Let’s play a game! Name the brand!
If you guessed Ikea then you are correct, and their marketing department deserves a pat on the back, because they have created a strong brand identity.
When your business has a strong, concise brand identity you are better able to:
- Increase the recognition of your business amongst potential customers
- Build loyalty amongst your existing customers
- Stand out from your competition
- Clearly convey your business’ message
- Influence the buying decisions of your customers
What is Brand Identity?
Your brand identity is the culmination of all marketing elements including; tone of voice, brand colours, logo, the tagline or slogan, as well as social media post, website and promotional materials. Individually these elements are marketing activities, but together they produce a strategic toolkit that define your company to not only yourself but, to employees, customers and other external parties.
Think of your company from a customer’s perspective, this will help you shape a clear and concise brand identity that is easily recognisable, just like IKEA.
Ask yourself and employees the following questions:
- How do you want the company to be perceived?
- What are the company’s values?
- What long term reputation do you want the company to have?
Collating answers to these three questions will give you one of two outcomes. Either employees have near identical ideas of the brand so you and your marketing team can give yourselves a pat on the back, or employees answers are varied… indicating that the business’ brand identity is lacking clarity.
If the brand is lacking recognition and consistency, it is important to take the time to reevaluate.
5 Question to Ask When Creating a Strong Brand Identity
Creating a strong brand identity starts with analysing your business, your audience and your target market. Here are 5 questions to help you get started with creating a clear brand identity:
1.What is your brand position?
Brand position explains your business’ unique value (sometimes referred to as a unique buyer’s advantage), as well as the unique benefits your consumers can only access from you, and not your competitors. Your brand position should define exactly what your business does, who it is intended for, and why your business is different from the competition.
2.What is your brand promise?
Your brand promise is your business’ commitment to deliver quality service and products to your customer – every single time. When thinking about your brand promise, consider every person that comes into contact with your business, as well as what they expect from your business.
3.What is your brand personality?
Your brand personality relates to the traits that you want your business to be known for. Examples of brands with strong personalities include; McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Virgin.
4. What is your brand story?
Your brand story builds relatability, trustworthiness and credibility as it shares the journey of your business. Brand stories create a human connection between the business and the consumer, allowing the consumer to relate to the values, of the business.
5. What are you brand associations?
Brand associations are also known as ‘Visual Brand Identity’ and refers to the actual visual elements used to create your brand identity. These include all elements of your visual brand style and the way they are applied to your business and marketing materials.
Infusing Your Brand Identity Into Your Marketing
Once you have worked out your brand identity, you will be able to better convey those identified qualities in your marketing, by creating a visual brand identity.
The visual devices used in creating a visual brand identity typically include:
- Logo – this is a symbol of your business
- Tagline – a short phrase that captures your brand’s message
- Stationary – e.g. business cards, letterheads and email signatures
- Marketing materials – brochures, flyers, catalogs and ebooks
- Packaging & Products
- Signage – both inside and outside your business premises
As you can see, a strong brand identity is crucial to ensuring that your business stands out and is easily recognised by your target market. Creating a strong brand identity is more than displaying a logo. It’s about selecting specific marketing elements appropriate to the target audience. Returning to the Ikea example – when you think of Ikea you think functionality and affordability. The Ikea branding celebrates the simplicity of its product range as well as reinforcing its overall ‘functional’ image. Ikea is a perfect example of brand identity done right.