Once upon a time branding identity was an add-on for SMEs, now it’s an absolute ‘must have’ for every business no matter the size. What’s made the difference? Social media, without a doubt. There are now 60 million active business pages on Facebook, and 5 million advertisers trying to reach the 2 billion users. With every single FB user viewing hundreds of ads every day, a strong brand identity is key to standing out from the crowd.
What is a Brand Identity?
Brand identity is the essence of you – like a unique flavour, or perfume – that differentiates your offering from everyone else’s. It’s far more than a company name and logo. A brand identity that helps grow your business, is one that combines clarity around what your selling, with what makes you a trustworthy supplier, and – perhaps most important – the sales experience you offer your customers.
How Do Brands Work?
A successful global brand invests the company name with a host of associations that make it an integral part of our shared daily lives. Just the mention of Coca Cola will bring to mind the logo, classic adverts, merchandise associated with it our own experience of drinking coke with others. It becomes more than a drink, because we share our experience of it with thousands of others.
Ways to Develop Your Brand Identity
Brand identity development is all about translating who you are, what you sell, and how you sell it into something potential customers can see, share, and experience. It’s a specialised process and lots of businesses work with marketing experts to achieve the best results. There are, however, a few simple questions you can asks yourself that will clarify and refine your brand significantly.
Five Questions to Determine Your Brand Identity
1. How Does My Company Name & Logo Help My Customers?
Imagine if ‘Mastercard’ was called ‘JP Tomkins’; the history of the company could have been very different! Your potential customers have seconds to spend on your logo – so what does it tell them about your business? How could you help them to understand more in that blink of an eye?
2. How Do People Know They Can Trust My Business?
At one time trust was earned through personal interactions; now we need branding to do the work for us. If your brand is all about ‘going the extra mile’ you need to demonstrate it by having a number of customers who are willing to share their experience of your excellent customer service.
3. How Does My Business Add Value For Customers?
There are plenty of businesses out there that ‘just sell’ but how can you differentiate your business by adding value for your customers? Providing expert advice that’s really useful, or resources that you know your customers will value, demonstrates company that’s willing to give more than it gets.
4. Do the Values on Which My Business Was Built Shine Through?
Most businesses start out with core values; taking pride in their work, developing a diverse workforce, encouraging communication. Surveys show that customers rate ’shared values’ as one of the major reasons for following brands. So what are your values, and do your customers know?
5. Do You Talk to Your Customers Or At Them?
The growth of digital communication has taught us to build and be part of numerous online communities. It’s how customers ‘experience’ a brand, rather than just buying from it. It’s no small task to get your customers talking to you and each other online, but it’s definitely worth the effort.
Once you start having the conversation about your brand, your business starts to change. It’s quite a journey to arrive at a brand that customers want to be a part of – but the results can be transformational.