Brand Identity: A Customer Guide to Branding
Brand identity is how you want to portray your business to your customers. A brand identity is what sets your brand apart from all the other thousands of businesses on the market. Brand identity consists of dozens of moving parts which are all essential to building a successful brand.
What exactly is a brand identity, and why is it so necessary in building a lucrative business? A consistent brand identity will instill customer loyalty and unleash the power of branding and positioning. Let’s look at some of the key elements in the branding process.
Brand Identity: What is a Brand?
First, let’s talk about brands and branding. A brand is a feature or features that distinguish one business from another. Most brands have many features that help distinguish them from others. These may include name, logo, slogan, brand voice, and many more that we will discuss in other articles.
Branding is how you and your team develop your brand’s features. The goal of branding is to make your customer base think of your brand when they think of a specific product or service. The ultimate goal of branding is to make your business memorable and desirable.
What is Brand Identity?
Now that we’ve established what a brand is, let’s get into talking about your current brand identity. Brand identity is part of a larger branding effort to present a visual representation from your business to consumers in your target market. Your brand identity consists of many different elements such as your logo, color scheme, graphics, tone of voice, values, and more.
When you think of successful companies, you may think of Apple, Coca-Cola, Adidas, or Nike. These businesses are recognizable because they have the a very strong brand identity. This level of branding is easily identified on sight of their products and marketing. They pay close attention to the following: quality perception, recognition, loyalty, and distinction.
Having a strong brand identity includes a concept called “Quality Perception”. Which is marketing to your target audience, and even convincing them that your product’s quality is better than the leading competitor. This is done through branding and brand identity.
Take the automobile brand Lincoln, for example. They portray their brand as luxurious and lavish despite being the same as other automobile brands such as Dodge. Sure, they may offer some exclusive accessories, but there are many other automobiles on the market like what Lincoln offers.
People think of their brand as being higher quality because of the higher price point and how the brand represents itself to the public. Lincoln brands itself as a luxury car business, so that’s exactly how their consumers see them.
Brand Identity: Be Recognizable
Another essential part of having a superior brand identity is being recognizable. The more recognizable you are, the more loyal your customers will be. If you have a strong logo, message, tone of voice, etc., people will be more likely to want to associate with your brand. As a result, they will also be more likely to remember their pleasant experience with your business.
The more recognition you receive, the more probable it is for customers to recommend your brand. Coca-Cola, for example, has a striking color scheme and memorable logo. This distinguishes it from other soda brands and makes it more appealing to customers. Besides, Coke’s brand identity is recognized as being associated with happiness and joy. This reels in lifelong consumers.
Let’s say you are grocery shopping and you want to get your favorite frozen pizza. You get to the aisle, and next to your favorite pizza is a new brand of pizza that you’ve never seen before. You hesitate for a second but grab your favorite pizza anyway. Why do that instead of trying a new brand? This is brand loyalty.
You associate your favorite pizza brand with good experiences. It may be delicious, or you may have won a giveaway sponsored by that brand, or you might like the packaging. Whatever it may be, you are loyal to that brand because you have had good experiences with it. Brand loyalty is crucial because the more customers you impress with your brand, the more likely those customers are to recommend your brand to other people. The moral of this story is: your brand identity should resonate with consumers and inspire loyalty.
Brand Identity: Be Unique
With thousands upon thousands of businesses on the market, you need to ensure your brand identity is unique. If customers can pick your brand out from a sea of similar brands, then your company’s branding is recognizable. Which likely means that they will come back. What most people don’t realize is, differentiation is a continuous process. The market is always changing, as are your customer’s needs. To stay relevant to your customers, you need to always be evolving to meet the market and customers’ needs while still being unique.
This is difficult, and that’s why so many brands take an existing brand message, slogan, tagline, etc., and change it to make it “their own.” Every consumer has heard that this business and that business has “excellent customer service” and “grade-a employees.” It’s not enough to use stock phrases. You need to PROVE to your target audience why your business and your employees are different than the other fantastic employees at every other business. What characteristics do your potential customers have an emotional response to?
As mentioned before, your brand identity consists of a good color scheme, logo, website, and so on. But before you design your brand’s physical elements, you need to figure out who you are as a brand. What’s your mission? What are your values, your personality, your voice? Trying to develop the logo and color scheme of your business may be difficult if you don’t first address the underlying meaning of your brand.
Ask yourself, why am I creating this business? Why are we better than other companies? What are the beliefs/values that are important to us as a brand? This is your brand heart. Once you get to the heart and soul of your brand, everything else will come.
All this may seem like a lot of work, and trust me, it is, but your brand is more than your business. It is that impalpable feeling your customers get when they experience your brand. Creating a successful brand is challenging, but it’s worth it in the end. You will become more than a business, a brand, or a logo to some people. The more time and effort you put into creating your brand identity, the more successful your brand will be, and the more your customers will thank you for it.