Your brand is the face of your business. It is the connection point between you and your potential clients. It is the medium by which you will build a rapport and establish trust with your customers. Your brand is your business’s identity.
To have an identity that stands out from the competition, you need to define and develop it into something cohesive and powerful. Here are five basic steps to developing your brand identity.
Create a Mission and Value Statement
Before you can develop your brand identity, you need to know what your brand stands for. What is your mission? What problem does your business solve for customers? Who does your brand target? Messaging is at the core of any strong brand. You need to be able to define who you are, what you do, and why someone should choose your business over the competition before you can start to worry about how the brand looks.
To create a mission statement and outline your values, you should be concise and expressive. Your mission statement is not focused on making sales, but what happens as a result of the sales for the customers in question. It should capture what your company values. For example, Patagonia’s mission statement is "Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis." This tells us that they’re creating sustainable products that will help solve environmental challenges and that they value sustainability.
Develop the Creative Aspects
Logos, color palettes, fonts, taglines: these are all creative aspects of your brand. They should be relevant to your messaging and target audience, impactful, and add cohesion to your brand strategy. As the creative aspects of your brand (packaging, website, etc.) often double as your first impression with potential customers, you should consider outsourcing to a reputable designer to get the job done right. Don’t hesitate to conduct focus groups before making a final decision on your design.
Shout it from the Rooftops
To develop your brand identity, you need to build recognition. Cover all the applicable platforms on social media. Use consistent branding across all of them when deciding upon profile images and messaging. Network at events and be innovative in how you showcase your brand. If table covers are needed for an expo, have them customized to be integrated with your brand. If you’re doing a presentation on behalf of your business, tie it into your overall messaging. Be innovative and relentless in building your brand recognition.
Analyze and Adapt
Your brand identity will constantly be evolving. Don’t be afraid to make changes if you discover that your initial idea about who your brand would attract missed the mark. Don’t hesitate to make changes to your creative aspects if you discover an artistic element that makes your packaging sing. Make an executive decision to change your messaging if you find words that resonate with your market. In time, you will refine your brand identity.
Conduct Brand Audits
Regularly conduct brand audits. Use a checklist that captures your brand standards, and scan your advertising, product or service offering, messaging, social media strategy, website, and packaging to ensure everything adheres to your branding goals. If you find something out of congruence, implement a strategy to get it back in line.
It takes time and dedication to develop a brand. However, the expense is worth the return you will receive on your investment.
About the Author
Wendy Dessler is a super-connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.