Some products are more than just products. As long as they portray their brand identity.
Coca-Cola, Nike, Starbucks, Tesla, Apple, Amazon…
What do they have that you don’t? How can you reach top-level branding with your company? Or more specifically, how can you maximize profit from the 60% of shoppers that are constantly buying from known brands?
Spoiler: It’s not exactly how you approach it, but how much you put into it.
I mean effort, time, money, mistakes, loses and little wins. The number of steps you take toward achieving the goal to become a top brand.
That said, becoming a big brand requires a bunch of everything. And it’s a game that never ends. So you’ll never stop working…
That sounds overwhelming.
But thankfully, there’re many things you’re doing wrong now - that you can start working on this right moment.
And that is: building a brand identity the proper way.
What’s Brand Identity and How Can You Win in It?
Your brand’s identity involves everything that makes your company seem like a person. And as any person, your company should have a purpose, values, conceptions, a voice, a personality, a story…
Or to make it simple: an identity
But that’s far from what we said in the first paragraph of this blog. Because that’s not enough to become a top brand.
Instead, look deeper into your business and wonder how you can make your company more “human”. And start thinking about its identity.
That being said, we’re going to dive into the most fundamental components of an outstanding brand identity. So you can start moving forward to becoming a top brand.
1. Become Market-Oriented and Customer-Centered
One of the first steps when following any marketing strategy is to know your customers.
And it’s not a big surprise that you have to carry out market research and create your buyer persona if you want to build your brand properly.
The fundamental idea is to find answers to these questions:Who is your ideal customer?
How is your business helping them?
- What’s the role of your business in this market?
- Does your brand resonate with your customers?
- How is your business different from others?
To find answers, follow the approaches listed here:
- Study your competitors. What are they doing? Does it work for them? If it is not working out for them, then why?
- Narrow down your audience. And identify them by their goals, pain points, motivations, and affinities. More information, the better.
- Find your unique value proposition. Stand out from the crowd providing a different approach to solve your audience’s problem.
- SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). Know your current place in the market so you can take the right path and make an actionable plan for your brand.
Fit the pieces together. And once you’re set in your market, you’re ready to start building your identity.
2. Get a Meaningful Mission Statement
We’re meaningful creatures. And we’re always striving to find meaning in everything.
Your brand is no different. Having a reason to get up from the bed and keep working is the only way to find genuine motivation.
And that’s the point of your mission statement. As it motivates you and the people that conform your company to work - and your customers to buy.
To write a meaningful mission that resonates with your audience. Imagine you’re talking to your buyer persona, and try to explain the following:
The reason your company exists. Your purpose, the impact you want to create in the world.
Who you are. The people behind your projects. How do you work? Who endorses your brand? What’s your role in the market?
Your offers. The value you provide to your customers to make their life easier. And how it’s related to your purpose.
Why they should care. What happens if you’re not around? What’s the pain your customers have that you are willing to relieve?
The message you want to leave to the world. The lessons you learn from the story of your brand, or what you want to encourage people to do.
This will help you set your mission statement very clearly. And as soon as you’ve got the god-like motivation to move on. It will set the stage for your brand personality.
3. Find the Voice
Part of the brand-building process is developing a voice that speaks from your mission to your audience. Whether it is TV, advertisement, online content, website, or social media. Your voice defines a huge part of your brand personality (remember it is the human-form of your company)
To find that voice, set a personality that makes your customers feel understood and safe.
While speaking from that personality. Make sure it meets these characteristics:
- Study your competitors’ voice and remember what makes you different from them. Then, translate those differences into your vocabulary.
- Customer-centred. You’d like to know how your audience speaks, and what they talk about. Whether it is friendly, professional, casual or too playful. Take inspiration from them.
- Emotion-driving. So it connects with your target audience in a way they can relate to you and trust you - and get deeper into your sales funnel.
- The action you want your audience to take should be clear as water for your listeners.
- People are always changing and growing. Your brand should do the same and so should its voice. So always keep it updated.
Make a list of words related to those traits, and incorporate them into your vocabulary. You want to start spreading that voice through social media and your website. And start doing it consistently.
However, here’s a quick warning: Don’t rush over your brand voice to get it done ASAP. That won’t work, as your first voice won’t be perfect. Instead, let it evolve while you’re getting to know your audience better. You’ll save a lot of effort
4. Set Your Visual Language
As we said earlier. Having a logo and a colour palette is not enough.
There are lots of visual elements that portray your brand identity. And when they’re properly incorporated, your customers will feel like they are in the right place.
This is called visual language.
