How to Create a Powerful Brand Identity
If you remember the sneaker wars of the 1990s, you understand how important a brand can be. Nike emerged the winner, and you may not remember the brand they ultimately beat out. Professional athletes took sides and even want-to-be Saturday amateurs pledged their allegiance by sporting their brand of choice.
In the previous decade, Apple kicked-off a brand war in the home computer industry. To this day, most computer users clearly identify themselves as Mac or PC, a phenomenon that advertisers seized on in the early 2000s with the “I’m a Mac/I’m a PC” ad campaign.
You’re not selling sneakers or computers, but developing powerful brand identity can help you beat out the competitors in your market. Brand identity can become the framework for your marketing strategy, driving growth in your business. Here are the actions you’ll need to take to develop a powerful brand identity:
Good marketing strategies are data-driven, so building a brand identity needs to start with research. Research your market, your competitors, and your customers. Understand how your products and services compare to what customers are looking for and what competitors are offering. Figure out what customer needs are underserved in your market. Brand positioning and marketing strategy will be based on your research results.
Establish business values.
Knowing what product or service you will offer is one important part of developing your brand, but an equally important part is understanding your company’s values. Figure out what is important to you as a business owner because you’ll want your brand identity to convey that to potential customers. Maybe you build pools because you want to bring a little fun to everyone’s backyard. You develop a work environment that incorporates a fun vibe to share this value with your employees, and they bring it to your customers.
Define your ideal customer.
Creating a customer persona will help refine your audience and your message. Take some time to understand who you want to sell your products and services to. What are their demographics? What are their lives like? What problem will your company solve for them? How will you solve it better than any of your competitors? You can sell your services to anyone who is willing to buy, but when you target your marketing efforts on one specific persons, the results will be better.
Strike a tone.
Will your brand be fun, serious, helpful, playful…Determine what style your brand will exhibit. Your tone should be something that resonates with your ideal customer. Think about how serious or professional your communications will be with your customers when you are explaining your products and services. A fun or playful tone might be appropriate for your pool services, but if you provide fire and water restoration services, a more serious voice would work best.
Write your brand story.
Every brand has a story. That’s the part that customers want to connect with. Where did your company come from? How has it evolved? If your business is new, your brand story goes back before its conception to when you first had the idea to create the brand. Consider your motivation and your personal history that led you to launch your brand. Your brand story will connect your business’s values to your product and service offerings. It explains your “why” to potential customers. When that “why” resonates with them or they can identify with your story, you’ve made a long-term customer.
Colors and images can tie your brand directly to your target audience’s emotions. Establish how you want them to feel when they encounter your brand and find a way to represent that visually. Images can be powerful communication tools – think about how smiling faces make you feel or fluffy puppies. Develop a look and feel for your brand that reflects your values and the tone of your brand.
You started out building a business, but building a brand is a more compelling pursuit. A powerful brand identity will attract your ideal customers and keep them engaged in a long-term relationship with your business.