When you think of the term “brand,” what comes to mind first? Your brand is one of the most important aspects of your business, but there are a lot of misconceptions about what it actually is and how to build it. In this article, we’ll explore what your brand identity is really all about and how to create a brand that’s unforgettable.
What is a Brand, Exactly?
Many people think of a brand as marketing materials and a logo, or use the term synonymously with “business.” But your brand is bigger picture than that; it’s the overall representation of your company, what you stand for, and your promise to customers, setting an expectation for how you conduct business and differentiate yourself in the market.
Your brand is made up of a number of different concepts, like name, attributes, image, personality, actual products, and much more. That’s part of the reason there’s so much confusion about what a brand is. It’s not necessarily something tangible so much as the vibe of your business and target audience.
What is a Brand Identity?
While a brand is more of a concept and big-picture idea of your business, your brand identity is comprised of the more tangible aspects like logo, design, and content that materialize the vision of your brand. That’s why a lot of people confuse brand identity with branding itself.
How to Build an Unforgettable Brand and Brand Identity
Here are seven steps to perfecting your branding:
- Research your target market. Knowing your target market is critical to building an unforgettable brand. You need to know exactly who they are and what they want and define not only how your product can solve their problems but also how it can address their emotional needs. By the time you’re done, you should know your target market better than you know yourself.
- Define your brand. Once you’ve gotten in touch with your target market, take that information and use it to define your brand. If you were a company that sells a natural remedy for a chronic condition like arthritis, part of your branding might be the message that your product “relieves pain and changes lives safely.” Use your research information to emphasize what you stand for, what your goals and values are, and how that speaks to your target market.
- Create an identifying logo. Your logo is the visual representation of everything your brand stands for, so it needs to be recognizable and unforgettable. Although traditional design services can soak up a huge portion of your startup budget, companies like Deluxe offer professional logo design services that allow brands to save money on both custom design services and DIY options. Your logo is something you really want to get right the first time since it will likely appear on everything from physical business cards and mailers to web pages and social media accounts, so take the time to accomplish your vision.
- Don’t be afraid to stand out. There’s a lot of diplomacy and walking on eggshells these days, but standing up for a cause can make your brand stand out and appeal to your target audience in a big way. If you firmly believe in something, don’t be afraid to be vocal about it and incorporate it into your overall branding. According to Jerry Greenfield, “It’s good to stand for something, to believe in something and base your business on values.”
- Plan for the long-term. Consumers are much better informed these days than they used to be; they’re familiar with all the tricks and can spot shallow connections or too-good-to-be-true promises from a mile away. When building your brand, plan for the long-term, build trust, and establish authentic relationships with your target market. Under-promise and over-deliver, always meet expectations, and be honest in your branding.
- Engage with your audience. One of the easiest ways to engage with your target market directly is through social media. The vast majority of consumers are using social media to contact businesses, ask questions, get updates and find the best deals nowadays, and they expect brands to be online. Since your target market is already there, it makes it easier to get in front of them and build brand recognition.
- Get personal. You don’t have to remember how many kids each of your clients has or where they vacationed last summer to get personal. Even using their name when you send email updates or including personalized thank you notes in orders can make a big difference. Katrina Lake said, “I’m most passionate about personalization. I firmly believe that personalized experiences with brands will most drive loyalty and relevance for customers in the future.”
How are you working to establish your brand? Share tips and feedback in the comments.