Why is your brand identity so important? It’s the persona of your business. Just like you are more apt to remember a person better if you see their face often, you are likely to remember a brand better if you see it’s identifying presence repeatedly.
Over time, brand identity can lead to brand equity, the valuable result of a consistent brand positively viewed over time. Brand equity can be a business’s strongest asset because it can so simply convey so much. Examples of companies who have built strong brand equities include Apple, Coca-Cola and BMW.
Note: Only worthy products and services can be effectively branded to increase equity. There is an adage in marketing stating that the quickest way to go out of business is to market a bad product well.
Assuming you have a worthy company with worthwhile products and services, developing your brand identity will position your company to continually increase brand recognition. Ensure you have the following in mind when developing your brand:
- Consistent: There are two main reasons why a consistent brand is important. The first is simply for recognition. When a brand identity changes, it can be difficult for people to realize they are looking at or experiencing a presentation from the same company. The second is credibility. People like knowing that companies have been around and will likely be around. They want to work with an organization they can count on.
- Memorable: Some people you meet once and never forget. With others, it takes awhile. It works similarly with brands. There is something inherently captivating in some and there are others that occupy space like they’re not even there. Brands are typically more memorable when they stand out--looking fresh, clever or commanding--while still possessing a simple identity.
- Clear: Branding needs to express the right temperament. Suppose you have an engineering firm. It doesn’t work if you try to evoke a carefree energy. If you are a health organization, it makes perfect sense to convey warm professionalism. Consider adding a byline –additional copy that clarifies what you do. It’s especially important when your name is not self-illuminating. A hypothetical example would be company name: Stellar Solutions, byline: Cloud-based archiving.
Also like a person, once you interact with a brand, there are opportunities for that brand to be even more memorable—by encompassing relatable characteristics, differentiating it from competition, and by standing with purpose.
- Relatable: A brand is always more memorable to someone who relates to it. In order for your brand to resonate with your audience(s), it needs to touch an intellectual or emotional part of them. FedEx worked an arrow into their logo, offering an “aha” moment once seen as well as an implied affirmation that they get your delivery where it is meant to go (the arrow points to the “x” which marks the spot). Amazon also uses an arrow element, pairing it with satisfaction—a smile.
- Differentiating: Most businesses face fierce competition. A prospective customer is more likely to choose you as a potential vendor if you offer benefits that your competition does not. Brand identities, especially taglines, offer an opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competitors. A tagline is a short, usually two to seven word value proposition that is memorable and integrated into the brand identity to augment or reinforce the brand. A few famous taglines include Apple’s “Think Different”, Walt Disney’s “Where Dreams Come True,” and Visa’s “It’s Everywhere You Want To Be.” Notice that in each of these cases, the tagline is presenting a unique benefit derived from the use of its products and services.
- With purpose: A company can embrace a cause or ideal that resonates deeply with the people it serves. In doing so, it appeals to their value system. While this is sometimes a two-edged sword, as it is not always possible to appeal to one group of people without repelling another, having a purpose sends a powerful message that you care. It creates strong allies among others with like passions.
Communicating purpose in a brand identity is putting passions up front. Examples of companies that have done this are Nike’s “Just Do It,” (urging better fitness), Wendy’s, “Where’s the Beef?” (addressing people unsatisfied with little-meat hamburgers), and Wildlife & Animal Welfare’s “Feel the Warmth of a Cold Nose” (appealing to animal lovers).
Archer considers all of these factors and more when developing brand identities. Your brand identity is your signature and your overall branding is your company in person. Because it is at the heart of every promotional activity you do, branding can make the difference between failure and success.