Let’s face the facts: if you want your business to succeed, you need a compelling brand strategy. There are no two ways about it. Still, despite its importance, many business leaders don’t fully understand what this means. Other businesses are paralyzed by an infinite amount of information and options, are unable to move decisively.
If you need a simple overview of the value of brand strategy, you’ve come to the right place. Cubicle Ninjas has put together a brand strategy guide that will lead you down the path to accomplishing your goals. Are you ready? Let’s dive right in!
How To Create A Brand Strategy
The Significance of Brand Strategy
Today, people throw around terms like ‘brand identity’, ‘branding’ and brand image’ almost as if they all mean the same thing. In fact, even some marketers can’t agree on a clear-cut definition of some of these words.
While these terms may have similar and nearly identical connotations, they aren’t synonymous.
In a nutshell, brand identity refers to all the sensory components that customers use to form an opinion about your business.
Brand Identity are the things that make customers automatically recognize your company: what customers see that let them distinguish you from the crowd.
In a study conducted by Bhimrao Ghodeswar, the researcher went as far as to label brand identity as “the unique set of brand associations implying a promise to customers.”
Unlike the term ‘brand’ which refers to how customers perceive your company, ‘brand identity’ is a lot more personal. It takes into account the tangible, sensory elements that come to your mind when you interact with a business – what you can see, touch, and hear all make up a company’s brand identity.
Your brand identity connects your customers to your company’s products and services.
Brand identity works as the conduit which links you and your customers at a deeper, personal and relatable level.
It’s that familiar click, that friendly lightbulb that goes off in customers’ heads when they see your brand: the same one that keeps them wanting more from your company, a concept which is backed by research conducted by Nusa Petek and Maja Konecnik in their study released in 2016.
They discovered just that, stating it is through effective brand personalities (a subset of brand identity) that brands can foster a better relationship with the public.
Why Brand Identity Is So Important?
Here’s a breakdown of why developing a solid brand identity is crucial to your business’ success.
- It highlights your businesses uniqueness instantly – without it, people will have a hard time differentiating your business in such a competitive field. This becomes all the more important if your business advertises a new product or service: with a strong brand identity, consumers will easily associate your products with your brand and automatically label it in accordance with how they view you, i.e. loyal, reliable, and trustworthy.
- It sets guidelines on how to grow your brand – Your identity as a business will give you the template on practically every sales and marketing initiative that you do. It keeps you focused and in line so that you remain consistent as your business grows.
How To Build A Brand Identity
Industry leaders, company execs, business-owners and entrepreneurs alike must all spend significant time on strong branding development in order to reap the benefits that the market has to offer. A brand strategy guide like this is a great place to start.
There are several elements which make up your brand identity. These include:
- Color Palette
- Imagery (Photos and Illustrations)
- Marketing Collateral
If you want your business to be effective and on the path to success, your brand identity needs to be:
- Unique – You can’t have an identity that everyone else has. Be unique – it’ll get you noticed a whole lot faster. What makes you special?
- Audience Aligned – Every brand is speaking to a specific customer. Aligning your brand to your audience’s preferences, and not your own, is essential. Who is your customer?
- Bold – You need a brand identity that will stop your audience in their tracks and make them want to know what you’re offering. How can you surprise and delight?
- Unforgettable – With brand identity, going for something that doesn’t stick with your audience isn’t your goal. Go for something that sticks, one that will impact the reader to such an extent that they won’t forget your company in a hurry. What will make you stand out?
- Flexible – Don’t just plan for today – your business won’t make it far that way. Developing a brand identity that can easily blend and be incorporated into new directions that your business may take is crucial. What does the future look like?
- Emotional – It can be easy to believe that your brand should be emotion-less, but all customers are human. Eliciting the right emotions is the key to action. What emotion should a customer feel?
If your brand identity is lacking any of these, you’ll find that consumers won’t be as forthcoming with your business as you’d probably like.
Building Brand Identities: How Do Industry Leaders Do It?
So just how do these marketers and business leaders build successful brand identities?
