You should think of your brand identity as the foundation of your entire business. Without it, you have nowhere to start building your relationships with customers. Let’s face it: there’s a lot of competition today. Small businesses are up against some big-name brands, and they need to find new ways to reach their audience without wasting their marketing budget.
That’s where your brand identity comes in. What is your brand identity? It’s not just about selling products or how you find new customers. It’s about creating a way for your customers to recognize you. More importantly, it’s a promise to potential and repeat customers about your level of service and quality. You want to present the very best version of your business to your audience, and your brand identity lets you do just that on your own terms.
This guide will run through the 5 basic steps to creating a brand identity for your business. Yes, things like logos and fonts are important, but that’s not what we’re talking about today. We’re going beyond that so you can create a brand that really resonates with your ideal customer.
1. Know who you’re talking to.
Are you trying to talk to everyone with your current marketing strategy? It’s easy to fall for the belief that this is the right way to reach the most customers, but you might be digging your own grave. If you’re trying to talk to everyone, nobody can hear you. It’s okay to create a targeted, highly-specific message that speaks to a single audience, demographic, or interest.
Your business isn’t for everyone. Give yourself permission to let it be the very best for the group it is perfect for, and don’t stress about those who will choose your competition. Think about your customer base. What appeals to them? What messages will they respond to? What’s your unique selling point, aka what sets you apart from the competition? This is where you’ll find the shadows of your brand identity, and you’ll only build up from here.
2. Outline your values.
Your values should be an articulated answer to the questions we asked above. Now that you’re getting a closer look at just who your audience is, it’s time to create values that appeal to them. This is what you’re trying to say with your marketing. Your values should reflect what you offer your customers, and what they can gain from doing business with you.
It’s not just about the transfer of money for goods or services. Strong companies take it a step further. Maybe they want customers to know they strive to be fair in their business practices, or they take environmental conservation seriously. These are values that will keep you a step above the competition. Maybe you want to help young women find their voice with your coaching services or you want to develop small businesses. This is your mission statement, and these are your company values.
3. Create clear goals.
If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re not going to get very far. While you might not have the clearest goals laid out if you’re just starting your business, you should still have some idea of what you want to accomplish. After writing out your values and mission statement, it’s time to brainstorm concrete goals.
Be as specific as possible, but also be reasonable. If you’re just getting started, it might not be reasonable to break even in only a few weeks (or even months). Similarly, you don’t want to be too vague by saying you’d like to gain “more customers” or “increase profits” since that’s already a given of running a business. Set clear profit and create marketing goals.
4. Take your brand digital.
Melbourne Media Consulting recommends always taking your branding digital. It’s not enough to have promotional materials, in-person visibility, and branded packaging. You also need to be active in the online space. Today, much of marking is digital. From content marketing to social media, you should be proactive about developing your presence.
Don’t overwhelm yourself all at once. Start with one or two social platforms. Where does your audience spend the most time online? This is where you should start. From there, build your own business website to include its own forms of luring in customers. Create high-quality content like blog posts, infographics, podcasts, or even videos. The key is to offer value to your customers, not just sales pitches. Nobody likes to be sold to, especially online. Taking your branding digital is a must.
5. Finally, be consistent.
Most important of all is to be consistent with your brand identity. Consumers like to know they can expect the same experience every time they interact with your brand. If you change your messaging between blog posts, social shares, or packaging information, your consumers aren’t going to know what to expect from you. You’re trying to build trust, so show them they can rely on your company.
It’s easy to lose sight of your brand identity if you stretch yourself too thin. Know when you’re in too many places with your marketing, and bring the focus back on the customer. By 2020, customer experience is expected to be more important to customers than price and product. That’s a big stat you shouldn’t ignore, so hit the ground running today by keeping your experience at the heart of your strategy.
Your brand identity is one of the most important assets of your small business. While you might not be able to compete with big-name companies on things like price or even selection, you can go above and beyond when it comes to building a brand people trust. This guide above lays out the 5 key steps for creating a brand identity your ideal customers will come back to again and again.