Plenty of business owners understand that brand identity is important to their marketing. However, many aren’t sure exactly what it constitutes, how to approach it, or what the common pitfalls are.
Your brand is a lot more than a logo. Your brand is the identity of your business, and the emotional response people get when they engage with you. For example, are you a premium brand that sits at the exclusive end of your market, or a more affordable, accessible option? Are you informal and fun (like Innocent Drinks), or serious and reassuring (like Lloyds Bank)?
Your website branding includes the visual identity of your site, and the content that’s on the site. Offline, your brand identity comes through in any communication you have with the outside world, from the emails you send to the face-to-face presentations you give to clients.
Supermarkets are a great example of how different businesses in the same market have different brand identities. Tesco is affordable and markets to young families; Waitrose is premium and markets to an older, often more affluent segment. These differences comes through in everything each of them does, from their website branding, the products they sell and the look and feel of their stores.
So, when you’re forging your own brand identity, what are the classic pitfalls to avoid?
Neglecting to understand your audience
Any branding exercise should be built upon a solid understanding of your target customer. How can you create a brand identity that resonates with your target customer if you don’t know who they are? Do your market research and build up a picture of who your customer groups are. Outline their demographics, interests, motivations, problems and values.
The more insight you have, the more you’ll be able to create something that they relate to. Missing out this step means you’ll be essentially taking a stab in the dark, and you’ll be putting money and resources into creating something that you don’t know will work.
Trying to be everything to everyone
You can’t be everything to everyone. Waitrose can’t appeal to premium customers who are willing to spend more, at the same time as appealing to young families on a tight weekly budget.
Whilst it might be tempting to try to appeal to as many people as possible, you run the risk of diluting your message or communicating a confusing message. The most likely outcome is you’ll end up appealing to nobody.
Armed with insight into your customer groups, focus on a brand identity that you feel will resonate with them. And accept that there will be some people that you won’t be able to make an impression on.
It’s no good working hard to create strong website branding if the rest of your communications strike a completely different tone. Your business needs to live and breathe its identity. That means everything from emails you send to the way you speak to clients and your brochures and packaging.
Pay close attention to visual style and colours, the tone that you write in and the specific language you use to describe products and services. These should all be consistent across everything you do.
Without consistency, your efforts might go to waste. People won’t buy in to the good stuff you’ve done, because the identity you’ve created will be quashed when they come across a brochure that carries different branding to your website branding.
Being too focused on sales
A brand identity should communicate the personality of your business. With so much marketing content out there, people can be selective with where they spend their money. People choose brands that they like, and that they relate to. Building a brand should be seen as building a relationship with your customers, rather than simply selling to them. Do it well, and the sales will come.
Contact YUMYUM today if you’ve got any questions about developing and implementing your brand strategy.