Does your business have a solid “brand identity”?
If not, you may be missing out on a key ingredient and that could weaken your marketing and communication efforts.
We know the term Brand Identity sounds strange. It’s almost like we’re speaking about a person. And some of you may ask, why does my business need an “identity”? Isn’t my identity defined by what I sell, either my products or services? If I’m selling handmade clothes, am I not a tailor or seamstress? If I’m selling bookkeeping services, isn’t my identity “accountant” or someone in financial services?
It’s About More than What You Sell
While you may sell a certain product or service, that does not define your brand. Your brand is the overall impression of your business, how your company is perceived in the minds of your customers. And while that does include the impression people have of your products and services, it is not the only thing that defines your corporate brand. It includes things like:
Your vision and values: How does your business identify itself? What does your company believe in and what does it stand for? Is your position clearly communicated through your branding?
Your communications: How do you speak to both current and potential customers? How does that define your corporate identity? Are your company communications casual and down to earth, more conservative and academic, or fun and entertaining? How do people identify your editorial style? Is it different enough to stand out?
Your visual identity: How do you present your brand in a visual way? Do you have a clear, well-defined visual identity that sets you apart from similar competitors? Could potential customers instantly recognize who you are by your logo, font choice, colour palette, photography and imagery, or visual branding materials such as stationery, business cards, websites and brochures?
What’s the difference between branding and brand identity?
In marketing circles, sometimes these terms are interchanged. Yet, they involve a subtle difference.
Branding refers to all of the combined creative, visual and communication elements that are unique to your business and make your business stand out, such as your content writing, photography, video, graphic design, advertisements, public relations and events, etc.
Brand identity is more of a “first impression”, a quick and easy way to tell your brand from others. It’s how you present what you sell. The way in which you do it.
And your brand identity should be immediately recognizable in the marketplace, like the Nike “swoosh” symbol, a well-known logo design, or the McDonald golden arches.
Even better, can people identify your business even from a simple colour choice, like the iconic blue packaging of Tiffany’s & Co. jewelry? You know it’s Tiffany’s even before opening the box. Or how about Nike’s tagline like “Just Do It”?
These are great examples of effective brand identities because you can recognize these brands from just a simple image, colour, design, tagline or logo.
Customers Respond Best to a Clear Brand Identity
For example, did you know that the average person spends only 15 seconds on a website before they move onto something else? If your brand identity isn’t clearly communicated in those precious seconds, then your one chance to make an impression and gain a new customer will be lost.
That’s the importance of brand identity.
It may start with a logo or colour design that instantly attracts the eye. But that identity should be reinforced by every element in both your visual identity and communication style. It all must come together into one cohesive plan, one that is strategically meant to attract and retain the interest of your target customers.
That’s what we call a brand strategy and all elements of your brand identity should follow this plan. If elements don’t jive together, then your results won’t be what you want…
Imagine your brand foundation: built for growth and future success
Unlock Access to Our E-book:
The Small Business Guide to Brand Strategy
This guide is full of information on how to create an overall brand strategy that will help you successfully market your business. It helps you craft an authentic brand story, then helps you uncover when, where and how to communicate it to your target audiences.
But that’s the next topic we’ll explore – brand strategy – and why every branding effort, including your brand identity, should flow from this master plan…