Brand identity. Is it your company name? Is it your logo? Is it your letterhead?
In this week’s Baer Performance Marketing blog, we’re clarifying this question once and for all!
A brand identity is the outward expression of a business, service or product. This includes a company’s name, logo, overall visual appearance and communications. It underlines who you are, how you want to be perceived and is absolutely fundamental in helping develop customer recognition. A brand identity is the first thing a customer associates with your business and specifies your differentiation from competitors. If developed properly, it will communicate “what makes you unique” very quickly and concisely.
One of the easiest mistakes even the largest businesses make in advertising is not sticking with an established brand identity. So, how do you know if your company is having an “identity crisis?” Start by asking yourself the following questions:
1.) Have you identified your key consumer benefit?
Before developing a marketing strategy, your company must define its purpose and know exactly what it is offering its customers. Why should the customer buy from you? What is the single message you want your target audience to take away from your marketing? This must go beyond, “it cleans your windows” or “it smells good.” What singular benefit will cause a strong reaction and get the target audience’s attention?
2.) Do you know who you’re targeting? Has your audience evolved?
Society is constantly moving forward, and the lines between genders and age brackets are blurring. When developing or revamping a brand identity, it’s important to conduct research to determine “who” is actually buying your products or services as well as what appeals to this target audience. Old Spice, for example, learned through audience analysis that their marketing had been targeting the wrong buyer. After a total brand revamp, bringing in muscular men in small towels to their ad campaign, revenue spiked. The risky change in target market focus (appealing to the girlfriends, wives and mothers who typically buy deodorant for their men) was a huge win for the company.
3.) Do you know your market?
On top of audience analysis, market and competitive research is also important. Trends change in a heartbeat, and findings will have a seasonal lifespan at best—so it’s critical research is conducted consistently to effectively stay ahead of the curve.
Remember to Keep It Simple
All in all, you should be able to communicate your brand identity in 10 seconds or less, and clarity should always be weighted over cleverness. Too often, businesses believe their brand identity, messaging, and tagline have to be “witty” to be noticeable. And while a clever copy can effectively play on certain emotions, it is counterproductive when it clouds the messaging surrounding your key consumer benefit.
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