Brand Identity | How Well Do You Know Your Brand? Answer These 6 Questions First
Brand Identity | Your small business doesn’t need to be a world-famous household name in order to have a strong brand. Big companies may have the budget to hire creative agencies to create and manage their brands, but you too can improve your business’ visibility and value through branding. The benefits that a strategically crafted brand can bring are the same as when people fall in love with each other. When clients connect emotively with your company — because they share the same values and beliefs of your brand — it leads to better sales and boosts brand differentiation.
The most effective brands are built on company’s strengths, so start by assessing what you excel at and what you believe in as a business. The other part of the jigsaw is to know what clients need and how you can deliver on that. If you can match your brand vision and values to what existing and potential clients need, then you should be on the right track. An effective brand leads to loyalty, advocacy and can even protect your price in times when competitors rely on promotional discounts to drive sales.
What is your brand? | Brand Identity
First, it’s vital to understand that your brand is much more than your logo, merchandising or products. It is about the sum total of the experiences clients have with your business. This includes the visual elements of your company, but it also includes what you do, how you do it, what your client interactions are like, and the information you share in your marketing materials and on social media.
Review the product or service your business offers, determine the space in the market it occupies and research the emotive and rational needs and concerns of your clients. Your brand character should promote your business, connect with your client base and differentiate you in the market.
Is the product you’re offering good enough? | Brand Identity
Word of mouth is often a small businesses best lead generator, so having great products and services that people talk about is a key part of your brand. Even the most outgoing and charming small business owner is not going to succeed in bringing clients back, unless the product or service they provide delivers and exceeds expectations. Give your clients an unforgettable experience, and they’ll turn into repeat customers – and tell their friends!
Who is your audience? | Brand Identity
Your small business can’t do everything; likewise, it probably can’t serve everyone. It’s vital to understand the audience you’re trying to target. Your ideal clients may lean toward certain demographic or socioeconomic groups. They may share a particular problem, interest or need. Your brand needs to connect with these people. They’re your target audience: the clients you specifically aim to serve.
Do you stand out from the crowd? | Brand Identity
Standing out means being different. If your brand is going to be strong, you need to know what it is that makes what you do unique. What differentiates you from your competitors? With that in mind, you must be aware both of your strengths and your weaknesses. Learn how to accentuate the former and how to address the latter — or, even turn those weaknesses into positives.
Do you have a distinct voice? | Brand Identity
A great way to make sure your brand message is delivered consistently across your business is to focus on how you and your employees interact and communicate with clients – be it in person, on the phone or on social media. Speak to your clients with a consistent tone of voice. It will help reinforce the brand character and clarify what it is that you’re offering, so clients are aware exactly what to expect from the product or service.
Are you applying your brand consistently? | Brand Identity
You can do everything else right, and screw it up here. Consistency of usage and application of the brand is vital. Your company should have a consistent look-and-feel and consistent language and stick to them. Develop graphic standards and use them in every advertising material, in all areas of your website, and social networks.
From business cards and logo to email newsletters and brick-and-mortar signage, all of your printed communications and sales materials should look, feel and sound like they come from the same source. In terms of messaging, reuse key phrases that are your unique selling points, whether they’re used in your brochure, on your website or in ads.