Your brand is essentially your company’s personality, and that plays a big role in the type of relationships you have with your customers or clients. Are you the fun and friendly brand that customers can relate to, or are you a tough-love authority figure who whips clients into shape? Are you witty and clever with your problem-solving product, or are you more formal and elegant, appealing to upper-class audiences?
The worst thing you can try to be is a mix of all these things — or someone who tries to please everyone. It’s simply impossible, and it will dilute your brand to the point of being ineffective.
So what makes a good brand? One that has a strong identity. Here are three ways to build and strengthen that identity.
If a brand is a personality, then a brand that speaks differently in different situations will come off as insincere, clueless, or even manipulative, just like it would if it were a person. You must be consistent in your copy (which includes tone, voice, and style), imagery (which includes fonts, colors, graphic elements, and photography style), and values (which includes your brand promise, mission, philosophy, etc).
Although social media is a bit more casual than your brochure or website, it’s important to keep a consistent tone and style throughout all your channels. Avoid the temptation to use slang or young people’s language if it doesn’t match your brand identity. Use similar slogans and graphics across platforms, both print and digital. Consistency promotes customers’ trust in your brand.
Let people see you authentically.
Today’s top brands have powerful yet authentic presences. You know what you’ll get when you walk into an Apple Store or buy a pair of Nikes. They’ve successfully shared their values, mission, and story with you to the point that you feel like you know them, and they carry that brand image over into the customer experience.
That goes for smaller brands, too. Which is going to perform better: the auto shop that puts out generic ads and posts, or the one that tells its story and makes you feel like you know them? A strong brand identity is one that expresses its uniqueness while providing a way for the customer to relate to them. That’s the magic formula for marketing success.
A strong brand has to demonstrate its strength. Be assertive in your brand presence. This doesn’t necessarily mean being authoritative or aggressive (although that does work for some brands), but rather being active and focused in your expression of your brand identity. Be a champion for your brand, and let your marketing materials fully express your values and personality.
By the same token, when you have your logo, tagline, and other key brand assets, don’t be stingy with them! A strong brand identity is one that’s visually cohesive and compelling. Anything you can do to promote instant recognition of your brand will go a long way in gaining customers and encouraging their loyalty.
To ensure that you have a strong brand identity, have an outside expert audit your materials to check for consistency, and test your brand assets extensively with focus groups. Check for any similarities with existing brands and make sure that you’re setting yourself apart. Work with your team to develop a strategy for communicating your brand. This might include brand kits and guides to help everyone get the word out consistently. It takes a village to build a brand, so be sure to enlist your team’s help to establish a powerful brand identity.