Golden arches, the swoosh, a bitten apple. These symbols spark a brand name as soon as you visualize the image in your mind, right? Chick-fil-A employees say “my pleasure,” Old Spice commercials feel like fever dreams, and healthy hipsters shop at Trader Joe’s. We have conditioned ideas in our heads of what makes a brand stand out, things we see in our day-to-day lives that remind us of that brand.
Having a definitive brand identity can be the difference between a “meh” business and a great business. We want consumers to see your brand paired with vision, then the vision paired with your products.
In this article, we’re going to give you a few tips for how to structure your brand identity, and then how you can keep using that vision in multiple aspects of marketing/product development.
- Find Your Roots
As you think through where you want your company to move forward, take a moment to remember where you came from. It sounds cheesy, but those roots that triggered your business when you started out will keep you from burning out; plus, it will feel more genuine when you talk with clients about your mission.
You want to attract a customer’s eye and ear without making them work too hard. What is the key point of your brand? Focus on that first and foremost, then let the rest fall into place around that central theme.
Consider these questions as you put together a vision board for what you want your identity to be:
- Beyond the logo itself, what words or phrases do you want associated with your company?
- Where do you see yourself performing best in the marketplace?
- Who is your target audience?
- At the end of the day, what do you want clients walking away knowing about you?
Generalizing and maintaining that company profile, then fitting your brand’s actions with that profile, will solidify your brand identity.
- Definition Is Key
Your mission and keywords are what will go before you into board meetings, website searches, and storefronts in the future, the root of everything you do.
Build your brand into something you’re proud of putting on display without needing too much explanation.
What does your organization do best and why? Develop a mission statement from there, if you haven’t already, and use that as the base for your marketing decisions. What is your purpose in your community? Beyond the tangible product you offer, what is your goal at the end of the day? Talk through these things with your partners and make sure you’re on the same page. Defining this for yourself and for your team will make it more defined for your clients as well.
- Create the Connection
The theme should make sense. That means don’t pick a cactus as your logo if your product is yoga classes, unless there is a deeper connection there – make it make sense. Connect the product you are offering with the image and style you’ve selected (almost like classical conditioning, if you’re a psychology buff).
For example, just seeing a green mermaid in a circle may make you suddenly crave coffee. Hearing a low bell might make you turn your steering wheel toward Taco Bell. When you think about giving to those less fortunate, you visualize Goodwill (the goal of the store is literally in the name!). We want a company slogan, image, and mission that flows as one.
Sharing Is Caring – Increase Community Visibility
The last step is putting your company brand in as many places and on as many products as make sense for you. Try not to go overboard (nobody needs another keychain), but look for practical ways to share your brand identity.
Drop off samples of branded items at places that fit your audience. For example, if you’re in the exercise market, ask to drop off some of your branded wristbands at the local gym. If you’re a dog grooming company, share some tiny gift bags of dog treats with your card on them at a local vet office. Your brand identity will be developed with the relationships you build
At the end of the day, creativity and persistence win. Take time to develop key elements of your foundational brand identity that you’re really pleased with, then share it with the world!