If you’re a small or mid-size business feeling frustrated about trying to keep up with the bigwigs in the industry, don’t give up. Instead, think differently. Rather than trying to compete with them, build your own lane with a strong brand identity that customers can come to for products or services that meet their needs. Find tips here to build a solid brand identity.
What Exactly is Brand Identity?
So, what the heck is it? A brand identity refers to the look of the brand, whether it be a company, person, product, or service.
As HuffPost recently pointed out, a brand is a person and vice versa. In other words, how you act and look is part of brand creation. Owners, therefore, must be aware of how their public actions reflect on what customers think of their business.
The point of establishing identity is to create a distinction between your brand and its competitors. To be effective, you must set this uniqueness in the minds of your target audience.
In other words, you can try to make your business look individual all you want, but if you’re not creating that unique vibe in the eyes of your customers, then you’re not doing so effectively.
With that in mind, how exactly can you successfully build brand identity?
Tips to Communicate Identity
There are many ways to express identity, including:
- Written tone
- Store signage
- Business cards
It’s important to point out that brand identity involves not only paying attention to one thing on that list above. Instead, you are likely to be known for a combination of those listed things and, thus, they work together.
Furthermore, when taken as a group, the logos, names, taglines, and business signs on your store come together to build an emotional relationship with the customer. A well-branded company will ignite emotions in the customer that make it appealing.
For example, store signage creates a first impression. If it is a marker on wood that denotes the restaurant name, for example, then likely you’ll think the food inside is low quality and cheap.
Meanwhile, tasteful signage in a well-constructed vinyl banner denotes high calibre goods inside and that the company is thoughtful. Furthermore, a potential customer will anticipate receiving great customer service there.
Generally, avoid handwritten signs as they tend to look unprofessional. Also, if using vinyl for outdoor store signs, choose quality material as it is less likely to flap or tear in the wind or in case of a storm.
A vital part of building a strong brand identity is brand consistency. This means that your audience receives messages that align with who the brand is, which helps make it instantly recognizable.
Even for big corporations, being inconsistent can happen just as easily as for a small business. While your customers may not see the discrepancies at first, it can have a negative effect as your identity weakens over time, explains Entrepreneur.
Consistent branding is important as it creates an authentic voice. Furthermore, customers can learn what to expect from your business, and that builds trust with them.
Then when they need the product or service your company provides, they are more likely to choose to buy from you than the competitor. However, if your brand is not cohesive between its signage, social media messages, logo, and business cards, then it’s a disjointed identity, and you seem less authentic.
Without having a clear definition of who you are as an organization, customers are less likely to gravitate to you or be loyal. Thus, start to get back on track by looking at the things listed earlier to ensure all brand materials align.
On Brand Development
Building a strong brand identity takes time. Factors that affect how long it takes to roll out and establish a brand include:
- Company size
- The complexity of products or services
- Amount of resources to put toward the project
- Who you will assign to reputation building
- Size of your target audience
Before making any moves, define a brand strategy. Figure out how much time you will give to rolling out the identity and who you will assign to this project, as well as how to market it.
Also, be prepared to adjust along the way. Modify details in response to what is working and what isn’t. Be flexible to provide a face for your brand that resonates with your target audience.
Furthermore, as time goes by, your customers’ needs may also change. Regularly reviewing your brand and adjusting it based on the findings will help you to maintain a strong brand identity.