your competition is but how your brand compares, in perception and presentation.
Strategize to Establish Brand Identity
A brand identity is built over time. You must implement several strategies to help grow brand awareness and strengthen the brand. It builds a robust social media presence using all of the appropriate channels to communicate directly with the desired target audience whether on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram. Make sure your company’s web site and online reputation match the brand’s goals.
Also, ensure your websites are mobile and search friendly, load quickly, and contain multiple contact points to connect with clients.So, there you have it – 6 fail-proof ways to build a strong brand identity and hit it big with consumers. Since virtual shopping and live online shopping are all the rage right now, having a strong brand identity will also help you maintain a good online presence and connect with a wider audience.