Your business either has a brand, sells other people’s brands, or both. All brands have a brand identity. It’s the sum total of the consumer’s perceptions of the brand name, the logo, the products or services that carry it or are related to it, its product packaging or service delivery – to name just a few of the elements – and they all have to be successfully related to the brand in a positive way as well as to interrelate consistently among themselves.
Very few companies have actually created their brand identity. Usually it evolves gradually through the experiences of customers and others outside the business. But that is leaving your reputation to chance – you should seize the opportunity to create your own brand identity and ensure that it has a positive consumer impact that will help your business.
Let your brand represent the benefits you provide
The first question naturally is: “How do I create a brand identity?” The answer depends on what your brand is and what it stands for. Just as a contracting business is a different type of business from a grocery store, brand values differ from one brand to another and there’s no simple answer to the question.
But there is a branding methodology that works on a practical level and will add value to any brand that has secure foundations to underpin it. Because it’s based on reality and not imagery it’s the kind of branding that has genuine and long lasting meaning for consumers – whether they’re purchasing a piece of equipment or a service.
Consumers make purchases to do something. They may want to have a better looking home or a smoother running car. They don’t actually purchase a can of paint or a mechanical service; what they’re buying is the benefit they get from the money they spend.
If you can make your brand represent this benefit by creating an appealing brand identity you’ll be adding a lot more value than if your brand simply stands for a category of product or service.
Create a link for consumers
You need the consumer to subconsciously link your brand identity with the benefits they want to experience. Start by writing a brand positioning statement. Using as few words as possible, write down everything your brand needs to stand for – your industry, your unique features, and why your offering is better than those provided by the competition. This is the basis of your desired brand identity.
Next, what is it that your customers want you to deliver to them? In just one sentence, write down precisely what it is that your customers want to get from you. ‘The healthiest fruits at reasonable prices’ and ‘A car that runs smoothly and dependably’ are ways of expressing this.
Match your business with what customers want
Remember that you’re creating your own brand identity. This means matching everything about your business with what your brand has to stand for and with what your customers want from you. Now you need to analyze your business and to be totally honest while doing it.
Go through every aspect of your business – from the premises and staff to your products/services and your promotions – and ask two questions about each:
1. Is it consistent with my desired brand positioning?
2. Is it contributing to giving my customers what they want?
In other words, you need to examine everything you are and everything that you do to ensure they are compatible with the brand identity you want to develop.
At the end of this process you’ll see where you’re doing the right thing and where things have to be changed. Like we said, you are seizing the opportunity to create your own brand identity and it’s never an easy task, nor will it happen overnight. When you’ve finished, the value added to your brand will also be added to your business and your brand identity will be working for you 24/7 and 365 days a year.
Information in this article is sourced from RAN ONE, Inc.