Brand identity is the aggregation of all the little pieces that make up how your company will be perceived. Those who succeed connect with us emotionally, with perceptions of the brand transcending their function as an electricity provider or moisturiser maker, for example. It’s what transforms a pencil company into an artistic enabler, and a computer company into a technological innovator.
A marketing agency can help form the basis of your brand, where creative branding agencies will help bring it all to life. From initial strategy, to design through to advertising campaigns, brand is what supports and legitimises the way your company expresses itself.
Take a moment to consider a brand that you’re personally fond of. Maybe it’s the one that makes the computer you’re reading this on right now. What’s so good about your computer? Why do you continue to buy the newer model from the same company whenever the old one bites the dust?
It’s not just the technology itself. It’s about what the technology stands for, and the way you experience and interact with the brand. Everything from the packaging and the website to the sales assistant that helped you choose the right model and the hotline that helped figure out why you couldn’t turn it on when you first got it. That’s what we mean when we say brand experience. This combination of attributes becomes an idea in the head of consumers. And when the opinions about this idea — your brand identity — are positive, then your branding has been successful.
All for one and one for all
When well executed, brand identity is the compass that guides organisational behaviour and presentation. The people working for the customer service hotline know when they answer the telephone, they need to speak in a specific way. They should communicate using a particular, shared language. When the computer company emails you after your chat on the phone, it will have the same tone, embodying the brands ethos and identity. Everything from the TV commercial jingle to the colours of the flagship shop should follow the same principles.
With a solid brand, the whole team unites in representing the company, from new recruits and front-of-house staff to administration and management — everyone. That means a more consistent and engaging brand experience for your customers. It also provides something for your team to rally around and to be proud of. This can turn your employees into advocates themselves, which can have infectious affects in building your brand’s following.
Brand identity doesn’t just involve your company’s employees and audiences. If you work with distributors or retailers, it’s important that they use your brand guidelines as well, whenever their work involves you. If your customers are expecting one thing and are met by another, you risk confusing and potentially alienating them. Being inconsistent and breaking your brand promise to consumers is something that can have real, negative consequences.
Where to from here?
As the company grows, brand-identity strategy helps guide what direction you go in and how smoothly the journey will be. Maybe you make a new acquisition, or you want to start offering a broader product range. When your brand identity is already strong and you already have a following, the process is going to be much more likely to succeed. If consumers trust your brand as a hallmark for quality, then any new addition to your offering is going to be seen through the same lens.
For creativity and communications, your brand identity is a beacon that can help you achieve more impact, adding relevance to all the content from your brand’s universe. What influencers you may choose to partner with or collaborations you enter into — all and everything should refer back to your original and evolving brand identity. That way, you demonstrate authenticity to your audience and a sense of purpose.
How to brand build with success
- Talk to an agency that understands the importance of branding in order to create and express your company’s communications effectively.
- Map out your brand, including strategy, visual and verbal identities.
- Make sure all your staff, from top to bottom, follow this structure.
- Ensure all your outward brand expressions align.
- Return to your branding and strategy regularly to ensure ongoing consistency.
- Review your brand with time to ensure it’s still fresh and relevant.
Brand identity might seem like a lot to manage. But it’s simple really, so long as you’re clear about what your brand looks and sounds like from the outset. From there, following the roadmap and developing it with your company will ensure your brand always makes the right impression.