Brand Identity: 5 Basic Steps You Need to Cover

McDonalds, Nike, Dominos Pizza, Chanel… What do these four have in common? Powerful brand identity. Because, chances are, you’ve heard of most of them, and there’s reason why. Just how powerful the brand?

Let’s just say, according to this article, children recognize the fast food chain’s iconic logo before their own name. And, in 1998, 97% of Americans recognized the Nike’s swoosh logo (chances are, this figure has increased both nationally and internationally).

How do startups and small and medium businesses (SMBs) create a strong brand identity that makes customers keep coming back? Here are 5 tips to get you started.

1. Know What is a Strong Brand

According to Forbes, strong brands have these four things in common: recognition, trust, financial value, and a boost in employee morale.

When business owners have a million things going on, it’s easy to get their brand identity muddled. To ensure you stay on track, always keep those four elements in mind, and regularly ask yourself and your marketing and design team these questions:

  • Recognition: What will customer think or remember when they see insert-logo or insert-image?
  • Trust: Does insert-item support our mission statement and build trust with our target audience?
  • Financial Value: How will insert-item impact my return on investment?
  • Boost in Employee Morale: How will insert-item impact my team?

2. Don’t Ignore Personal Branding

Personal branding can also help (or hinder) a company’ brand. Point taken, brand messages shared on social media between employees don’t just get 100 but 561% greater reach than the same brand message from the company’ main social media account.

Long story short, if your employees feel excited to work for your company, chances are, they’ll be posting about it.

At the same time, have a social media policy in place that specifically outlines what employees can and cannot say about your company to avoid negatively impacting brand messaging.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Re-Brand but Do So Cautiously

Consider Nike which transitioned from Blue Ribbon Sports to the Nike we now know. However, not all rebranding experiences turn out just like Nike. In fact, if companies become too reckless, they can end up making a bad business deal as Entrepreneur points out Netflix did in 2011.

The movie streaming provider teamed up with Qwickster, and announced that it would split into two companies.

Long-time Netflix customers didn’t like it: two companies, less convenience, and 60% more cost. With 800,000 subscribers down, Netflix quickly realized their branding mistake and ditched the rebranding move.

4. Keep Your Mission Statement and Vision

When rebranding, feel free to change the story but try to keep the mission statement and vision intact. The reason? Your mission statement and vision is the foundation of your business.

Think of it as a house: you can change the structure but, remove the foundation, you leave you’re a shaky structure.

5. It’s the Little Things That Counts

You see, the more you can get your logo in front of the eyes of your target audience, the more likely they’ll remember it. Which is why you shouldn’t forget publishing it on social channels but also make an impact with your table cover.

Final Thoughts: Branding Impacts

According to Forbes, branding pulls in sales versus marketing that pushes. Which sounds easier? Have any more tips to help businesses strengthen their brands? Leave a comment.

Importance of Branding for Your Business

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales ArticleBranding are the logos and design choices that you make for your business. In many ways, they act as the “face” of your company, and this is the “face” that your customers and associates alike will interact with. Poor branding insinuates that your company is poor, while good branding, and, even better, a great brand marketing scheme, can make a company famous. Branding is key, and it starts with a good logo design, and continues from there. Investing in branding isn’t just a waste of money, it can create long-term, positive associations that bring in more business and increased reputation.

1. Creates Brand Association

When you have reached the point where a simple icon can make someone think of your product and the great associations they have with it, then you’ve done your job. When you create a brand, you create an image that people learn to associate with your product or your service. This, in turn, leads to credibility and even increased sales, since consumers trust in your product and your service.

This is incredibly important if you’re about to launch a new product and want the launch to excel. If you have inconsistent or poor branding, you will have to start marketing your new product from ground zero. If, on the other hand, your brand show authority and is considered reliable, then you can easily sell this new product as an extension. If people trust you and trust your brand, they’ll be more likely to buy a new product you put out.

2. It Can Increase Value

Some branding is designer, which means that not only can you benefit from good associations, but you also benefit from having your name and your logo increase the price of your product. Think of it as a signature on a piece of artwork; it’s there to assure your loyal customers that they are buying your brand, and not some cheap knockoff.

3. It Shows Professionalism

When you have logos and branding, it shows professionalism. This means having custom business forms created so that your branding and your image is repeated for every transaction. It means having customized creations that look professional and thought out. It also instills a sense of pride within your company, showing that you care about the small details, and that your company is a unified business regardless of sector.

