The importance of having a brand identity and how to build one
It’s one thing to start your own business, but it’s a whole other ball game to shape and define it. Whilst many entrepreneurs may know that strong branding is essential, they don’t necessarily know why. It’s vital for multiple reasons, but the main one has to be that it’s through its brand identity that a business is able to define who and what it is, not only to its target market, but to itself as well.
In this way, customers and clients will be able to form a connection with the brand easily, something that inevitably leads to customer loyalty. We take a brief look at what having a clearly defined brand identity can mean for your business and how you can start creating one that will speak to people.
What does it really mean if you have distinct brand identity?
If you have succeeded at defining a strong brand identity for your business, it means that you have pinpointed what is at its heart. By this we mean that the foundations on which your brand is built, namely the core values, beliefs and purpose at the centre of the business, have been identified. Without these elements, a brand would not be able to connect properly with its audience and would in all probability, end up failing. People connect emotively with brands that embody the same values and beliefs that they themselves hold dear, but in order to do that, a brand has to make those things abundantly clear – and we can assume that a clearly defined brand identity does just that.
The difference between brand identity and brand personality
Before continuing, it may help to understand the difference brand identity and brand personality. The former is essentially who you are, what you offer and who your customer base is. Once these things have been established, a suitable voice can then be created that will speak adequately to each of these aspects. On the other hand, the latter is in fact the set of emotional and associative characteristics that are connected to a business (according to Code My Views). These are the things that help shape how people react and interact with a specific brand. In-depth research is required in order for a business to truly connect with its audience because more often than not, traits of a brand’s personality will seek to mirror those present in its target market, so it has to know what those are.
Even though the two are slightly different, they are symbiotic in that they rely on each other to make a brand the best it can be.
So how does one go about building a worthy brand identity?
It goes without saying that in order to maintain a strong brand identity, a business needs to assess the alignment between the brand, culture and target audience on a continual basis. Employees need to embrace the brand’s passion, mission and vision because if they don’t, the brand will never be as powerful as it can be.
According to Ann Gatty at allBusiness, there are three critical areas that are necessary in order to build a strong and recognisable brand identity:
Construct a powerful strategic brand identity with a persuasive message
This is basically about defining a business’s core values, beliefs and goals so that a clear and powerful message communicating and promoting these can be consistently conveyed.
Develop high performance business systems
A range of efficient systems need to be in place so that all the necessary work and communication that needs to take place in order for a business to be successful, can be done quickly, effectively and to a high standard. This will allow for the ultimate level of productivity and achievement to be reached – something that is likely to win over and impress current and potential customers.
Cultivate a company culture that supports innovation
This may be a confusing one for some. We‘ve spoken about how important it is to inspire innovation in any business in the past, and this can actually be linked to building a strong brand identity. A company’s culture is just as important to its success as its strategic planning, simply because if employees are not perpetuating the values and beliefs at the core of the business, as well as constantly thriving within an innovative environment, then there’s no way that it’s going to be able to maintain its competitive edge. Once you get your employees behind your brand (partly through a culture that supports innovation), you’re half way to creating that brand identity you’ve always dreamed of putting out there.
A brand identity is an image created to relate to customers on many levels, so it’s important to build a strong one that fully encompasses the essence of a business. It’s a process that demands dedication, hard work and extensive research, but once you’ve mastered your brand’s identity, you’ll be a lot closer to achieving that ultimate success you’ve always wanted.
Featured image: http://cariadmarketing.com