With millions of businesses trying to carve out spaces in which they can grow within their niche, developing a strong brand identity has become an essential component for those wanting to effectively differentiate themselves from the competition.
Your brand identity should cover:
- what your brand stands for
- your personality, ethos and values
- how you communicate the value of your products and/or services
- the ways in which you want your audience to feel when they interact with your business
Although your products and/or services are what will leave a lasting impression on your customers, your brand identity can be described as the practice of influencing the decision for people to turn to your business over and above the competition. In highly competitive sectors, this ability for your brand to stand out is the difference between success and failure.
It is still possible to create a recognisable brand, even in already hyper-competitive marketplaces. The following steps will help you to build a powerful brand identity that will work hard for your business.
Audience, Value Proposition and Competitor Research
Every solid business approach begins with a period of comprehensive research.
Understanding what your audience wants from your business is critical to developing an identity that they can connect with.
It is important to spend time thinking about what makes your business different from your competition. The most successful brands understand how they can meet the needs of their audience in ways that are not currently being fulfilled by another business. An excellent way to differentiate your brand is to utilise brand archetypes to represent your personality, voice, story and narrative development.
Keeping a close eye on the branding efforts of your competition will give you a good idea as to the techniques that work and those that don’t.
Setting out a mission statement will clarify your vision and ensure that the purpose of your business remains at the forefront of every key decision-making process. After all, if you don’t know the nuances of your business, you aren’t going to be able to create an accurate personality that will resonate with your ideal audience.
Design a Powerful Logo
Although your logo will not constitute your entire brand identity, it is an essential component of the branding process. As the most recognisable part of your brand, your logo will be visible on everything from your website to your social media presence and your marketing materials.
Visually representing your business will help you to establish a sense of consistency and selecting a colour palette that enhances your identity is crucial. Establishing a sense of harmony is important if you want to shape a memorable identity, however, you should also endeavour to retain a level of flexibility that allows you to adjust your approach to keep your audience interested over time.
Integrate your Brand with your Community
As soon as you and your team are on board with your newly established identity, it is time to introduce it to your audience. A prime way to do this is to provide your community with high-quality content and it is imperative to ensure that everything you share reflects your personality.
Consistently thinking about your content as a way to present your brand online will be valuable and you should endeavour to ensure that every piece of content you publish both reflects and defines your brand.
The language you choose should sound as though it belongs to your brand. By this we mean, if your brand is laid-back, adopting a conversational tone will help you to connect with your ideal audience and communicate your messaging to them in ways they will be receptive to.
Stories connect us in ways that other forms of communication cannot. Building a strong brand identity will help you to establish an emotional connection with your audience, which will act as a firm foundation upon which they will find it possible to build a lasting, meaningful relationship with your business.
Social media platforms offer unparalleled ways to connect with your audience. Additionally, your social channels are ideal places to reinforce your brand identity by ensuring that everything from your profile page to the content you share displays your branding and carries your unique brand voice.
Understanding What Not to Do
It is possible to follow each step perfectly and still end up with a confused identity if you make one of the following mistakes.
Avoid Copying Competitors
Your brand is unique and attempting to integrate too many elements of your competitors’ brand identities will result in confused messaging that your audience won’t be able to form a connection with. It’s one thing to look to your competitors to understand what might and might not work for you, but ultimately you need to ensure that you put your own personalised stamp on everything you do.
Avoid Neglecting Consistency
If you aren’t consistent, you will struggle to present a coherent and professional brand identity that instills confidence in your audience that you are a trustworthy business that is worthy of their time, attention and money.