Chances are, when someone mentions soda, Coca-Cola or Pepsi immediately come to mind. These two firms have done a great job of building and defining an identity for their business, therefore keeping their brand top-of-mind among their target audience.
Your business identity, also known as a brand identity, espouses your company’s purpose, strengths, values and attributes so that your target audience can connect with and relate to you. Simply defined, your business identity is what comes to mind when people hear your brand’s name or the name of your product or service.
While logos, typography and physical looks are important aspects of brand identity, there is more to it than just these physical attributes. At the core of a business’s identity is the emotive connection both internal and external stakeholders have with your products.
Looking to define a clear identity for your business? Here’s how to get started:
Your brand identity has everything to do with how consumers perceive your products alongside that of the competitors. Therefore, to define your business identity you need to be clear about where you stand in the market. A good place to start is conducting a SWOT analysis to determine your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and the threats facing your business.
A SWOT analysis provides a clearer picture on the strengths and opportunities to leverage and the weaknesses and threats to mitigate. This allows you to meet your audience’s needs, communicate your business values and position your brand in a positive light at all times.
What vision do you have for your business and how will it be valuable to your customers? Your business vision should spell out your ideology, what you believe and your predicted future.
To define your vision, you need to be clear about your current mission and purpose, and then spell out what you are looking to achieve in the future.
For example, Amazon’s vision statement encompasses an ideology, and an aspirational and inspirational future:
“To be Earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
What does your business do to improve the lives of its target audience? At the heart of your business identity is your purpose or your reason for existing.
A clearly defined purpose is what propels consumers to engage with your brand and to care about the role your product or service plays in their lives. In other words, defining your purpose is about building an emotional connection with your audience to get them excited about your brand.
Amazon also clearly defines its purpose, one that elicits an emotional connection:
“To build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
When defining your business identity, think about how you would want consumers to identify with your brand. If your brand were a person, how would people describe it—cool, convenient, stylish, safe, exotic, delicious?
Personifying your brand is really about making it relatable to your (human) customers. People connect better and engage deeply with others and things that reflect a similar personality as them. It makes sense that we are more drawn to friends, lovers, colleagues, icons and products that are more like us.
Define you brand’s personality by considering your audience’s attributes, needs and likes. What do they like to be associated with? Young age, luxury, style, hipness? What needs are they looking to fulfill with your product? Comfort, good health, happiness?
In defining your business identity, you need to tell and show your customers how your product will benefit them. What do you offer that your competitors do not, to meet the needs of your customers?
What do you promise to offer your customers that they may not find elsewhere?
In presenting your value proposition, it is important to understand and highlight your strengths and to leverage the available opportunities to gain a competitive edge in the eyes of your target audience.
The physical look and feel of your brand may seem cosmetic but it helps to bring together all the other pillars of your business identity. The truth is, if people do not like how your product feels or looks, they may not care much about your cool marketing campaign or your epic vision/mission statement.
Both your brand outlook for example, logos, websites, typography etc. and your product outlook for example, physical attributes and functionality need to be engaging to your target audience. If the look and feel of your overall brand and specific product isolate your audience, no amount of marketing will suffice.
Ensure a consistent look and feel for your brand and other related properties across the board to create a unified brand identity.
Defining your business identity offers unheralded clarity on how to engage and connect deeply with current and potential customers. It also offers employees and customers a common, unifying ground to act as loyal ambassadors for your brand across geographic and demographic boundaries.