How to develop a strong brand identity for your business.
Your brand identity is the unique value that sets your business apart from every other business on the block. It influences the way people think about your products and company as a whole. Too many business owners overlook the importance of this important element and go straight to marketing. They promote the business without giving much thought to how the brand identity of their business impacts the final outcome.
Developing a strong brand identity is an important factor in the success of your business. It can project the image you want to portray to the world and highlight your values to attract your ideal client. In many ways, a strong brand identity is the nucleus of your company’s success.
What exactly is a brand identity and how does it benefit your business?
What is Brand Identity?
Is it your company name? Your tagline? Your logo? It’s all that and more. Brand identity is defined as the visual expression of a brand. It is the total sum of the elements that portray the right image of your company and tell your story in a familiar and meaningful way. It amplifies differentiation, fuels recognition, and encourages people to engage.
Your brand identity is the most important asset because it influences the decisions of customers. For example, in a recent street survey, people were asked to name the first thing that comes to mind when they hear the word McDonald’s. Unanimously, it was their hamburgers. When thoughtfully designed, your brand identity should provide important visual cues that are psychologically persuasive.
A brand identity typically includes:
- Company name
- Color palette
- Graphic Elements
- Web design
- Video and motion
- Interactive elements
- Product quality and pricing
- Customer service
Your brand identity design should have a distinct visual language that will be consistently applied to everything, from your packaging to your website.
The Keys to a Strong Brand Identity
A strong brand identity guides you in making important decisions that deliver consistent company experience to customers, employees, brand ambassadors, and stakeholders. Make sure your brand identity is:
- Unique: catches people attention and stands out from the competition
- Cohesive: each aspect complements your brand
- Memorable: makes a visual impact
- Scalable and flexible: can grow with the brand
- Easy to develop; intuitive and clear for designers
- Has a clear message and solid philosophy
Benefits of a Strong Brand Identity
Makes Your Business Memorable
Never underestimate the power of familiarity. While many people take the time to research and compare options when buying a product or hiring a service, others just choose whatever they can recognize. Established companies like KFC, Starbucks, and Coca-Cola spend billions every year on advertising to capitalize on the concept of brand recognition. People often trust what they know and become suspicious of what they don’t recognize.
When you build a brand identity and use it consistently, you’ll increase the chances of customers picking your product from the sea of others that are surrounding it or contacting you for more information about your services.
Build Loyalty and Trust with Your Audience
While a strong brand will influence consumers to choose your product or service, it will also help to keep existing customers loyal. A strong brand identity will set you apart from your competitors, convey your values, and build an emotional connection with customers. Individuals who have tried your product based on its brand and have been happy with the results are more like to come back for more.
When you combine great products or services with powerful branding that hits all the right notes with buyers, you’ll develop a long-term relationship with customers, leading to continued customer loyalty. By the same token, loyal customers who love your branding and believe in your mission will want to share your business with others. Essentially, a strong brand will make its own ambassadors and others will hop on board. This could bring increased profits and set your business on the path of growth and success.
Maximize New Product Launches
No matter your vertical, opportunities to expand and grow your business will always exist. Creative innovative solutions based on your customer’s needs and wants are good business. In the business world, however, few efforts are more difficult than getting people to try a new product or service offering to the market. The success of your launch may have less to do with your amazing product and more with how strong your brand identity is.
Businesses with established brands and a loyal customer base have a leg up when it comes to new product launches. It’s easier, less expensive, and less risky to introduce new products or services to customers who already trust you than to convince new shoppers to try something different.
For instance, if a customer has already purchased your shirts and found them to be of good quality and value, he’ll be more inclined to try your new line of pants when you release them next month. A strong brand identity coupled with consistent marketing will work together to help your new product or service reach to current and new audience.
Filter Leads on Your Behalf
Curating a strong brand identity filters out bad leads on your behalf. The truth is, your business does not target everyone. Your ideal customers are people who are most aligned with your core values. These are the people you want to ultimately win over and won’t have a problem buying from you.
Let’s say you sell designer sunglasses. Your ideal customer isn’t Jane who gladly wears $7 sunglasses from the local discount or drug store. Your ideal customer is Andrea who knows cheap sunglasses do not always protect your eyes and has been planning to buy authentic designer sunglasses since last summer.
A strong brand identity will be appealing to Andrea and detracting to Jane, making it easier for you to close sales and get a new loyal customer. To create a strong brand identity, keep the message clear and consistent. Wasted time and effort reaching out to every consumer and a muddled mix of marketing messages will only lessen the impact of your brand and the success of your products or services.
Choose a path and stick to it so the true value of your offerings will drive a customer when it’s time to make a purchase or contract your services.
Convey Stability and Increase Credibility
A strong branding identity increases your company’s credibility with customers and other businesses in your industry. A well-defined brand identity develops an image for your business that says “We won’t take your money and run away, we’re here to stay.” It eliminates any doubt about your company’s viability by having a clear message and crisp image. Outstanding customer service paired with interesting visuals and innovative marketing will establish your company as a serious professional.
What’s more, a strong brand identity can make your company appear stronger and bigger than competitors. When prospects see a professional brand consistently used on your website, social media profiles, or business cards, they get the image of a more established company that deserves their business.
As a bonus, people also expect to pay more for a more established business. Send them to a poorly designed promotional offer or janky website and they’ll think you’re small or “scammy” and not worthy of their business. Going the extra mile with a powerful brand identity fosters credibility and trust.
A strong brand identity can give considerable advantage in negotiating with manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers. When vendors recognize that consumers are enthusiastically buying your products, they’ll want to work with you. This will put you in a desirable bargaining position.
When a business is doing an excellent job with branding, people notice. In most cases, those people are concept builders, social media marketers, content creators, and influencers. This caliber of thinkers will want to be part of what your company is doing. When you bring them on board, you’ll harness their creative power and following to grow your business further.
Good branding is primarily meant to give confidence to the consumer, but it also allows the business owner to appreciate what they have developed and built. With a strong brand identity, all of the time, money, energy, and effort that has gone into creating your business comes together to form a complete and professional presentation.
The goal of branding is to expand the original product or service. It helps grab the public’s eye and convinces them to try your product or service. Gaining consumer trust and loyalty gives you a sense of achievement and confidence to push further.
How to Strengthen Your Brand Identity
The steps a company should take to develop a strong and cohesive brand identity will vary, but some steps apply broadly to most:
- Assess Your Business and the Market – A look at your company’s opportunities, threats, strengths, and weaknesses is a great way to help you understand who you are as a brand and what situation you are in. This can help determine your goals and what you need to do to achieve them.
- For example, if you’re pursuing a niche luxury market for jewelry, your business ads should be designed to appeal to your target audience. Researching your audience and learning what they want is critical to creating a brand people will love.
- Give a Clear Message – Just because it makes sense to you doesn’t mean it will make sense to everyone. Don’t try to combine every conceivable brand personality to excite your customers. Your brand identity should create a consistent perception and deliver a coherent message. Know the message you want to communicate and use the right language and visuals to pass it.
- Define Your Brand’s Unique Selling Proposition – Your unique selling proposition (USP) is what makes your company different from your competitors. Your brand identity should express this clearly. To develop a USP, consider your company’s unique personality, resources, and customers. Think about what motivates your customers and what would persuade them to choose your products and services instead of your competitors’.
- Deliver the Experience Your Customers Expect – From your website, emails, phone conversations, and customer service, make sure every interaction lives up to the customer’s expectations. Treat your customers how you’d like to be treated.
If you have a business, you have a brand. But strong brand development does not happen overnight. It requires research, organization, and planning. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or don’t have the experience to handle the project yourself, consider bringing in FMA C.P.A., for some expert help. We can help guide you towards your goals and get your brand on the right track. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation for competitive business advisory services.