Brand Identity is all those elements that go into building a brand — such as a logo. These elements tell a story – the story of your business and what you stand for. Together they create an identity for your brand, by which you can easily introduce yourself to potential customers, as well as easily stay in the minds of existing customers.
All big brands have at some point started small. So, if you think that creating a brand identity is not your cup of tea at the stage that your business is in, think again. Brand identity is not something you invest in once you reach a milestone — in fact, it may just get more complicated! Brand identity starts the moment you think of a business idea. And this article is about why it’s important.
Why is Strong Brand Identity Important?
Brand Identity is important because it gives your business a unique persona. Your business becomes an entity that the customers can relate to. Here are five of the most important ways that you can benefit from a strong brand identity:
1. Creates a Personality
Take a look at these logos:
Your mind automatically makes certain connections and conjures up some qualities and traits associated with these images. These qualities and traits are what differentiate one memorable brand from another not-so-memorable brand.
The values and elements that you spell out for your Brand Identity are what translate into Brand Personality in the market’s mind. Brand identity is you telling your customers something about yourself. Brand personality is the image that they form of you in return.
2. Helps in Influencing the Market
Now that you have been able to create a brand personality in the mind of the market, you will be better able to influence the market. Note that we said ‘influence’, and not just ‘be present.
This is possible only when you are sure of what your brand stands for and what your vision for the market is. A strong brand identity enables your brand to make a lasting impression on the minds of potential customers. As a result, their tendency to buy from you increases too!
But that’s not all. The more ‘visible’ you become, the more powerfully you will be able to actually impact the market. The prices you offer, the additional services you give, the disruptions you introduce — all will have a great potential to actually change the market! The popularity that your brand enjoys will help you in setting market trends.
Now, who wouldn’t like that?
3. Results in Higher Customer Loyalty
This goes without saying — the stronger your brand identity, the better are your chances at retaining your customers.
Take Apple for example. An Apple user seldom ever considers buying an Android. Why? After all, at the end of the day, both, an Apple as well as Android phone have the same functions at their core.
The difference is that Apple has a strong identity in the market — you can put a face to it. There are certain promises of quality that you immediately associate it with.
The easier these associations become, the lesser the cognitive effort you have to put into the purchase process. Naturally, you will tend to stick to that particular brand itself, instead of spending time and energy to decide on a good product. Here’s more on how Psychology plays a role in Brand Loyalty.
4. Gives a Competitive Edge
To really understand why you are engaging in the business that you are in, and to translate that reason to the market is no easy task. It all boils down to one thing — “Why should I buy from you”. Think of Brand Identity as an answer to that question. It’s simple — if you can convince the market with their ‘Why’s, you are most likely to succeed. Although this sounds simple, this is where most companies fail.
What could be better than to be on top of your customers’ minds? Believe it or not, a study showed that 59% of customers bought a product from a brand they are familiar with, while 21% bought a product simply because their favorite brand had brought it out!
Like we saw earlier, a strong brand identity leads to lesser cognitive effort on part of the buyer. Consequently, your competitors will be left wondering what you did right and how you did it!
5. Helps Build Employer Branding
Brand identity is not only about getting more customers or clients to buy from you. It is also about attracting the right kind of talent to work for you. The more reputed your company, the better are your chances of attracting more and more candidates.
This solves a major block that companies face today – hiring the right people. Needless to say, the better your brand identity, the higher the pool of applicants. The higher the pool of applicants, the stronger are your chances of finding exactly the kind of people that you want working in your team.
Having the right kind of people working for you will directly and positively impact the experiences that your customers receive, which in turn will add to your strong brand identity.
Bonus! Best Practices to Develop a Strong Brand Identity
So now that we told you why a strong brand identity is important, we’ll also give you some ideas to help you get started on developing a strong identity for your business:
1. Define everything
It all starts with good clarity of what you are doing. If you don’t have clarity, how will you convince people to buy from you and not from your competitors?
So, start building on your brand identity from the basics – what is your mission? What problems are you solving? Who are you selling to? — and so on. When everything is defined, it all becomes actionable. When you translate your brand goals into actionable units, you will have a better understanding of what kind of brand identity to develop. The key to maintaining brand identity is consistency. Create a workflow for everything you can to ensure the output of your content, customer interactions, social media marketing, and recommend products with the same quality.
2. Figure out what problem you are trying to solve
You may have started a business to make more money. That’s a good enough reason for you — but not for your market. Your market wants to know what problem of theirs you are solving, and whether it’s worth giving you their money or not!
At this stage, try to think about the exact moment when you thought about your business idea. Why did it seem like a good idea? What gaps did you see in the market that you thought your idea could solve? Did you yourself face some kind of challenge that led you to think of the solution you are now offering to others?
If your only answer is that you thought of your business simply because you saw similar businesses succeeding elsewhere, then you will probably have to revisit your goals a bit.
Solve problems – don’t be just another competitor!
There is no way around this.
As boring as it may sound, doing Research is critical if you must know what you should, and should not do. There is a lot of insight to gain from the success — and failure — stories of different brands in history.
Read research papers, analyze studies, ask experts and business gurus questions, and conduct research to develop customer intelligence.
Most importantly, be open. Don’t engage in research to seek confirmation of your beliefs, but rather to evaluate them. You will find contradicting answers, and opinions that are very opposed to your own – but remember that there is no correct answer. We should do research to choose ideas that would suit us best – and that can mean taking a little bit from everywhere.
4. Work on your visuals
We are a visual generation. Unless visually stimulated, we simply don’t get fired up!.
Now, this is not just about making your visual elements ‘attractive’ – it’s about how you make them relevant.
Take the logo for example — designing a logo is not just about using pretty colors and interesting designs. It’s about what emotions are evoked in the minds of the customers. Take a look at how Ikea’s logo changed over time:
Note how the last three changes were in color alone! That is the amount of research that Ikea has put into choosing the colors. If you are unable to come up with the right kind of design, don’t hesitate to take the help of an expert.
Experience is Everything!
A brand identity is all about how you make your customers feel. Your job isn’t over with the sale — instead, that’s where it all begins. At this point, your packaging, the experience of using the product, the support your customer finds post-sale, etc., are all extremely important to make them want to buy from you again.
And an exceptional experience can be given only when you yourself are super confident about what you are selling and why. The process of building a strong brand identity will definitely help you and your team get there.