As you’ve probably guessed, it’s not easy – take it from us. Developing a reliable and loving business-consumer relationship takes quite a bit of time, research, and many cups of coffee.
That said, our brand strategy guide will introduce a couple universal steps to lead you down the path towards a successful brand identity.
Here they are:
- Self-Introspection – Knowing Who You Are
Before you even start thinking about possible ideas to help promote your brand’s identity, you need to be very clear on one thing: who you are and what your business stands for.
Why did you start up your business? What differentiates it from others like it? What does your company support? What type of value and beliefs does it uphold?These are the facets of your brand that tell you what your business is and how it should consequently be branded.
- Research Your Audience – Knowing Who Your Customer Is
Understanding your audience and tailoring your brand identity to suit them is yet another crucial step in expanding your digital footprint.
Why? Because these are the same people that you’re trying to sell your products to. Your goal should be to craft a brand identity that is uniquely you but still manages to engage your audience.
Therefore, you should find out everything on your consumers:
1– Who they are?
2 – What are their greatest pains?
3 – How do they solve them today?
4 – Are their incentives aligned to take action?
5 – How are they changing?
Often brands begin with one customer in mind, but learn through hard work that their true customer is someone else. Or some organizations may be part of a changing industry forcing them to rethink their ideal customer.
Whichever direction you’re traveling, gathering as much information as you can about your buyer is the way to build a brand that appeals instantly to their needs and preferences.
- Research The Competition – Knowing Who You’re Up Against
You understand your product/service clearly and have identified valuable data about your customer – now its time to evaluate the competition.
Who provides similar offerings? What advantages do they have? What disadvantages can you play to your favor?
Some business are experts at their product/service and customer, but avoid looking outside their worldview. This can be successful for some time, but the ostrich approach is doomed to fail long-term. Be a student to learn from your competition’s achievements and failures, leveraging this knowledge for your brand.
In doing this essential research, you’ll be able to identify which angle you should take when you create your brand identity.
Creating The Right Identity For Your Business
By now, you should have a solid understanding of what your business is as well as the image that you’d like for your brand to project.
Now, it’s time to create elements which capture the fervor and drive of your business while appealing to consumers’ senses i.e. visual elements.
Where do you start? With the logo, of course!
Although there are many elements that contribute to a great brand identity, a business’ logo is definitely one of the most important ones.
It’s the first thing that pops up in peoples’ minds when they think of your business’ branding. For most brands, it is the cornerstone of all collateral to follow.
When you’re creating your logo, be sure that it’s:
- Memorable. Does it stay in customer minds?
- Classic. Remember, you’re looking for something that can span the test of time!
- Aesthetically pleasing. A brand that is easy on the eyes.
- Mission aligned. Adequately encapsulates the vision that you have of your brand.
- Emotionally engaging. Engages our hearts to move in a direction.
Creatively Showcase Your Products
Beautiful visuals make up a part of a successful brand identity: that means that your products and services need to join in on the fun as well!
Everything about what your company does plays a role in its brand identity. That includes your products, product packaging, services.
With consistent and streamlined visuals for your business, you’ll help your consumers to get more familiar with you.
Mastering Your Digital Business’ Typography
Choosing the right typographic style that you’d want associated with your business isn’t as easy as some might think.
On one hand, you want your business to maintain a classic identity that ensures its longevity. On the other hand, it’s not uncommon for brands to pick up on different typography trends like serif vs non-serif typefaces.
So where does that leave you?
Well, we believe that your typography style should complement your business’ logo. Therefore you should choose letter shapes that go well with how your logo looks. You should also stick to around 2 or 3 types of font: any more than that and it starts to look chaotic.
Wrapping It All Up
Brand identity is a big thing. It is tough to summarize without removing something crucial. At times, industry leaders and business-owners spend their entire lives shaping, molding and maintaining a company’s brand identity: it’s that significant.
Thankfully, you’ve got Cubicle Ninjas and this brand strategy guide to help you and your company along the journey to nailing a brand identity that will work for you.
Need more help? No problem! Our ninjas are branding experts – contact us today to start transforming your company!