The idea behind building your brand aesthetics is to translate your brand identity elements into visual language. So you’ll captivate your audience through their eyes when they see your website, your content, your facilities, your products, your employees, etc.
Luckily, most of the visual components you want to look for can be summarized in the following list:
- Color Palette
- Typography (Fonts)
- Cohesive Design
- Photography/Image Style
- Video Production
- Web Designing
- User Interaction
- Data Visualization Style (Charts and Graphics)
The goal here is to relate your customers with your brand and make them feel like they are interacting with the right people. So you should be thinking on how to implement your visual language in all the platforms where your customers interact with your brand.
It is recommended to invest the necessary amount of time and money to create a resonating visual language (think about outsourcing it). Because your visual elements will appear on every platform related to your brand - and if you do it wrong, you’re done.
5. Tell Your Story, Your Brand’s Narrative
It is no secret how stories have changed the game.
Building a brand narrative is now the minimum requirement to stay competitive in today’s market. and the way your customers think about your brand.
Crafting your brand story doesn’t have to be difficult, by the way.
Remember how most stories are told and you’ll make a good first step. As a narrative is usually structured in the following phases:
- The initial situation. The normal life of the protagonist (aka your brand) at the beginning of the story.
- The struggle. As your protagonist proceeds to achieve certain goals, he’s going to face many problems and adversities in order to reach them all. Focusing on these problems is the key to make the story intriguing and exciting.
- The lesson. The pains, efforts and losses your protagonist had to suffer so the story can have an inspiring ending. Focusing on the acquired knowledge will make your brand feel more authoritative and trust-worthy.
Here’s a nice example of a brand story. HubSpot’s story:
“When HubSpot first started, we noticed traditional, interruptive marketing didn’t appeal to consumers anymore. Due to the digital age, people were in complete control of the information they consumed -- and they were sick and tired of receiving direct mail, email blasts, and cold calls. People wanted to be helped, so we started creating educational content that aided people in solving their marketing problems.
Today, we’ve built a passionate community of inbound marketers, expanded our inbound marketing approach to the sales and customer service industries, and strengthened the inbound movement more than ever before.”
Implement your brand narrative across all your platforms and marketing channels. Including:
- The copy of your website
- Your promotional emails
- Ads meant to connect with customers emotionally
- Relevant content for brand awareness
- Social media
- Promotional merchandise that tell your story
This ensures your customers will think of your brand as a protagonist. And all of us love protagonists!
6. Be Constant and Strategic
Branding is a never-ending game. You should never stop branding.
The rule is simple: If you prioritize consistency. You’ll get more numbers, more trust, and more authority.
It doesn’t change if you want your brand identity to connect with customers. As being consistent across every platform will give you 3-4 times more visibility than your inconsistent competitors.
Approach consistency by translating your brand identity into real-life marketing, and starting to build a brand strategy with actionable objectives you can work for right now. Including:
- The marketing channels you’re going to use
- The format of the content (text, video, images, audio)
- The actual audience you’re going to target
- The message you want to spread and how to say it
- The emotion you want your customers to feel
- The action you want them to take
- Trust-builders like testimonials, your story, or your authority
- The visual elements to incorporate on each channel
This puts you on the road to achieve your first goal toward creating a powerful brand: writing your brand identity guideline.
So go ahead. Write it down.
This guideline provides all your brand’s insights. And is meant to be shared with co-workers and new workers so they understand all the branding rules. Turning consistency into an easy procedure to implement (and make sure to constantly update the guideline to make it better and better).
However, don’t forget your branding strategy is more than a guideline. As you need to drive your company to long-term goals and develop action plans to reach those same goals as your brand evolves. Because…
There’s Always Room for Improvement
Working on your brand and keep your identity can be a daunting process. That’s why you require a team to develop the most exhaustive parts of building a brand strategy. And you can even consider to outsource them all to specialized agencies.
That being said, you can still implement some little big practices that may differentiate you from the competition. While turning your business into a trust-worthy brand. This includes:
- Helping and communicating with your audience through social media using your voice.
- Going to business events or conferences, presenting your brand as a relevant name for the market while networking with people.
- Providing exceptional customer service. And positioning your brand as a customer-centred business.
- Delight people with corporate gifts. As it’s proven how it keeps customer retention and productivity within companies.
Here at 5by7, we help companies to improve their branding efforts with the latter approach. As we think that being thoughtful and helpful with your clients is the best way to convert them into loyal advocates of your brand.
Remember: Focus on the bigger picture of your branding strategy. So you may keep the connections you make with the most important people in your business – your customers.