4. It Shows Your Values

Great branding is, effectively, a 24/7 marketing tool. Regardless of time of day, it should show your values and highlight your ideals. Is your company fun and exciting? Is it working hard on being environmentally sustainable? Use your branding to showcase these principles through the use of color and through the logo design you choose. Typography alone can tell a story, and proper branding requires you to take that story and share its narrative in everything that you do.

Branding is critical when it comes to creating and fostering relationships. It is how people learn to recognize your company, and it is how they become more likely to buy from you again. Work on coupling your great branding with excellent customer service and a good product, and you’ll create a great association that keeps them coming back.

Photo by Julian O’hayon on Unsplash

Boosting Your Customers Confidence in Your Brand

Attracting and keeping customers, especially for small businesses is a delicate balance. You need to ensure that they are getting a quality product, but also a good service. If either of these things is not up to standard, then it can cost your business money. Your customers and clients need to feel wanted, appreciated and safe for them to do business with you. If your business is struggling to give your customers confidence, then there are some simple ways you can try to boost it.

Let Them Deal with People

One of the biggest complaints from customers and clients when dealing with customer service is that everything is too automated. If they try to contact your company and are met with an automated email reply or an automated message on your telephone, then they are more likely to walk away. Make sure that your customers can get through to a person as soon as possible without going through too many steps. Also, send them a personalized reply to emails advising that you are dealing with their request. By allowing your customers to deal with real people, you can dramatically raise the confidence and happiness of your customers.

Be Approachable

In the same way as eliminating automated lines, you also need to be approachable to your customers when they need you. You can use social media and emails to let your customers get in touch easily, though it is important to reply to them promptly. It is also important to show how your customers can contact you on your website. If you bury your customer service number at the bottom of the page, then your customers will become frustrated.

Keep Them Informed

There is nothing worse for a customer that not being told when something is wrong. If their order has been delayed or cancelled, you must inform them as soon as possible. If you do not, then they may have wasted time waiting for a delivery that hasn’t arrived. In the same vein, you need to be honest and open about any problems with customers data. If you suffer a data breach, you need to inform them as soon as possible so they can protect their personal information. You should also employ digital forensic services to look into the breach and feedback any loss of data to your customers and the authorities.

Make Payment Easy

You might be surprised that some companies don’t make ordering or paying for their goods especially easy for their customers. They are so concerned about informing them of the goods and services they provide that they don’t make the payment systems obvious. It can frustrate and put your customers off purchasing if you don’t give them a quick and easy way to pay.

Your business relies on its customers, so why not make them feel important by giving them what they need? It will not only boost your customer’s confidence but also boost your sales as a result.

Staying Relevant as an Older, Small Business Today

Today’s world is an entrepreneurial one, and it seems more so than ever before. Indeed, how many times do you find yourself reading the business pages and discovering, yet again, that a small start-up has positively exploded onto the scene; you try at the same time of this discovery, not to spill your coffee and thereby ruin your suit before that crucial meeting with your investors in an hour? How is it that these newcomers seem to hold the secrets to success in this somewhat strange modern world?

Communication Technology

In a highly competitive digital world, the key is to keep up with the latest technology. It really does pay dividends. If you’re still operating on a fax machine when your competitors are speeding their way ahead with emails (an extreme example, but it serves the point), how can you hope to keep up, let alone win? At the very least, your company needs to be on high-speed internet, working on computers that weren’t just dug up from the early 90’s, and connecting with customers via a communication system enabled by VoiceOnyx telephone companies or other such providers. Further, bear in mind that if you’re well connected in this manner, you’re unfortunately a target these days and so the latest in cybersecurity is crucial, too. Everything is pretty much online in the modern day and age – including as this does eCommerce and Cloud usage – and so it is that theft has sadly become digital as well.

The Economic Climate – A Question of Strategy

What you might overlook, when you feel yourself turn green in discovery of yet another successful newcomer to the entrepreneurial pool of competition, is the state of the economy when those companies began and thrived. It is often those who made it in the toughest of economic climates whose praises are sung the loudest, as trust in their ability has been established. Look at your own firm’s history – can you compare? Further, what of your business strategy (including lead generation), when studied side by side? Are you still paying out for those big poster ads? Stop now and get online, and get marketing by using social media platforms and other internet-enabled means. For one thing, it’s quicker and the most expensive commodity of the present day is time.Again, prominence comes digitalized this day and age and so if your company lacks a website, even the most archaically developed, and doesn’t have an up-to-date blog, then your chances of keeping up with your younger, savvier competitors is sliding quickly away.

