What excites me most about marketing is that it allows for the opportunity to create connections with consumers. We are in an extremely brand-centric business environment, where brand loyalty is everything. What will ultimately decide where your product or service lands in the market will be the brand image that your consumers conjure up when they think about your company.
The information that decides brand image, or how you’re positioned in the market, is the brand identity that you craft. So, the work that you put into creating a brand identity that is consistent, honest, and is in-line with the vision of your business will help push you past your competitors.
For example, if you asked someone what they think of when you say ‘Fitbit,’ they’ll likely say something along the lines ‘high quality/reliable/fashionable fitness trackers.’ That’s because Fitbit has outlined in their brand identity to represent this. Everything from the products to how they respond to customer’s emails fits within their brand identity outline.
In order to create a strong brand image, follow these steps to form the perfect brand identity:
Defining Who You Are
If you’re a very new business, you might still be working to define this. If you’re an older business and already have these fleshed out, it’s a good idea to revisit them every so often to update them as your company changes and grows.
Mission – Why did you get into this business. What was the problem or issue that you noticed that you wanted to solve. A lot of people make the mistake in thinking that their mission statement has to be long and thorough, when in actuality, a short, to the point mission does the trick. You should also be transparent with your mission (i.e. make it visible on your site).
Warby Parker’s mission statement is as follows: To offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.
In just a 16 words, Warby Parker offers two reasons why you should use them as your go-to eyewear company. First, they are affordable (Unique Value Proposition). Second, they are socially conscious (Values), which is a big factor these days in establishing brand loyalty with your consumers.
Values – What are the main beliefs that drive you and your employees to do good work? What are your motivations and what gets you and your team up in the morning?
One of Adidas’ company values is: We are consumer-focused and therefore we continuously improve the quality, look, feel and image of our products and our organizational structures to match and exceed consumer expectations and to provide them with the highest value.
This is great value because it lends credence to the fact that Adidas has the interest of their consumers in mind when they are working towards improving their company and their products. It shows that Adidas is motivated to be the best athletic brand and that they do so by being consumer-focused.
Unique Value Proposition – Why should your customer’s choose you over your competitors? What makes your brand special? Going back to Warby Parker, one of their UVP’s is that they sell high quality eyewear at an affordable price.
Your Brand Personality – If your company was a person, how you would describe them? Innovative, fun, daring, creative, professional, serious, casual, and driven are all adjectives that could be used when it comes to breaking down your brand personality. One of the best ways to keep your brand personality concise and easy to remember is to pick words that fit your desired personality, and then 3 adjectives that you do not want your brand to be associated with.
For example: We are energized, never lazy. We are industry-leading innovators, never followers. We are daring, never timid.
Brand Voice – You brand voice will be similar to your brand personality. In fact, your voice is a representation of your personality. So, if one of your personality adjectives is creative, then your voice should reflect that. Your customer’s will see your brand voice in the content your produce (whether it be blogs, social media posts, newsletters, etc.). Therefore, a creative company should pick original, forward-thinking subject matter to share via these mediums.
Designing Your Brand Identity
The visual aspects of your company will also factor into your brand image as well. Because of this, you should make sure that your aspects like your logo and colors are congruent with your brand values, personality, and voice.
Logo – The logo of your brand should be visually appealing, no matter what. Simple logo designs are prevalent now, and for good reason. They are easy to recognize and will look good anywhere. But beyond that, your logo should clearly communicate what you do and the values of your brand.
Probably one of the cuter logos you’ll see, the World Wildlife Fund uses their iconic panda to illustrate the types of animals they are trying to protect.
Keep in mind, your logo most likely won’t instantly evoke feelings on your customers that you want. Think of Apple’s current logo, which when it first came out was simply an apple with a bit taken out of it. But now, it has become synonymous with their values of ingenuity and modern design. The logo will ultimately assist in the creation of the brand image.
Color Palette – Certain colors can create different types of emotions. Check out this blog post to read about a few examples of color palettes for you web design that evoke certain feelings, as well as this in-depth article courtesy of Help Scout that dives into psychology of color in marketing and branding.
Just know that the colors you choose should not only look good, but should illustrate your values too.
Typography – The font and typography you use on your website is an underrated detail when it comes to your brand identity. There are tons of great options, so try a few out and get multiple opinions on each to find the right one. Just like with colors, different typography can draw out different emotions.
Packaging/Brick and Mortars – One of the more under-the-radar areas that can help formulate your brand identity is the packaging you use. On top of that, the place in which you sell your goods has a huge impact as well. In running the risk of sounding like a broken record, Apple once again takes this aspect above and beyond to keep their brand image consistent. Their packaging is simple and their storefronts are clean, white, and minimalistic.
Email – A lot of businesses are taking the time to create visually appealing newsletters in hopes of engaging the audience more and trying to get them to actually read the content. The best way to do that is to create an email template that is similar to your other aspects of your business, like the website. Remember, the reason for creating a brand identity outline is to make sure that everything is consistent.
And Much More…
When it comes to creating a powerful brand image through your brand identity, you have to practice what you preach. If one of your values is integrity, that means you better be honest with your customers. If your mission statement is revolved around making the world a better place, then you better be working towards that everyday. Consumers are getting better at sniffing out the bullshit that some companies put out there. And in a world where we are receiving constant information 24/7, it’s getting easier and easier for companies to be exposed for not living up to their word.
No matter what your brand identity is, make sure that you and your employees are living up to it everyday.