Boost your business when you focus on brand identity
We’re going to play a brand identity game and I’m not even going to tell you the rules. You’ll be fine. I say “Dress for Less.” Now you say, “_______.” Here are a few more. The Happiest Place on Earth. Taste the Feeling. Where Shopping is a Pleasure. Eat More Chicken. And my favorite, Do the Kind Thing.
Just in case you need a memory boost….that’s Ross, Disney, Coca-Cola, Publix, Chik-fil-A and KIND. But you probably already knew that.
These powerhouses have strong brand identities. That’s not a result of being a powerhouse. It’s the other way around. When a company creates a strong brand identity and does a phenomenal job of delivering on its brand promise, people connect with it and even trust it.
It’s clear that Ross, Chick-fil-A and Coke invest a lot of THOUGHT, TIME and MONEY into their branding. And COMMITMENT. While the first three are obvious, you might scratch your head at that word “commitment.” It means that after putting careful thought into creating the brand identity, these companies didn’t tuck the document away and move on. They committed to it for years and even decades. They repeated and continue to repeat the message and use their iconic logos and symbols (like cows for Chik-fil-A) over and over and over.
Branding is important for businesses of all sizes
Because these mammoth corporations spend more money than we can imagine on their marketing, does that mean we let them have all the branding fun? Most certainly not. Branding isn’t just important for billion dollar companies.
Branding is a critical step in paving the path to your company’s success. The investment you put into it will affect your ride. So unless you’re Jeep, you probably want to accelerate down a paved road rather than struggle up a rocky mountain incline.
A strong brand identity helps define you so clearly that your dream customers find you. When you’re working with your ideal customers, you’re happier. You provide even more excellent service or the new products that they love. They talk. That attracts more ideal customers. And your business grows.
Is it hard to find the time to do this? Yes! You want to focus on your product or your service. Who has time for a brand identity?
Is it worth it? Yup. Adding something else to your to-do list might feel like a step backward when you’re gearing up for a launch or even just managing the day today.
If you’re ready to level up your brand identity for better connections and growth, read on.
Start with your why
In a nutshell, a brand identity is your brand promise to your customer. It’s your why. It’s what gives you a traction to connect with your customers in a meaningful way.
Some businesses launch because their owners are good at what they do. They are tired of working for someone else. And they work to make sure they’re paying the bills. Those are all real-world reasons to run a business. But they’re not good enough to be a company’s why. They’re selfish. (Ouch.)
The real reason a company exists is to serve a purpose. To serve someone, somewhere. The financial payoff is what allows the company to keep on trucking. And when profits are high, they’re a reward for doing a good job. But money shouldn’t be the primary reason a company exists (unless it’s a bank.)
In other cases, a company is started with a deeper purpose. But then the day-to-day gets in the way and brand identity gets set aside.
No matter where you are, it’s never too late to rethink or rev up your brand identity. And then to maintain it. The more attention you give it, the better the results.
When you take the time to get granular with your why, it will serve to guide many of the business decisions you make in the future. In a nutshell, your why needs to define:
- What you do
- How you’re different
- Why customers choose you
More than ever, millennials and the generations that follow are looking for connection. They’re looking for authenticity. They want to support brands with purpose. As an example, think about KIND Snacks. KIND promotes a message of kindness to our bodies as well as other humans in the world. Check out the KIND site – you can actually nominate someone for doing something #kindaawesome and hit them with a KIND card and a KIND bar.
Who do you serve?
Just as important as our why is our who. It’s imperative to drill down to who exactly we want to serve. A clearly defined customer makes it easier to deliver your message to the right people.
If you keep your brand as generic as possible so you can serve everybody, no one really has any way to connect with you.
But if you define your dream customer and deliver on your brand promise, you will stand out from a crowd to the people who really matter to you.
One way to develop a clear idea about who you serve is to create an avatar. That’s just another name for your audience or target market. An avatar typically includes a stock photo to represent your customer and a name to humanize him or her. It’s a lot more friendly than referring to your audience as a “target.” And before you get too concerned, yes, you can have more than one avatar. Many businesses reach more than one group and help alleviate more than one pain point.
When you’re creating your avatar, get specific. Male or female? Is she 25 or 35? Is she married? Does she have kids? Did she go to college? Does she drink Starbucks or Red Bull? Is she in a BMW or a Jeep? Would she prefer to get a manicure or go hiking next Saturday? Is she motivated by being a super mom, a super businesswoman or staying in great shape?
When your company has a clear sense of who your customer is, to know what they live for and what they care about, you’ll show them that you “get” them. Connect with who you want to serve and your ideal customer will seek you out. And as you deliver on your brand promise, you will grow.
If you’re ready to take your business to the next level with a strong brand identity, I’m thrilled for you! If you’re looking for support, tell me all about your why and your who so ClearWing can help your brand fly.
Want more information?
Read our follow up brand identity post with tips on developing key messaging and brand voice. If you’re interested in receiving ClearWing’s future tips on brand storytelling and how to let your brand fly, sign up for the occasional e-blast here: