Advice From the Experts on Building Brand Identity | Simplemachine
Brand identity is at the heart of marketing and means something unique to every organization. It’s impossible to be successful at business without some branding, even for sole proprietors. When it comes to digital marketing through websites, social media, email, display ads, and other internet campaigns, building a brand takes time. But when using multiple channels, digital marketing can eventually be the most efficient way to make a brand with various segments of a target audience.
Why Every Brand Must Be Unique
Every business entity must find creative ways to stand out from not just direct industry competitors, but also from the overall barrage of marketing messages that consumers face daily. In a sense, each enterprise must define branding as its identity that connects with customers or clients.
The American Marketing Association defines the term “brand” as a “name, term, design, symbol, or other feature” that makes a product or service distinguished from others. French marketing expert Jean-Noel Kapferer, Ph.D., introduced what he called a “brand identity prism” to help marketers visualize branding components and how they fit together. Here are those components and what they mean:
- Physique – Physical qualities of the brand such as logo
- Personality – Character, style or voice of the brand
- Culture – The basis for lifestyles and values that shape branding
- Relationship – How brand associations are connected
- Reflection – Target consumer characteristics
- Self-image – What consumers think of themselves
Branding is a concept that exists at the crossroads of art and consumer psychology. At one time, art was considered separate from business, but now it’s clear that art and creative thinking are essential to entrepreneurial success. Apple, now one of the world’s top brands, is one of several tech companies that has paved the way toward a more artistic approach to business.
As an art, branding reflects the visuals of a graphic designer, who must also have a command of software tools for developing logos and other original visuals. On the scientific side, branding is about making observations and estimates on projections and then analyzing performance data to streamline the business.
Elements of Brand Building
- SWOT Analysis – A review of your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats
- Visual Statement – The direction of where the company is moving
- Mission Statement – A brief description of company purpose
- Essence – An emotional response to a brand among customers
- Key Audience – Specific people who interact with branding
- Brand Positioning Statement – Identifies unique value and benefits to target customers
- Business Goals – Short and long-term financial expectations
- Brand Personality – Reflects how the brand communicates with its audience
- Key Messaging – Key points for the audience to remember
SWOT analysis is a particularly useful tool across all industries. It’s a way to present a snapshot of the state of your business and the challenges moving forward. The data for analysis can come from a wide range of sources such as online surveys, contests, membership sign-ups, website analytics, and reviews.
Another key to building a brand online is to stay up-to-date with Google algorithms. Even though Google is often vague about the details of its updates, its evolution in search results continues to move toward quality content and connecting with the intent of the search query as much as possible.
Since Google is an essential factor in building an online brand, you have to play by its rules or just become buried and ignored online. Your site’s content needs to be based on the most relevant keywords that define your brand. At the same time, you can’t flood your website with those words and phrases because search engines will then flag you for spam. Using keywords in moderation and applying them to more in-depth information helps build authority with Google, as part of showcasing genuine expertise.
Path to Successful Branding
The key to branding success is interacting with customers enough to create memorable experiences that become associated with their lifestyles and values on an emotional level. It’s kind of like aiming to make a brand name and image an equivalent for what the product or service is about. Ideally, buyers will think of your brand as a useful solution that enriches them personally or professionally.
Building brand awareness is the first phase of a company’s rise in the market. The next major step is to develop brand loyalty, which comes from the way you treat your customers. That’s why customer service is considered monumental for any operation. A hotel that treats its guests like intruders may lose a lot of business to friendlier hotels. Online feedback through reviews and testimonials has become a significant factor in purchasing decisions for many consumers.
Startups should initially focus on developing a website and social media profile and then expand toward a multimedia presentation. Once the business builds an email marketing list of subscribers for a periodic newsletter or another type of company update, it can then develop a personalized rapport with individuals. Engagement with target audience members creates data that can be analyzed for streamlining the brand.
Branding Through Different Channels
While traditional media is still useful for branding on a mass scale, the more efficient route to connecting directly with target audiences is through digital marketing. It starts with understanding how to run a business online, which requires quality design, content, and marketing strategy. From there, the evolution of a brand should be grown through various forms of media, both online and offline.
Running online ads on display networks is typically the fastest way to get the word out about a new brand. These campaigns put your name at the top and sides of search results pages, and social media news feeds. Facebook only serves users a small percentage of the posts from friends’ lists for free, but you can purchase customized ads for deeper reach into your target audience.
Video production has become an essential driver of modern branding, generating an endless stream of new leads and reviews that influence even more leads. The power of video cannot be underestimated, also if production is based on a limited budget. Giving followers visual evidence of your business helps solidify credibility and create a more personalized bond with viewers. It’s an excellent medium for product demonstrations.
The more creativity you can put into your site through different types of media – while remaining consistent in image, theme, mission, and values – the more interest you’ll raise among site followers. The key is to get them to keep coming back to your site and social media pages to explore new information about your offerings. Feeding people new material about your brand that connects with their interests should be the main priority.
Building a brand takes quite a bit of work, which is why many organizations outsource to digital marketers. Contact us at Simplemachine to learn more about how we can help you build your brand online with the most modern strategies.