5 steps to developing a strong brand identity
Although it can be exciting, defining a brand identity isn’t a ‘fluffy’ exercise. A solid brand identity can be the critical foundation for customer acquisition and retention, and competitive advantage.
Every company should have a brand identity, as it is your ‘face of the business’- how your audience perceives you. While your brand identity may evolve slightly over time, taking the time at the beginning to get your brand identity right will help to create a solid look, feel and tone of your business to the outside world.
Developing your brand identity is a five-step process that aims to clearly define what your brand stands for:
1. Vision statement
A carefully crafted vision statement is at the heart of every successful business. It should be aspirational and inspirational, encompassing the big picture and describing where the company aspires to be in the future. It should be short and concise and not explain how the vision will be met (that’s for the mission statement in step 2!). Defining this statement clearly and concisely communicates overall business objectives and can serve as a tool for strategic decision-making across the company.
2. Mission statement
A mission statement defines the purpose of a business. Developing a mission statement early on is critical as they provide both you and your employees with a purpose and framework. When developing a mission statement, it should answer these four essential questions:
- What do we do?
- How do we do it?
- Who do we do it for?
- What value are we bringing?
Your mission statement doesn’t have to look the same as everyone else’s. You should decide on what is important to you and your customers and go from there.
3. Brand essence
Brand essence is the ‘heart and soul’ and the core characteristic that defines your brand. Your essence, which is usually stated in two or three words, speaks to the intangible emotions you want your customers to feel when they experience your brand and should remain consistent across all product categories. When defining the essence of your brand, you should consider these points:
- When your customers experience your product or service, what emotions do they feel?
- If your brand were a person, how would you describe its personality?
4. Brand personality
Defining a brand’s personality is the application of human characteristics to a business. Just like humans, a brand’s personality describes the way a brand speaks, behaves, thinks, acts and reacts. Making a list of adjectives that match the character of your brand can be helpful in envisioning your brand as a person.
When choosing your brand personality, several criteria should be applied:
- The personality should compliment the business strategy and the brand- it should play an advancing role.
- The personality should appear authentic- it should be backed up with evidence in the form of value propositions and customer experience.
- There should be programmes in place that help to bring the personality to life to ensure it’s not an empty aspiration.
5. Value proposition
A value proposition is a statement that explains what benefit your product or services provide, for who and how you do it uniquely well, i.e distinctly better than your competition! Your value proposition is your cost vs. benefit equation that shows your prospects motivation. When creating your value proposition, you should:
- Identify customer benefits- Make a list of all the benefits your products/services offer to customers.
- Link benefits to value offering- Identify what value your products/services bring to the customer.
- Differentiate and position yourself- Make it clear who your target customer is, what you offer to them and how you are different.