What is Brand Identity?
Every business needs a brand identity. I have had the privilege to work and consult for billion-dollar companies as well as many small-scale startups. Without a brand, your business can never grow. Many startups and small business ignore branding and tend to focus on operations and sales. No wonder why 90% of the start-ups crumble within the first year and sometimes in just a few months.
As a matter of fact, branding is more than logos and taglines. It is an emotional connection between you and your customer. In this article, I will walk you through the 3 key processes involved in defining your brand identity.
In simple words, discovery is all about answering the question “Why does your brand exist?” Let’s ask the same question again with a twist. WHY does Microsoft exist? Of course, its mission was to place a PC in every home. But that is “WHAT” Microsoft does, it’s not the “WHY”. Bill Gates wanted to Empower people and organizations all over the planet to achieve more productivity. It’s not about the technology, it’s about people and what they can do with their technology. And that is the “WHY” fact that made Microsoft one of the leading companies today.
To answer the “WHY” you need to understand your target market, strengths and unique selling propositions. Let us go thru some of the key aspects of discovery.
Brand Story – Why you do what you do?
Brand Story is about you, why you do what you do. The goal is to connect with your customers who can relate to or have experienced your story. Our brains are hardwired to stories, hence a lead to trust, comprehension, and receptivity.
“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories that you tell.” ~Seth Godin
Founder of the eyewear retailer Warby Parker says he lost his glasses on a backpacking trip and couldn’t afford to replace them as a grad student as they were expensive. That drove him to upstart a company to tackle the problem of expensive eyewear. Airbnb has challenged the hotel industry to create a marketplace in which homeowners can list their property for consumers to discover, and book unique accommodations for unique travel experiences.
Brand Strategy/Positioning- What are your short-term & long-term goals?
You need to set strategic goals, focusing on a defined market. Once you figure out that then you can focus on the message.
For Instance, LLBean products focus on family outdoor enthusiast. For those who don’t know, LLBean is a Maine based retailer specialized in outdoor apparels and equipment. If you observer they ads, posters and images, there will always be a group of happy people. That is their message, “Made for the shared joy of outdoors”.
Brand Voice/Tone – How you talk and interact with your audience?
Every brand has a personality, it can be lively, positive, cynical, or professional. Cultivate a voice that delights your customers. Target, for example, is upbeat, celebratory and friendly. Louis Vuitton brand voice is elegant, glamorous traditional.
Brand Experience – What does your customer feel about your company?
This is the future of marketing, designing a sensory experience for your customers. Starbucks is no longer just a coffee shop. It’s now almost a third place after home and work. They offer a sense of warmth where people make connections, hold business meetings. Wholefoods, on the other hand, stacked with loads of local goods, gives you a local neighborhood experience. You see local countryside towns listed all around you.
Brand Design – How you look and perform?
Statistics say that over 65% of us are visual learners. Use the power of visuals to convince your audience. With the brand strategy, you arrived at in the discovery phase, its time to put the strategy to work. It’s not all about choosing a logo or a punchline. it’s much more than that, it’s your companies identity.
It involves a process where you choose how your convert your brand positioning to design. Starbucks, for instance, has a recognizable logo, has a clean design representing quality. Their green color brings a soft, cozy and comfortable environment. Their store design is traditional that reflects a place where people meet, connect and friends gather.
Carry your brand design across all your channels like brick & motor store, E-Commerce, Posters, Advertisements and even with the employees and customers.
Brand Marketing – How you sell your brand?
Discovers avenues & channels for your brand to perform. Frame the most efficient distribution strategy for a content to hustle. Give your brand a wider stage to play leads and amplify the message.
No matter how good your product is or how amazing your visuals are if they don’t reach the right audience, your product will not succeed. Market your product in the channels where your audiences are. It’s critical to reach the customers who believe in what you believe and what your brand stands for.