How to Create a Brand Identity that Competes and Compels
Your logo may represent your brand, but it is not all there is to your brand identity. Developing a consistent, strong brand identity is crucial to your business success and differentiating yourself from your competitors. There are concrete steps you can take to establish a strong and memorable brand.
Who You Are
Your brand identity is composed of all the elements that make your company unique: your values, your product (or service) identity and reputation, and even the feeling people have when they encounter your brand. It is essentially your business personality. Your brand should magnify the core elements of your business principles. A well-defined brand identity helps customers understand who you are as a business.
Your first step is to identify your audience as fully as possible. Develop an outline of your ideal customer. Research the value your offering brings to that audience. Identify and analyze your competitors. Knowing these things will help you tailor your identity and carve a unique niche for yourself in the marketplace.
An Image Worth a Thousand Words
Design your logo with all this information in mind. Your logo is the symbol of your brand – the face of your company. It should be a graphical representation of who you are and what you stand for. Always monitor your brand (and your audience’s perception of it) to ensure you’re conveying the right message in the right way.
Write Your Mission Statement
It’s increasingly important in today’s marketplace that your brand stands for something beyond the widget you’re selling. Identify values that align with those of your target audience. Commit to those values and convey them consistently. This resonates with consumers and helps build brand loyalty. Let your mission and vision permeate all you do. Work to establish ties with like-minded businesses and influencers.
SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Studying these elements will help you build your brand identity and its place in customers’ minds. Your strengths are those positive elements of your brand. Your strengths are those things that give you an advantage over your competitors and resonate with your target audience. The weaknesses are those things you need to address to reinforce your brand identity. They are disadvantageous to your success, but addressing them provides a strong positive. Opportunities are trends and changes in your industry that provide you an opportunity to grow in the right direction. Threats are factors in your business segment that may undermine your goals.
Your Silent Ambassador
When you have fully developed your brand identity, it’s time to represent that concept graphically through your logo. Consider not only your logo design, but also your color and style choices. Everything should align with the business identity you’ve worked so hard to define. Represent this cohesively across all your marketing and branding factors, all the way down to product packaging. Be consistent in your use of color and typeface. Use these elements wherever possible – even in your email autosignature. You’ll need some flexibility over time, tweaking design elements in accordance with particular marketing campaigns or special initiatives. You don’t want to overuse this flexibility and blur your brand identity but, when you do modify something, make sure that modification carries forward across your entire spectrum of visual representation. Establish clear and consistent brand guidelines that specify representation of your identity.
Thriving in the Community
Now that you’ve defined your brand and what you stand for, it’s time to integrate yourself into the community at large. Your online presence is a key part of this. Ensure everything you do is consistent with who you are and who your ideal customer is. Make sure every interaction is both interesting and valuable. Establish your “voice” as a company and remain true to that. If your brand is fun and easygoing, use conversational language. If your brand is high-end and luxurious, use more formal language. Work to establish an emotional connection with your audience, then use that connection to foster brand loyalty among consumers. You can share your brand through advertising and social media. It all comes down to getting your brand in front of consumers and communicating a consistent reinforcement of your particular identity.
The Importance of No
An important part of maintaining your brand identity is knowing what not to do. Don’t send mixed messages. Never violate your brand identity or mission statement. Never copy your competitors. Scale your business in very specific, practical ways that reinforce key elements of your brand identity.
Analyze your results and customer feedback to ensure the message consumers get from your brand is exactly what you intended. This allows you to reinforce efforts that resonate well in the community and tweak or eliminate those that fall short. Continually test, analyze, and optimize to improve your messaging. Know what sets you apart from your competition and maximize that message. That allows you to gather momentum and gain your customers’ trust. Use analytical tools, customer feedback, social media discourse – anything that gives you insight into what the community thinks about your company.
Representing your company with a clear and easily identifiable voice helps you stand out in the marketplace. Your consistency in messaging fosters trust in the community. Use your brand to communicate your offerings and your values to everyone who encounters your company. Consumer trust is invaluable. Staying true to your values and identity goes a long way in building brand loyalty.
If you have questions about defining your unique brand or integrating yourself into the community, get help from professionals who understand both who you are and where you want to go. Contact us at The Profit Link, a small business support team based in Memphis, TN, to begin your journey to branding success. We want to link your business to profit today!