Why Branding Matters – Building a Brand Identity in 3 Layers and 5 Steps
In order to meet your business potential, it's important to build a strong brand identity. When you understand your brand and communicate its value, your customers will be more invested in what you do. This process doesn't have to be difficult, with five steps all it takes to build a powerful brand. When you know who you are and put your best foot forward, you can create a powerful brand identity that builds value over time.
How do you decide on a brand for your business? First, you need to figure out who you are. What makes you tick? What is your story? How do you communicate the essence of your brand with clarity and conviction?
At the end of the day, strong branding is about authentic values, clear stories, and consistent design.
1. Brand values
Describe your business by writing down a list of adjectives. Identify the words that stand out and the messages they convey. When you understand your core values, you can formulate branding that feels right and resonates with your market. Your customers latch onto your products and services through your branding, so it's important to build something real that people can relate to.
Once you have a good understanding of your core values, it's important to build a story around your brand. Look at your business through someone else's eyes and explain to them exactly what you do. Can you tell your story and keep your audience captivated? Can you make an immediate impact and leave a lasting impression? If you don't have a narrative, you won't be able to relay your vision succinctly.
How do you come up with a strong logo? When you do it right, your logo is a microcosm of your entire business. Every organisation is unique, and your logo is a compact reflection of what you do. When you understand the formula behind your brand, you can create a logo that highlights your value to the world. Along with your logo, it's important to create and integrate all other design elements, from your website to your packaging, marketing material and beyond.
The bottom line is simple – if you don’t know your brand, how can anyone believe in what you do?
Five simple steps towards becoming a powerful brand
Building a strong brand identity doesn't have to be difficult when you approach it with a plan. The following five steps will help you to understand who you are and why your customers should care:
1. Who is your target market?
Identifying your target market is the starting point for all marketing campaigns. What demographic are you targeting? Who is your ideal client? Who is willing to pay for your products and services at the right price?
Once you profile two or three ideal customers, you need to identify and analyse their personality traits to formulate a marketing proposal. You need to solve the main challenges of these customers with your products and services. At the end of the day, marketing should always be designed around the needs of your target market. Much like reverse engineering, it makes sense to start at the end and work backwards.
2. What is your point of difference?
Many people start a business because they're knowledgeable about a particular product or service. While that's all good and well, it's not really enough. Launching a company is not the end of the game, and quality offerings will only take you so far. While these things are important, you also need to find a way to stand out from the competition.
Companies are dominant in their industry when they're able to provide a better solution than the rest. This is crucial, so take some time to analyse why your company is unique. By highlighting your unique points of difference, marketing takes care of itself and prospective customers come directly to you.
3. What makes you stand out?
While you can develop a clear identity from the outset, in some ways, you need to fake it till you make it. In the world of business, you need to present yourself in the best light to attract the ideal clients. If you're a young or emerging business, marketing is the solution. When you leverage your marketing collateral, both offline and online, you can make yourself look bigger and stand out from the crowd.
A new business is easy to spot due to lack of marketing. If you want to inspire confidence among your customers, you need consistent branding in your stationery, brochures, social media, websites, and marketing material.
4. How do you distinguish your company?
No one wants to be sold to, but everyone wants to learn. One of the biggest keys to marketing is to provide people with lots of useful information. When you add value by educating your audience, they will recognise you as a leading authority in your industry.
Other positioning elements can also be effective, including partnerships and awards. Speaking at prestigious events will also position you as a leader, as will creating relevant online content on meaningful topics. One of the best ways to improve your following is to model yourself after leaders in your field.
5. How do you prove your value?
Creating good-quality products and services is essential, but the ownership of proof also needs to be addressed. People need to be reassured, whether it's the quality of your products or their value for money. The best way to reassure your customers is to provide testimonials on your website, marketing material, and brochures.
When you reinforce the benefits of using your products and services, you are giving people a chance to believe in what you do. Testimonials can be used to overcome sticking points, influence decision-making, and motivate people to take further action. According to research, testimonials can increase sales by 250% or more.
If you apply these principles to your own company, you're already way ahead of the pack. When you understand your story and invest in your branding, you will stand out from the crowd and attract the right people into your business.
“A product can be quickly outdated, but a successful brand is timeless.” – Stephen King.
If you need help with any aspect of your brand identity, we're here to help. Please contact Living Lines to discover more.
For more information and branding advice, contact article author and branding expert, Susan Jones, director of Living Lines branding agency on 0410 590 737.
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