As a company you need to build your brand identity. Here is why.
I used to snicker at people who said a coffee was bad, but I guess I just hadn’t tasted terrible coffee.
Few weeks after the lockdown lifted in Accra, our procurement office got a “Brazzilian coffee” to replace the Nescafe Gold we usually had. When we asked procurement why they got us this new Brazzilian coffee; the answer came quickly. “It says ‘Brazzilian coffee’ on the label, it must be better than Nescafe.” We agreed and couldn’t wait to dive into the new coffee brand.
Spoiler alert: the coffee was terrible.
When we confronted procurement again, they came clean let us know that the Brazzilian coffee; “was cheaper than Nescafe, but looked just as expensive.”
This little vignette illustrates how strongly product presentation affects our perception. For a business to be successful, one of the key elements that needs to be articulated from the outset is its branding. A 16-year study detailed in Harvard Business Review found that “billions of dollars are locked up in B2B branding, yet managers consistently skimp on B2B brand development.”
As James R. Gregory and Donald E. Sexton; the authors of the article rightly put: “that’s an expensive mistake.”
What is brand identity?
While a logo is a good starting point for your brand identity, it’s not the entirety of it. Your brand identity is the collection of all elements that your company creates to portray the right image to your consumer. These elements come together to shape the impression of your brand on your customers before you make a sale and long after you’ve made the sale. Now that we are all caught up; how can you develop a memorable brand identity for your brand right now?
#1. Conduct a brand research.
A lot of young brands skip this process and it is where things begin to go wrong. Before you make the first stroke on Adobe Illustrator, you want to dig deeper into your value proposition, mission statement, competition and personality by asking questions like:
- Why did you start this business?
- What are beliefs and values that are important to you as a company? What do you do better than anyone else?
- What makes you special?
Doing this will give you a clearer understanding of where you stand as a brand. It is also advisable to conduct a SWOT analysis in order to identify your strengths and weaknesses. A lot of these ideas will come together to inform how you want to capture your brand essence. Most importantly, they’d let you know how to not capture your brand essence.
#2. Design a logo and all graphical representations.
A logo is crucial in achieving a memorable brand identity. Using the knowledge from the initial market research, design a logo that embodies your brand. While at this, pay attention to creating a design that is easy to recreate. Make it such that anyone can scratch on a paper towel.
Take cues from brands like Apple, Coca cola among others that have established a solid brand identity over the years. One common element that can be found in all these brands is consistency.
#3. Analyze and set brand guidelines.
To ensure that your brand identity is not diluted, you want to set boundaries around how elements of your brand can be deployed. Doing this helps make sure you have consistent messaging, voice and tone.
#4. Publish content to reinforce your brand identity.
Many marketing teams believe their work on a brand identity ends when a logo and the brand manual are developing, or that branding and marketing are the same exercise. Truly, that’s when the work begins. To make that branding relevant and to embed it within the reality of your target audience, you must publish experiences and content pieces that reinforce your brand identity. If you are not sure were to start, you can always delegate the task to an agency, but before you chose one, make sure to ask them a series of specific questions to know if they are up to the job.
#5. Bake your brand identity into your product and offline experiences
This by far is one of the most important levels of your brand identity development. You can follow all the earlier steps but if you don’t live up to your brand promise in actual engagement with your target audience, you won’t be able to make a sale. Then all your branding efforts would have been in vain. Don’t let your branding effort being in vain.
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