Greyer; Not Necessarily Greater

Loyalty from customers to businesses is a dying quality and so, though you may argue that you’ve been at this game for far longer than your competitors have been around, adapting to the mindset of someone just starting out is the largest and most beneficial step you can take to stay relevant in the modern marketplace. As the saying goes, if you can’t beat them, join them.

What Should Your Marketing Priorities Be As A New Business?

A lot of new business owners are learning as they go, and have to figure things out quickly and in-depth to even get out of the starting blocks. And one of these items on the long list of to-do’s is marketing. Not just advertising, but branding, communities, and social media. Marketing isn’t something that can be overlooked or left to the last minute, nor can it be done in a half-hearted manner.

The way you market your business, in the beginning, will stick with your company forever. Think about it like building a box for a product that will be stuck on a shelf in a store. You have to make the packaging look as appealing as possible, perfect for the intended audience, and enticing to all. It also has to accurately, and honestly represent the product within the packaging, with no half-truths or promises that it can’t uphold.

Luckily, you’re not an inanimate object stuck on a store shelf – you can actually reach out and talk to your potential ‘buyers,’ create a relationship with them and would a reputation for being a good, honest product.

When planning your marketing strategy, you might be trying to work out what aspects deserve your attention more. Which sub-headings should sit above the rest and should be prioritized. Unfortunately, they are all almost as important as each other, the priorities shifting per business, however, here is our list of the most important aspects of marketing.

1. Reputation

We all studied The Scarlet Letter in school – the story of a girl who ruined her reputation by having intercourse before marriage. We’re not suggesting that we should act as they did in the book, but the lesson is still valid – a reputation lost isn’t easy to recover. As you begin your business journey, you need to set out a mission statement or motto – something that shows who you are, where you want to go, and what your company stands for. And you need to live by that statement.

If you declare that you can deliver a product anywhere, anytime, but can actually deliver within a 50-mile radius Monday to Friday, then you’re selling a lie and your reputation will be ruined before it has a chance to begin. Having a brand reputation overview will help you in so many ways – the foremost being the fact that you will see where your company need improving in these areas.

A good reputation can make up for the size of your company, your newness in the industry, and even the fact that your product might be more expensive than a competitor. People will pay for quality – and not just in the product, but in customer service, delivery, and any other dealing they have with you.

2. Branding

Creating a brand is more than just a color scheme and a name – although that is an essential part of the branding process. Branding is about establishing yourself as a company, and being recognizable by the public. You can do this through traditional mens like merchandise and packaging, but you can also look into sponsorship, like for like trades, and getting involved in local events.

A small company should always look to become involved in the local community. Your reputation will tie in with your brand here – your name will be promoted through word of mouth, and your reputation determines whether those promotions are positive or not. Get involved with charities, local festivals or competitions. Put yourself out there without being asked and help your local community where you can.

3. Reach

As your brand and reputation grow, as will your reach. It’s a natural process for good, successful businesses. However, don’t just leave it up to time to grow. You can easily expand your reach through research. Look at the areas and demographics around you – what isn’t being tapped into that you can? A coffee shop might see the need for a late night opening for students. A trunk company might think about expanding into smaller courier services.

There is always a new area to explore, a new audience to invite in. You can always count on a truck company to deliver huge quantities of goods, but what if one of your clients needs a quick influx of a certain product? This is where a smaller, quicker courier service would come in handy, and be a unique service you can use. A coffee shop will always attract students, so what about moms? Is there a mom and baby class nearby? If so why not reach out and offer half-price drinks to each mom after their class? That way you’re sure to get a new, regular group each week, who will spend hours chatting and drinking coffee.

4. Advertising

At the bottom of our list is advertising. Surprise! Yes, advertising is important – it is something that every business needs to do, but if you do the three previous points correctly, you don’t have to lean on it as a crutch.

When delving into the world of advertising, don’t just stick to online advertising; there is an entire world of tried and tested, physical advertising. Don’t ignore one to favor the other. They should compliment each other, with the same images, colors, and slogans. Your branding comes into focus here as people will, hopefully, recognize who you are and what you do. Look at successful companies like Nike and Starbucks; you know exactly what that little tick, and who that siren is, and what each company offers.

This list is, obviously, just a guide. Your business will demand that you focus on certain aspects first. But never let yourself forget the importance of marketing, and what a good campaign can do for your company. And, above all, start as you mean to go on – especially when it comes to your mission, promises and qualities.