When starting your own business, a great deal of information that’s said to be “absolutely crucial to your success” is thrown at you : this can easily make the whole ordeal even more overwhelming than it might already be.
No worries ! Casa’s here to share its knowledge and guide you through the truly important first steps needed to establish a strong business. Trust us, you’ll find everything to be a lot clearer and therefore exciting rather than stressful afterwards, just as it should be. One of the first important step leading to a thriving business is determining your brand identity.
Once you’ve decided what products and services your company will offer, one of the main things you need to consider is what will be your brand.
These days, when everything can be bought online and trade is international, it is sadly not enough to sell the best products/services ever : the offer is too huge and you’ll risk getting swallowed up by your competitors. That’s when your brand comes in : it can enable you to shine a spotlight on your products, putting them forward more efficiently to the consumers and ensuring your longevity as a business.
You might be wondering : “what is a brand ?” Put simply, your brand is the personality that animates your business. It is the body that’s shaping your venture and that’s reaching out to potential buyers, hoping to entice them with your offer. And to reach customers and hopefully turn them into clients, you have to make sure the impression you leave on them when they see your name, your logo, your products or your social media presence, to name a few, is a positive one.
Now that the concept is clearing up, let’s dive a bit deeper into the world of branding : to have a powerful brand that stays at the top of the mind of customers, you need to determine your brand identity.
What is a brand identity ?
Your brand identity is how you want to be perceived as a business, and what you present to the public to reach that goal. The work to determine this “company personality” is done internally, either by your team or by an agency that specializes in branding. Do you want to be seen as luxurious, funny, accessible, colourful, socially implicated, all (or none) of the above? How can it be tied to the services and products you are selling, so everything is cohesive for your potential customers? These are the type of questions you have to wonder about when building your brand identity.
What makes a good brand identity ?
It Has a Clear Vision and the Mission to Match
You can’t please everybody. Instead of trying to reach everyone and consequently losing yourself in an identity that’s too large to be defined, focus on your core values and what you would like to achieve. That will ensure that you stay focused towards a concrete objective.
It Is Unique
A brand that knows itself well enough to have a clear vision and mission should also know what makes them different from their competitors. As such, they won’t bandwagon on every single trend that seems popular among already established brands. They will choose what fits them, emphasize that and use it to bring forward what sets them apart.
It Knows Its Audience
A brand that wants to flourish to its fullest potential has to know its target clientele by heart and what is appealing to them. By using this knowledge efficiently, you increase your chances of building a strong customer base that is loyal to you.
It Is Consistent
Consistency is the key. A powerful brand that strikes the imagination is one that clearly and repeatedly shows who they are and what they are made of. Every aspect of the brand has to be tied together coherently, and must be presented in a consistent manner everywhere.
It Is Authentic
Authenticity is like the glue that holds your brand identity together. You must ensure that what you say truly fits your mission and vision. Furthermore, that purpose has to match the true core values of your company to really be transparent. Otherwise, your brand is masking its true intentions, and the risks of the mask falling are quite high.
It Is Confident and Self-Assured, But Not Afraid to Adapt Itself
If you truly believe in the brand you have created, you won’t be afraid to always stand by it. However, some criticism might be warranted, and a brand that values its customers must be ready to adapt itself if there is a need for it.
It Is Aesthetically Pleasing
This might seem obvious, but the visual aspects of your branding must be appealing to the eye of the customers. It can not only help retain their attention, but it will also make your brand look professional and trustworthy.
How to Build a Foolproof Brand Identity
Find out more about the market you want to operate in.
Who are your competitors? How are they presenting themselves? What are strong points you like about their brand, and what are things you would change? These questions will help you know who you are up against and how to set yourself apart from them.
Determine whom you want to talk to so you know how to talk to them.
Who is most likely to want to buy your product or service? That is your target audience, and it is with them in mind that you should build your brand identity. A brand that knows its audience caters to the way they want to be communicated with. This increases its chances of capturing their affections and retaining them as loyal customers.
Define your strategy.
Once you know more about your market and your audience, you can define your strategy. This is the what (your vision), the how (your mission) and the why (your core values) behind your company’s actions. It is the backbone that will help you have a clear objective to work towards.
Time to Build-a-Brand !
This is when the true fun starts ! You get to create your name, your slogan/tagline, your assets and their guidelines, etc. Obviously, everything must be coherent with your previously determined strategy since it is put in place to support it.
Decide where to present yourself.
After determining your brand, you must decide where to make it known to its potential customers ! A mutltitude of platform could be interesting for your needs, like Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. Ultimately, the decision is all yours !
Do some monitoring to maintain your strong brand identity.
Congratulations, you now have a complete brand identity supported by a strong strategy and ready to take on the world ! Now, you must maintain it. That means always staying on-brand, monitoring where some changes could be made to better perform and making sure every action taken fits in with your strategy. This way, you have greater chances of reaching your goals.
What Is to Gain From Building a Strong Brand Identity
- Because of the strategic element needed to construct a clear brand identity, it leads you to have a concrete objective and plan to work towards.
- It also helps you stay consistent in all your actions, and saves you a lot of time when it comes to creating new visuals and copywriting for ads or online posts, for example.
- A unique and strong brand identity lets you differentiate yourself from your competitors.
- Having a brand identity is beneficial when it comes to building a strong customer base. Customers are more likely to stay loyal to you and to recommend you to their close ones when they are able to :
- recognize your brand easily
- identify with its values
- expect a certain level of quality as a result of your consistency,
- Putting forward a good brand identity that is uniform on all fronts helps to improve the customer’s perception of your company.
What is your brand image ?
You might think the brand image is the same thing as the brand identity. However, it is quite different and a really important concept to understand for your business.
The brand image refers to how the costumers perceive you based on what you present them. This can be influenced by their beliefs, their personality, their interactions with the brand, and so on and so forth. It builds up over time and isn’t quite as static as your brand identity. Customers can always change their mind about your company depending on changes in their values, experiences, etc.
Why is it important to understand the difference between the two ?
Your brand image is very important because it is what can truly transform a potential buyer into a loyal client. While you might not have full control over the public’s perception of your brand, building a solid brand identity greatly improves your chances of having a positive brand image as well.
Trust us, we know that starting a business from scratch is no walk in the park. Taking it step by step, however, will go a long way in helping achieve your goals. And if ever you find yourself out of your depth, a lot of companies are branding experts (like us at Casa). They will be able to help you transform your vision into a reality.
Now that you are well versed in the difference between brand identity and brand image, we can’t wait to see what you create. Happy branding !