A brand is your company’s most valuable asset, yet it can prove elusive. It demands careful crafting and tailoring to ensure it represents your business the right way and instantly, without any thought on the part of your customers. Does your business have that kind of enduring brand identity? If it does, is it working for your company? Could it be even more effective? Here are some tips to help you create your brand’s identity, so your business is always putting its best foot forward in the marketplace.
Conduct a detailed brand audit
Before you do anything else, you’ve got to know how you’re doing and where you stand. Conduct a detailed brand audit to identify where in the marketplace your business is standing, and identify your customers, present and potential. Some things to ask yourself as you work on this include:
- What is our value proposition in ten words or less?
- Are we providing that value?
- Why us and not our competitors?
- What are our top three competitors doing—and how is what we’re doing different?
- What’s driving our growth right now, and how do our customers see whatever that product, service, or market trend?
Answer these questions honestly for your business so you know where to start. If you can’t answer them, you’ve already located a great starting point.
Remember that above all else, you’re selling your brand
Yes, you are probably selling a product or a service. But shoppers in the digital age give you no more than about 20 seconds to create an impression of your brand in their minds. 20 seconds isn’t enough to discuss everything that makes your product the best! It’s only enough time to sell people on a feeling and perception about the brand itself.
Define your audience and create customer personas
This may seem to be more about sales, but it’s all about brand identity. You want to create a brand identity that your ideal customers want to follow on social media and stick with for the long haul. Will your target customer want to “friend” your brand?
Create customer personas for your target audience, and be specific. Include relevant demographics like age, income, gender, occupation, marital status, location/region, and/or ethnicity. If you need help with this, study the social media audience for your competitors or for brands you think are relevant to yours. Who’s following them? Chances are excellent they’re similar to who you want following you.
Brands rise and fall on the strength of graphics, artwork, and copy
If you’ve been carefully crafting the perfect brand identity, don’t risk it forever by using graphics that look like clip art, copy that’s rife with errors, or artwork that’s hastily thrown together. Your design elements should look and feel just like the brand, so they need to be perfect. They should also express a cohesive message, and every element should be completely on point. Use a professional designer or service to get the most out of each piece that makes up your brand identity; remember, you’ve got one chance for each possible customer!
Brand as common thread
When your customers visit your Facebook page, can they instantly tell where they are? If they were to move from your website to your Instagram and then to your storefront, would your brand be a common aesthetic and emotional thread? That’s what you’re aiming for.
Your brand messaging should stay constant from location to location, as should colors, fonts, filters, layouts, and styles for your ads, blog posts, copy, and whatever else is showing off your brand and its style. Your ultimate goal is to have customers to know where they’ve landed (on the web, social media, or in person), even if they got there by accident because your brand’s style is so consistent and notable.
The bottom line
Great branding is comforting. We see a brand we know and love and make a beeline for it. A strong brand identity sticks with customers and creates a preference for your business in consumers that’s powerful enough to override convenience, geography, and even price.
Remember to conduct your audit carefully, and then stick to selling your brand itself. Then by creating your customer personas and focusing on the best possible quality and consistency in your visual materials, you can pull your brand through all aspects of your business as a common thread. Follow through with your branding work and your brand will be the one consumers go out of their way to find.