May 31, 2013

Why Is Brand Identity Important & How To Use It

building brandAs we talked about yesterday, you did all the hard work to define what and who your brand is, but what’s the next step?  Today we’ll take a look at the role your brand identity plays in your business decision making going forward.

Let me start with a short example though.  Have you ever read a story where the characters themselves were not well developed?  It may have been slightly annoying at first but as the plot thickens you find the character doing things that you simply don’t find realistic – perhaps it’s a damsel in distress who up until now seems to be weak halfwit but yet who suddenly finds the emotional and physical strength to break free of her captors.  When that happens you just want to put the book down because you just don’t believe it would happen.  What’s worse is that you’re also not connected enough to the characters to really care one way or another what happens to them!

By creating a strong brand identity you are first and foremost working to create characters that your customers will connect with.  The second reason why creating a strong brand identity is important is because you want to have a good idea of how a brand would or wouldn’t react to certain situations.  Let’s look at the elements of a strong brand identity and see how your brand identity might impact each one of these:

Strategy:

Your brand identity needs to have a seat at the table when you’re making business decisions about where to take the company next.  If you’ve been focused on being an artisan, handmade product – and that’s something that’s important to your brand’s corporate identity – then you may want to think twice about taking that large order that would require you to work with a co-packer to manufacture your products.  If your customers found out about that do you think that your brand identity would ring true to them?  (This is not to say that working with a co-packer is bad by any means but it will impact what your brand identity looks like)

Similarly, if your brand is one that prides itself on its local heritage then it may make sense to align yourself strategically with other local businesses as that build upon the ‘local’ part of your brand identity.

Communication:

What you say and how you say it will be impacted once you have a clear brand identity defined.  You want to have a ‘voice’ that reflects what your company is and what it stands for but that’s not possible if you don’t yet know what those things are.  Communication is key as this will impact everything from how you present yourself in person to the words you choose to put up on social media sites.  It’s very confusing to have a fun and flirty voice in one post and then a very dour, businesslike voice in the next.  Your voice needs to be consistent throughout.

Visual Presence:

Finally, here’s the piece that most people think of when they talk about branding.  We’re now talking about that logo, your packaging, your website design, and all other visual pieces of your brand.  You need to develop a cohesive brand identity before you or a graphic designer can really create a look and feel for your brand (and brand guidelines as well) that will help convey who and what your brand is.  Don’t underestimate how important this piece is.  Well-designed visual pieces will help hammer home your brand identity for consumers and are a key piece of building the trust you want and need to help our business stand out from the pack.

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One comment on “Why Is Brand Identity Important & How To Use It

  • Zerrick B. on said:

    Extremely well said Jennifer, especially in such a succinct manner. I’m sure many of your readers will be thankful for you distilling the post down into 3 critical, bite-sized items–Strategy, Communication and Visual Presence. An engineer by training, I previously took brand identity for granted. But now that I pay much closer attention to branding elements, I can attest to the power of brands.