Building Brand Identity
The act of branding by businesses makes it recognizable in the eyes of customers and potential customers, so that they automatically think of that business – and its personality and identity – when they see its logo, hear a particular advertisement, or even see a certain color scheme.
Over the past few decades, branding has become one of the most important marketing tools for businesses, and is a veritable buzzword in the industry, referring to the act of shaping a particular perception of the brand in the public mind.
Leading on from that, brand identity is the collection of elements which sparks this particular perception – being the aspect of your brand which you can physically produce as a foundation on which to build your ‘brand image’ – including your logo, monograms, slogans, taglines, typography, and the colors you use in your designs – including your webpage, packaging etc.
When your audience sees any of these elements – if your branding has been successful – then they should instantly think of your business, and its brand.
Though the phrases brand, branding and brand identity are sometimes used interchangeably, a company’s brand refers to the unique identity that a product or service has as a whole, as a result of the execution of the brand identity via the act of branding.
In order to create a recognizable, coherent, successful brand that’s associated positively in the mind of your audience, you need to start with the basics of who your company is and what it’s trying to do.
One easy way to figure out your brand’s personality, is to consider what they would be like if they were a person.
What kind of personality would they have?
What would their style be like?
What are their values, and their mission in life?
How are they different from others, a.k.a. your competitors?
Finally, depending on all of this, ask yourself how you think this person would be perceived by others? And what effect would this have on them? Is this the effect you want your brand to have on your target audience?
If so, then you’re one step closer to branding successfully, since this is the foundation for everything that comes afterwards, and it should align with your business objectives accordingly.
Once you have a solid idea of your brand’s personality, then the elements of your brand identity will be easier to execute in a way that sends a coherent message to your target audience, reinforcing your brand’s memorability.
One of the most successful brands – if not the most successful example of recognizable branding – is that of the multi-billion-dollar corporation Coca Cola. After all, they managed to turn the originally green Santa Claus red, their trademark color.
Aside from purloining the color red from the branding palette available to all other businesses, their signature typography – coupled with their brand name – is stamped on the logo, and put onto each bottle or can, instantly making the drink recognizable, and inciting all the feelings and associations that we have when we think of Coca Cola.
If your business can achieve even a fraction of this effect on your target market, then you’re on your way to building a successful brand.
Looping back to the questions we asked before, we’ll revisit the question: how is your brand different from others?
A key feature of a brand is that its identity and personality is unique. It differs from your competitors and offers something that they don’t. Finding out where your brand and product fits within the market – in its own unique way – is called brand positioning, defined as the conceptual place that you want your brand to hold in your audience’s mind.
In essence, brand positioning is comprised of two key components: researching – and understanding – the needs and wants of your target market, and researching your competitors.
The biggest question that you need to answer when trying to find a position for your brand in the market is: what problem – that your target consumer has – does your product or service solve? How can your brand do this better than its competitors?
One important thing to note in all of this is that most products aren’t 100% unique, and it’s your brand’s differentiating qualities that you should emphasize in your branding process; products aren’t usually unique, but a brand can be.
The final stage to successful branding is reinforcing the positive feelings that your target market experiences when they are reminded of your brand and product. This applies to your whole audience, when you consider your marketing and advertising choices, but even more specifically to your converted leads.
Taking inspiration from HubSpot’s marketing flywheel, the way to reinforce positive branding is to continually delight your current customers, with a great, high quality product, unbeatable customer service, and potential perks for loyal customers.
Compared to the tired-out funnel marketing approach – which works by putting the majority of a business’ time, money and resources into ‘attracting’ leads – the flywheel focuses on delighting its current customers, to the extent that they do most of the advertising for you, through word of mouth.
If your brand delights customers, they will tell other members of your target market about your brand and product. This, studies have shown, is the most effective form of advertising and lead conversion because customers no longer trust traditional advertisements since the dawn of the internet – this is part of why branding is so important.
In contrast, consumers trust other consumers, which is why attaching a sense of ‘delight’ to your brand – which is incited every time they see your logo, typography, brand name, or even a specific color scheme – is crucial to your branding strategy.
After all, even if the whole world knows the name of your brand, it’s irrelevant unless they associate that name with credibility, trust and delight.
So, if you want to make your business’ brand the most recognizable, ‘delightful’ brand it can be, ensure that the steps you take to build each component of your business – your product or service, your website, and anything else – spreads a coherent, positive message about who your brand is and what your company stands for.
All that’s left then is to become a household name.
Article written by: Catherin Brooks