Having a brand identity helps your business capture your desired customer’s attention and allows you to stick in their memory. Your logo, website, social media, content, store design; everything you do as a company should be in line with a consistent style that helps your business stand out. However, the hard part is defining your identity.
Here are a few questions that you should answer before you get started:
What is your brand’s identity?
Without a distinctive brand identity, it is nearly impossible to stand out from your competitors. But what is your identity? You should consider what it is that makes your particular business authentic and unique, what makes you stand out from the competition. Is it your history, your modernity, a new approach you are taking? Being able to answer these questions, and being able to ensure your brand identity effectively and immediately communicates your answers, ensures that your customers see you, in turn, as authentic and unique in your marketplace.
What are your values as a business?
Branding tells your customers what you stand for as a business. Consider, for instance, Innocent, the popular drinks manufacturer. The smiling, inviting faces every customer witnesses on their packaging immediately tell the consumer that Innocent is friendly and fun. This identity is ubiquitous across all of their promotional media, from their whimsical Twitter page to their television advertisements. As soon as possible, your business needs to contemplate its own values. Do you want to be sophisticated, professional and serious – values that are especially important for business-to-business companies and ones with expensive services? Or do you want to be provocative, disruptive and modern in order to appeal to younger consumers?
What industry are you in?
To fully understand your brand identity, one of the most important, and surprisingly difficult questions to answer is who your customers are. First, you should think about what industry you are in. Not what products you sell, but what industry you are in. These are two different things. Take, for example, Moleskine, the business that makes notebooks. They do not consider themselves part of the stationary industry; they consider themselves part of the creative industry. Their brand is youthful, contemporary and sometimes humorous, with a logo and website that have more in common with a digital agency. The opening line of their online company information explains that famous artists from Ernest Hemmingway to Pablo Picasso have used notebooks. Another example in the services industry is Mortgage saving experts. Their brand is simple yet effective and very welcoming to potential clients.
What do you not want to stand for?
Equally as important as determining what values you stand for are determining what values you do not stand for. Taking the wrong approach as a company could be suicidal, alienating your desired customer base. A recent incident of this caught global media attention over the last few weeks when a UK-based vegan café decided to be shocking and politically incorrect on social media. This has worked for other businesses such as the betting site Paddy Power, whose edgy brand appeals to sports-loving young males. However, this is entirely the wrong identity for a vegan café and the business subsequently found themselves in the middle of a global controversy that earned them complaints, negative press and bad reviews.
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