Strong brand identities don’t happen by accident. There are principles in creating a strong brand identity for a business in order for it to be a winning brand. While extremely well-known brands have been around for decades such as Coke, Apple, and even universities like Harvard, they all had to start somewhere. But how about do exactly go about it?
Here are 5 steps to Creating a Strong Brand Identity for Your Business
1) Research About Your Industry as Much as You can and Never Stop Researching.
This is vital when you are starting a new business and you plan on taking your business national or global. Spending 3-6 months of deep research about the history of the industry will not only allow you to become familiar with your industry, it will also let you know what some of the weaknesses are with your specific industry.
For example if you plan to open up a boutique hotel, it’s important to understand how the economy affects the potential of attracting corporate clients. Research will also give you insight on how your hotel can be different from others. Yes, customers can sleep anywhere in the city, but why should they choose your boutique hotel over a Pan Pacific or a hostel?
Your research may also give you insight into major gaps that others have left out. This is why Red Bull Energy drink was quite successful in creating a brand identity. Yes, coffee was available as a caffeine beverage, but it was Red Bull that realized that coffee seemed kind of old, and their research allowed them to tap into a target market that focused on youth, excitement and the extreme. This brings me to my next point.
2) Don’t Just Think Different, Be Different
In order to create a strong brand identity for your business, you need to be different from your competition. It’s also important that this difference be better from other businesses in the long run.
If you have an advantage that can be easily copied then this isn’t much of an advantage. This is why Groupon was a great idea to start, but it was a low barrier for other businesses to copy.
3) Understand Your Target Market as Much as Possible
This is just an extension to point one. But once you’ve done your research and you begin to understand more about the type of people who would be attracted to your business, it’s then time to dive in and figure out what makes your target market tick.
This is essential to creating a strong brand identity because your brand must be emotionally and beneficially relevant to your target market.
In order to know this, you have to know what makes your target market tick. When we were doing research for our client Gold Coast Seafood. We realized our target market wanted something that was convenient, healthy, and extremely easy to prepare.
We also realized how important it was to be able to have sustainable food products. We also found out that our target market was willing to pay more in certain provinces of Canada than they were of others, and how our target market would choose our product over other in international markets such as Europe and Asia.
Little pieces of information such as that allowed us to get a clearer picture of how our branding would be used to attract the target market for Gold Coast Seafood.
4) Keep Your Visual Marketing Materials Consistent
When developing a strong brand identity, it’s vital to keep all your marketing materials and visuals as consistent as possible. This includes your logo, the colors that your choose to represent your company and logo, the style of graphics you use for your website, Facebook and Twitter. The type of corporate material you develop such as quotes, invoices and brochures are also vital to building a strong brand identity for your business.
Too often there is a lack of an integrated look among the different marketing materials that are created for a business. One person may design your website, and another contractor may design your packaging, but if you’re not able to get a consistent look among both, it’s going to confuse consumers, you don’t want to that marketing mistake.
This is why I advocate keeping design projects within one marketing company as much as possible when it comes to branding. A good company will know how to integrate visual branding across different channels from brochures to websites. If you have too many people from different companies working on your project, they will all offer you a different opinion which can slow down a project and cause headaches, and will almost guaranteed weaken the visual branding identity of your business.
5) Keep your Copywriting Marketing Messages Consistent
In order to create a strong brand identity, you need to understand what your ultimate goal and strategy is. Once you’re able to establish those, then you’ll want to ensure that there is consistency in the tone of your writing in your marketing messages. This includes the copywriting for your website, your brochures, and your videos.
In some material, it’s okay to change up the tone once in a while such as your blog, but the majority of your written material should focus on the marketing strategy. This means that your writing should focus on reaching out to your target market, and focus on solving their pain points. Ensure that your writing is focused on the benefits of using your product or service, and not so the features.
When you’re able to follow these five steps, you’ll be able to create a strong brand identity for your business, whether it’s for a hotel or an automotive repair shop.
If you’re interested in knowing more about how to create a strong brand for your business, feel free to contact us.
Photo courtesy of nickwheeleroz’s.