The 101 on Developing a Brand Identity
With an infinitude of modern businesses trying to make themselves known, the strength of your brand has never been so crucial to setting your business apart from competitors. Fact: it’s a content jungle out there, and only the strongest survive. According to Brandwatch, the internet has approximately 4.2 billion users, 3.4 billion of which are active social media users—this number has grown by 320 million in the last year. Retail brands are generally aware of all these staggering numbers, and use an average of 5 social media channels to try and grab would-be customers’ attention. Yet because of this, the average person sees hundreds/thousands of ads everyday. Your brand identity, then, is integral to reaching people effectively. Here’s how to start developing a kickass brand identity:
Conduct a brand audit
The first step in determining where you stand in the marketplace is to understand your customer better by doing some market research. Uncovering what’s most important to the growth of your business and analyzing how a given product or service is actually viewed by consumers is a significant task. Also, an in depth competitor analysis never hurt. This might include a complete review of competitor websites, their SEO status, brand identities, and advertising strategies. This is a tangible way of better understanding your competitors, and so better understanding how to differentiate yourself. The information you glean will help you with social media strategies, design choices, and will also colour the type of language you choose to integrate as a key component of your identity.
This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised. You can, in fact, do this step before conducting a brand audit, but you know best what process suits your team. Bottom line: you need to know who you are as a brand in order to get anywhere. Start by identifying your core philosophies. Drafting a mission statement and values can be very helpful to this end. Consider hashing out the following:
- Your mission (why are you here?)
- Your values (what beliefs motivate your business?)
- Your brand personality (if your brand was a person, what qualities would they have?)
- Your brand voice (if your brand was a person, how would they communicate?)
- Your unique positioning (what makes you different from the competition?)
Design, of course!
Creating the look, feel, and tone of the brand is the most exhilarating part, to many. This is the look and feel that will be carried out through all marketing channels—your website, social media channels, ads, packaging, the list goes on. Your design assets are the elements that will determine how your brand is experienced. Your brand’s visual vocabulary will be reflected in the colours and shapes you choose, your fonts, your logo, and your overall style. In other words, establishing a solid design is arguably the most important step in developing a brand identity and building a successful business that accurately represents who you are and what you’re offering the world. Once you find a designer that works for and with you, you’re definitely on the road to establishing your brand identity as a force to be reckoned with!
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