Close your eyes for a moment and think about your business. What do you see?
Maybe it’s hardworking people who keep the machine going, or the late nights spent going above and beyond for clients.
Whatever you think of, it is a rough sketch of your brand identity. A brand identity is a collection of all the distinguishing characteristics of your brand; your brand image, voice, and values.
All iconic brands have a defined personality that is instantly recognizable; they illustrate what it means to have a fully formed brand identity, and also why it is valuable.
Do you have a brand identity? Keep reading to find out.
What is a brand identity (and why is it important)?
A brand identity is the expression of your brand image, voice, and values – it distinguishes your brand for your competitors. Its elements work together to construct customers’ perception and imagination of it. Essentially, it is your brands’ personality; and therefore, these elements should be cohesive and complementary, not conflicting.
Image: the visual components of your brand
- Color palette
- Design style
- Imagery preference
- Type face
Voice: the tone of your brand
- Copywriting style
- Competitive positioning
- Social media presence
Values: principles that guide your business operations and interactions.
- Mission statement
- Company pillars
Brand identity is necessary
Why is brand identity important? Because in industries where the products and services offered are essentially equivalent – at least from the consumers’ perspective – brand identity is the sole differentiating factor. It is the magnetic core of branding, and alone can persuade buyers to choose your business.
Using stock images of people who resemble your target audience, or graphic styles which appeal to their tastes, are examples of how imagery is used to communicate your brand identity and resonate with your audience. Additionally, typography and copywriting combine to produce your brand’s voice, which should speak in the language of your audience. (In fact, typography can actually be saying more than your words.)
However, some elements are more persuasive than others. Brand values, for example, are a high-priority consideration of buyers. Study after study confirms that between 83% to 70% of global consumers buy from brands that “reflect their own principles.” This trend is not exclusive to any particular industry, as IBM conducted a similar study and demonstrated the same outcomes in the tech space. When developing a brand identity, don’t underestimate the potency of communicating your values through marketing messaging, customer interactions, and daily operations.
Do you have a brand identity?
Most businesses cover the basics of developing a brand identity: a logo, some signature colors, a hero message on their website. But for a brand identity to be an effective tool to connect with your ideal audience, it needs layers. A full personality has complexity. Before you select a type face, or cultivate a copywriting style, there are some things to consider that will help you make the right choices.
Knowing your brand
How well do you know your brand? Without understanding what makes your business unique, you’ll struggle to communicate your specific value to customers. Here are some questions to guide you and help you learn more about your brand:
- What do you offer and how is it different from your competitors?
- How do you solve your ideal audience’s pain points?
- How are you currently targeting your ideal audience?
- What about your business do you take pride in?
- What is your business’ culture?
- How would you describe your business in 3 words?
Sometimes it helps to get specific, would you describe your brand as more:
- Approachable or exclusive?
- Conversational or formal?
- Forward-thinking or traditional?
- Industry fixture or a new face?
- Decades of experience or versed in emerging technologies?
- Standardized offerings or agile to client needs?
Starting general and then drilling down to specifics will reveal your brand’s core qualities and help you orient your brand in the market. From there, you can begin to express those qualities through the elements of brand identity.
For instance, a company that has traditional model, and many years in the industry, could communicate these qualities through serif type face, serious color tones, and messaging that leans on their maturity and credibility as a business.
Developing brand values
As discussed above, faced with nearly identical purchase choices, buyers will pick the brand that exemplifies or most closely aligns with their values. Consider what qualities of your business – from services to operations – you think best expresses your brand’s values. Your values don’t need to be hyper-purpose-driven or revolutionary to be effective; they just need to speak to your target audience’s values.
Some common brand values are:
- individual responsibility
We encourage you to think more deeply and select a set of 4-5 values that are both genuine and unique to your business. After you establish your values, develop brand messaging to communicate them to your customers.
Practice what you preach, your business should reflect your values. From service deployment to employee treatment, a company should strive to uphold its brand values at every opportunity. After all, any touchpoint with your brand, or ‘brand experience’, should reflect how you want your brand to be perceived.
Extu helps brands find themselves
Through the Extu marketing program, we take some of the marketing load off your shoulders through our fully automated monthly email campaigns, built by marketing experts, and delivered straight to your inbox. You’ll have more time for revenue-generating projects and higher-level marketing activities with a greater punch – like building your brand identity. Plus, we can support your niche through free custom content. Want to learn more? Click here.