Brand Identity: It’s Not Just The Logo
When most people think about brand identity, their minds go straight to the visual look of a company. Although the visual pieces of the brand are extremely important, a company’s brand identity is comprised of many different aspects, aside from the visual. The values, mission, personality, message, and company priorities are all essential parts of a company’s core. Don’t get me wrong, a well-packaged product with an alluring design can immediately stop you in your tracks (it may even lead to a purchase), but the combination of all of the other elements of a brand’s identity are what keep you coming back. You’ve heard the phrase, “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover,” and you can’t judge a brand or a product by it’s cover either! It may be brilliantly designed, but the brand’s values may be everything you stand against or the product may lack the luster you thought you were purchasing. In the same way that looks aren’t the most important part of YOU, they aren’t the most important part of your brand, making it imperative that you take a moment to dig deeper into the heart of your brand in order to reveal its essence as clearly as possible.
So what is BRAND IDENTITY?
“A company’s brand identity is how they want others to perceive them” – Investopedia
Here are some examples:
The Honest Company
A company that offers affordable and safe products for your household and babies.
A convenient online mega store that offers low prices and immediate delivery
Patagonia’s mission statement wraps up their brand identity perfectly: “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
Think of your favorite, go-to brand.
How were you first introduced to the brand? Maybe someone referred it to you or perhaps you researched the brand yourself. You may have fallen for their high quality, glamorous social media presence or their simple, modern logo and packaging. Visuals are an important aspect of your brand identity (love at first sight is real!) But they are just one piece, which leads us to our next question.
How did you get hooked on the brand? You may have connected to their mission statement or tried out their product. Packaging and imagery is great, but consumers are looking for quality products and services, from brands that they can trust.
Why did you remain loyal to the brand? Because the brand’s identity fit your preferences and lifestyle. AKA the price, quality, look, feel, values, verbiage, customer service, EVERY (or almost every, nobody’s perfect!) interaction with this brand had you saying, “YAS!”
Reaching your target market and achieving brand loyalty within that market is the ultimate goal of every entrepreneur. You may laugh because we all know that is far easier said than done. The market is CROWDED and store shelves are overflowing with numerous brand names all trying to push the same product. So, what does it take to stand out from the pack and gain your customer’s loyalty? A strong, well-communicated and consistent brand identity.
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes…
As you construct your brand identity, put yourself in your target consumer’s shoes. What characteristics would attract you? Environmentally friendly? Long lasting quality? Cutting edge? American made? Gives back?
Now, look at your own brand. What characteristics communicate your identity to your customers? When people are chatting about your brand, what do you want them to say? What impression would your brand make on first-time customers? How would that impression remain on lasting customers? These are all valuable questions to think about when cultivating your business’s brand identity. Gaining outside perspective of your brand will enable you to understand how to effectively communicate your identity goals with customers.
Constructing your identity may take some time of trial and error. There are so many facets of your brand, how is it possible to hone in on only a handful? Peel back the layers of your brand until you reach the very core. There you will discover what your brand is truly about. Reflect on how the company came about or the beginning visions for the brand. Take some time and meditate on the most distinct and essential elements of the brand. Those are the details that will take your brand to the top.
Remember that it’s not all about you.
Research the market you are in and your target audience. What are the trends? How can you set yourself apart in the market be long-lasting rather than a fad? Though products and needs may change, your brand should remain on top (think Apple). What are your consumers looking for? Where is the hole in the market that you can fill? They may say “Yeah, the product I am using now is fine, but I am really looking for something with…” Do the research and determine if your brand identity can deliver what the consumer is looking for.
On the flip side, be sure not to lose yourself in market research, focus groups and consumer reports. Remember that your brand’s identity is unique to you. There’s an advantage there. Don’t conform into what the market, trends, and consumers like, but rather fill the need with your brand’s message.
Before embarking on a journey to find your brand’s identity, write this quote on a post-it note and stick it on your desk, computer, wall, or wherever. It’s a great reminder.
“Branding is the art of aligning what you want people to think about your company with what people actually do think about your company. And vice-versa” Jay Baer
Be strong in your brand’s identity. The more confident and firm your brand stands in it’s identity, the more appealing the brand is to others. When you understand who YOU are, people will gravitate towards you and build a strong connection with your brand. From there you will find your people–the people that will love your brand and will shout your name from the mountain top. These people are your brand loyalists. They are loyal because they believe in your brand and what your brand stands for. They are your #1 fans.
Stay true to your identity, find your people, and reach success. That’s all it takes.
For more on brand identity, here is a great source!