How to create a strong brand identity
How to create a strong brand identity
“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room” – Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com.
Brand identity is a big topic, and to do it full justice would certainly take more than one blog! But today I’d like to explore the key elements of building a strong brand identity, and what you need to do to ensure your company reaches the right people in a competitive marketplace.
So many people think a brand is just about your logo, and yes, your logo and company’s visual identity is a key cornerstone of your company’s brand foundation. Having a comprehensive brand identity including business cards, letterhead, brochures and website ─ created via a comprehensive brand discovery process and all beautifully printed with matching versions of your logo and colour swatches is the tangible basis of a successful brand.
Yet a powerful brand identity is so much more than that. A truly impactful brand identity is achieved through every single touch point where a customer has any interaction whatsoever with your company, whether it be a touch point in person, through a company website, through a company software application, or over the telephone. Each one of these touch points has an effect on your brand identity, and failing in just one of these areas can spell disaster for the customer experience, and therefore ultimately, the business.
Major companies with a strong brand identity
Major brands like Disney, Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Samsung go beyond their physical products. They delve into their customer’s wants, needs, desires, and strive to deliver not only great products, but a consistent and reliable customer experience from start to finish. Arrive at any McDonald’s around the world and you’ll be greeted in the same way, your meal prepared and finished in an identical fashion, and if you were judging by the décor alone, you’d be forgiven for forgetting which country you’re even in. While their food offerings may not be considered to be the best in healthy choices, they’re nothing but consistent, and it’s extremely common to find Aussies, Americans and Brits bowling into McDonald’s restaurants in every corner of the globe, declaring “We just want to eat something familiar!” You only need to see the golden arches to know you’ve arrived—now that’s a strong brand.
How do you develop a great brand identity?
The most important part of developing your brand identity, is starting with the WHY? We all start businesses knowing WHAT we want to sell, and no doubt HOW we want to sell it, but do we know WHY? It’s the ‘why’ that consumers buy. Simon Sinek, international marketing expert, speaker, and innovator, delivered one of the most powerful marketing-related TED Talks I’ve ever seen. He talks about “Starting with Why”, how you achieve this and why it’s essential for your brand’s success.
Create a brand personality
Once you have your ‘why’, you need to create a brand personality. Who are you? This is about uncovering the ‘personality’ of your business. How would you describe your business to other people? What words come to mind? Whether you are traditional or modern and high-energy will have an impact on your brand identity, including visual traits such as fonts, colours and styles, but also on other touch points like how your staff answer the phone or greet customers face-to-face. Think about Virgin compared to Qantas—if you have flown both, you will know that the way the cabin crew speak and behave on each airline is completely different. While both professional and reliable, Virgin are fun, cheeky and edgy while Qantas might be described as polite, professional and classy. If you know your why, how, and what, finding your brand personality should be relatively straightforward (if not, there is help available) and this will attract the right customer to your business.
Tell a story
“The best brands are built on great stories.”
Chief Marketing Officer, Virgin Group
If you don’t have a story you are just another product in a competitive marketplace, and you have no way to differentiate your business. Telling a brand story is more than just getting noticed, it’s about building something that people care about and want to buy into. It’s the foundation of your brand and a strategy for future growth. It’s about your customers and the value that they get when engaging with your product or service.
The most powerful brand stories are the ones that prioritise customers as the stars. Think of your company as a supporting character. Therefore, your product or service is a fraction of the overall story, and identifying and communicating a reason for customers to use you is vital, because a potential customer’s relationship with your brand will likely begin before they actually purchase your product at all.
You tell your brand story when a customer sees your logo, visits your website, reads your ‘about’ page, and sees your interactions on social media. Marketing often happens when you are not listening and your customer is telling a friend how your product changed their life. Telling them that story is something you do every day.
Once all the foundations are in place, you need to build a relationship with your customer and keep it consistent. This consistency needs to happen across all your collateral and platforms, as well as the physical and emotional customer experience. Like the McDonald’s example above, and the Disney example in this fantastic article in Forbes, a consistent experience through all of your touch points is the key to ongoing success. If your customer has a bad experience at any one of those touch points, they are quite likely to abandon you, spoilt for choice in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
Some of our clients like to employ secret shoppers to find out what’s really going on in their business, and others undertake customer and staff surveys to elicit valuable feedback. Then this information is fed back into a customer service program, which might involve staff training and perhaps company policies or manuals. The manner in which you achieve this will vary from business to business, but addressing the customer experience at every touch point is an essential part of building your brand identity.
Over to you…
Do you need any help with creating branded collateral? Have you thought about a branded stationery overhaul? If you would like any help with enhancing your brand identity or integrating it into all elements of your marketing and consumer touch points, please get in touch with our team at Fuse Agency. We’d love to chat. Give us a call today on 07 3198 4890.