HOW TO FIND AND DEFINE YOUR BRAND IDENTITY
When we think about the branding of Apple, it's always about how sleek, sturdy, modern and compact the design is. Then of course we turn our focus to the usability and function of the mobile phone, laptops, headphones and of course their watches.
As Jeff Bezos says “Branding is what people say about you when you're not in the room”. Tis is true and couldn't be summed up any simpler.
Do you know what your brand identity is? What does your brand say about you?
This topic is all about finding your brand identity, so your target audience will know what your business stands for.
What does brand identity mean?
“Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers”, according to the online Business Dictionary.
Your brand is how your business is represented through it's reputation based on the purpose, intent, personality and the passion it conveys. When you really think about your brands identity, you will start to realise that it does include everything you put out there for your target market to consume. Every single piece of it is the concept you want to share and what you want your customers to feel when they come in contact with your business. Do you want them to feel warm, loved and important or confident, unique and vibrant? Each business has its own feeling and you will need to figure out what you would like your customer to feel.
To help illustrate brand identity with a wider view, I will be talking about Jean-Noel Kapferer, an internationally recognised branding specialist who created a model called “Brand Identity Prism”. This prism shows six aspects of brand identity: personality, culture, physique, relationship, self-image and reflection.
For further understanding of the above image, here is a break down of what each element represents:
This is the recognisable, physical representation of the brand. Which includes the logo, packaging, online platforms and the logo. An example would be Apple, so its physique would be the logo, clean lines, futuristic packaging, etc.
This is how the brand communicates with everyone who comes in contact with it. How it communicates varies from writing font, design style, chosen colour scheme, voice and quite possibly the kind of celebrities who may represent the brand through endorsements. Apples personality is edgy, futuristic, refreshing, happy and all about enhancing the life of each person they come in contact with.
There is a strong connection between a brands culture and the business itself. If we once again look at Apples culture, it's about being innovative and diverse, which means they are proud and loud about how much of a melting pot their organisation hosts. They do not discriminate against sex, disability, background, dress sense etc. They are constantly standing out for their unique approach in product and staff.
This is the relationship a brand has with its customers. It looks at how each communication relates with its target market or how its branding influences and delivers a service to their customers. Apple is all about giving each customer a great experience from the purchase to the opening of the product. Did you know that they purposely make sure that when you open one of their phone cases, the opening is slow, smooth and beautiful? The packaging alone is just so sleek , you always feel as though you have just purchased the most expensive, top quality product on the market.
Although it has been proven that there are laptops and phones out there that operate better than Apple, people are still purchasing Apple because of the relationship they have built with each customer as soon as they come in contact with their brand.
This is pinpointing who the core customer base of a brand is. For example, Apple may target 21 – 35 years old as their number one targets, even though they have a much broader audience than that. This is all about the customers who actually use the brand, rather than the brand itself.
This focuses on how each customer will see him or herself by when using the brand. This is important, because it is all about your target audience and who he or she may look like. If you haven't created the image of your target audience, it may be a good idea to click here and have a go.
An Apple user for instance, may see him or herself as confident, loves technology, values unique products etc.
Now that you have an understanding of what a brand identity is and why it's important to have one. You're probably now wondering how to apply this to your own business as a Mumpreneur. This is very important and can be done by working through the following:
Who are you in your private life?
Mother, Partner, Daughter, Sister, Londoner, Fashionista, Writer, etc. But there are other characteristics that you can pull on to further describe who you are, such as your ambitions, your personality, interests, what motivates and inspires you or even your values as a person.
What are your roles publicly?
Business owner, networking expert, office worker, nail technician, hairdresser etc
What stands out here more than anything is the vast difference between your private life and your personal life. So, inevitably, you have to combine the two to create a strong personal brand identity.
It's important to get your brand identity right, because it is what your target market will see before they see you and of course after they have either spoken to you or interacted with your business. Only when your customers are clear about who you are and what you are trying to achieve will they be able to fully trust and understand your brand. When they trust your brand, they will be inclined to share your business with others they come in contact with.
Uncover your personality
By your personality, I mean the personality of your business. Take a moment to think about what you say when you describe your business to anyone who ask what you do. What do you say? Use those exact words to create a plan or to pin down key phrases that will help to evolve the emotional aspects of your brand.
As you develop the personality of your business, you will realise very quickly whether it falls into the traditional and well established group or the more fun, modern and energetic group. If you fall into the traditional personality group, you will probably exude a more formal feeling, with the use of strong lines, colours, fonts, which comes across in the way you communicate your message.
If you are more modern and energetic, you tend to use bright colours, on trend designs with a much lighter tone when communicating with your audience.
What's your voice?
In the same way you use those keywords to describe your brands personality you will also need them to create your voice. Your brands voice is the way you communicate with your customers; it needs to be consistent across all your marketing methods, your design choices and even the way you deal with customer complaints.
Take a few minutes to jot down all the keywords that you feel relates to your business, then go over them and pick the ones that are perfect for the way you want your voice to be perceived. These keywords can be turned into phrases that you could very well used as your mission statement, in marketing materials, customers service communications, website, social media channels etc. Having a blog on your website will be a great way to introduce your voice to your audience, where you can speak to them directly.
How will you identify your brand?
This is where design really comes and it will help to create the identity of your brand, so when someone sees a specific colour or font, they will automatically think of your brand. The logo design you choose, website layout, colours, images and various other design elements will create a great impact on your brands identity.
Here are a few examples of design associates:
Images – Consumers connect with images that includes a face or the visual of a person; showing a landscape will leave even more room for them to interpret on their own.
Shapes – Having a rounder edge comes across more laid back and casual whereas using hard edges gives off a more formal look.
Colours – Using warm colours reflects a happier more stimulating view; cooler colours reflect a relaxed and calm environment.
Spaces – Using open spaces will give a more inviting feel as opposed to tighter spaces giving off a more chaotic and uncomfortable feel.
Create your own style collage
Once you have done all the above and you have decided what your brand identity looks like, take some time to write that down too. Then you can use that information to create a collage of images that connects with your brands identity. Create a collage that details everything about your business, from your images, colours, fonts and voice.
Every business you come in contact with has a personality. Understanding yours is much easier than you think, simply because that identity will connect to who you are as a person. Everything that is unique about you is what will make your business stand out.
So what is your brand identity?
Why not share what you've come up with me - it would be lovely to see it.