How to Create a Strong Brand Identity
According to Seth Godin, a brand is the convergence of memories, stories, relationships and expectations that make a person pick your product over that of your competitor. Seeing as how he failed to mention price and quality of service, it becomes more than clear that the role of a brand is not an objective but a subjective one.
After all, if price, the speed of delivery and the features of the product were all that mattered, every single industry would be represented by the most superior company. Fortunately, this is not so and there are several ways in which you can create your own brand identity.
1. Name, logo and tagline
The first thing you need to do in order to create a strong brand is come up with its basic markings. A company, any company, needs a name, a logo and a tagline. These three are much harder to come up with than you’ve initially imagined and have to be dealt with right away. Before you can engage investors, you need to present them with the name of the company they’re supposed to invest in. Having a logo and a tagline makes you appear like a much more serious brand, which, in turn, makes you more appealing to these investors.
2. Give your audience some time
The next thing you have to recognize is that it’s important for your audience to understand your brand in just the right way. For this to work, you need to give them some time and by this, we mean monitor and guide them every step of the way during their customer lifecycle. Your first objective is to reach them, then to grab their attention. After this, you need to convert them and, finally, retain them as customers. This last part is something we’ll discuss in the next section.
3. Identify potential return customers
Previous satisfactory customer experience is incredibly important for the generation of return customers. Apart from making the bulk of your profit, these return customers also play a vital role in converting others and making them follow your brand. In order to become a brand ambassador, one first has to become a return customer. In order to maximize your efforts, you need to start making patterns and keeping track of return-visitors, as well as those who are interested in more than one category of your services/products. Brand ambassadors serve as one of the most organic methods of promoting your business and making it into a strong brand.
4. Think about brand positioning
The next thing you should consider is the issue of brand positioning, which basically helps you impact the way in which your audience thinks about your brand. First of all, you need to pick a frame of reference or the competitive context. This is the category you want to be put in every time you get described by your audience. Then, you need the definition of your target audience and the key point you believe can convert them to your cause. Finally, you need to give them the reason to believe, which can be either direct personal gain or a strong proof (even social proof). This needs to be dealt with early in the development stage, while you’re still working on establishing your brand identity.
5. Keep your promises
It doesn’t matter how high-quality your product is, unless you can keep your promises to your clients, you won’t be able to make it in the business world. In order to get there, you need to commit to three things: A) working hard, B) knowing your capacities and C) knowing when to say no. The last two are often conflicting since people tend to avoid refusing work even when it’s clear that they can’t make it. This earns them a bad reputation, loses them clients and results in a massive backlash against their brand.
6. Define your values
The next item on the list is your need to define the core values of your brand. Nevertheless, these values need to be more than efficient; they also need to be appealing. In other words, they need to be memorable, meaningful, actionable, well-defined, unique and timeless. Think about it, changing a logo or a tagline is something that happens over the course of time. Changing your values, on the other hand, is not something that people will be particularly forgiving towards.
7. Hand-pick your team
At the very end, you need to understand that picking these values and establishing these principles don’t mean much if your own team has trouble adhering to them. To avoid this, you need to handpick them, train them and supervise their performance during the initial stage of their employment. There’s no such thing as a perfect employee, so what you should focus on is not previous work experience as much as cultural fit. In this way, you’ll subject your hiring policy to your brand identity which is often the right thing to do.
Keep in mind that all of this is a game of trust, which means that you have to work on your brand for months and years and have an opportunity to squander it all in a matter of minutes. In order to avoid this, it would be for the best if you were to assume that every single business move that you make is a branding effort.