What is a Brand Identity?
Brand identity is not one specific aspect of a business. It’s comprised of multiple factors, such as company values, communication style, product offerings, logos, color palettes, and more. All of these elements help portray your brand to the outside world. But the world’s perception of those factors ultimately becomes your brand identity.
The McDonald’s identity starts with the golden arches. But it’s much more than that. What do you think of when you see that logo or hear the name? Some of you might think of Ronald McDonald. Others imagine the tastes and smell of a Big Mac and fries.
Regardless of what you think of, specifically, McDonald’s has established a global brand. Everyone knows exactly what to expect from this company; they are the epitome of a fast food chain.
Why Put Effort Into Building a Brand?
Branding builds credibility and establishes trust between businesses and consumers. It’s what entices people to buy from you in the first place, and keeps them coming back for more in the future.
Whether you’re in Los Angeles, New York, Paris, or Rome, you know exactly what you’re getting when you walk into a Starbucks. You could get a bigger cup of coffee for a fraction of the cost at a gas station or small local doughnut shop, but those places don’t have the same branding power as Starbucks.
What makes that shirt worth more than a $5 shirt? Why is an iPhone worth so much better than a $100 smartphone? Are Nikes really worth five times more than a generic pair of sneakers?
Why is it important to have a cohesive brand?
Since your brand identity flows through all aspects of your business, it’s important that it possesses a cohesiveness that conveys a unified message to consumers. Doing so generates the following benefits to your business.
Strong brand identity
Imagine meeting a fun, happy-go-lucky guy at a party. A few days later, you meet him again, but this time, he’s dour and unfriendly. It’s unsettling. You don’t know which is the guy’s real identity.
Customers have the same experience with an inconsistent brand. A cohesive brand creates consistency, reinforcing the image established the first time a consumer encounters your brand.
Apple, for example, exudes imagination, design and innovation in its brand. This is exemplified in its “Think different” tagline. Apple consistently presented this brand image over decades, building such a strong identity that Forbes declared Apple last year’s most valuable brand.
Customers have to trust you before they’ll do business with you. A cohesive brand builds that trust. If your brand isn’t presented consistently, consumers become confused or even suspicious about what your company and offerings represent.
Look at a brand like Disney. Since its focus is children, the brand must put trust above all else. From characters like Mickey Mouse to its theme parks, Disney is very protective to ensure its brand is consistently portrayed, and its integrity preserved. It’s so determined to maintain consistency and trust that Disney launched a completely different brand, Touchstone Pictures, for films targeted to adults.
When customers experience your brand repeatedly in the same way, your brand sticks in their minds. When it’s time for them to make a purchase decision related to your industry or offerings, they remember your brand, increasing the likelihood of a sale.
Take Coca-Cola as an example. Its brand identity is so connected to its namesake soft drink that consumers at a restaurant will ask for a Coke even if options are limited to competitor drinks. That’s because Coca-Cola is often the first brand that comes to mind when thinking about soft drinks. Such is the power of brand recall, and it only happens when a brand is consistently presented on an ongoing basis.
3 ways to build your brand in Singapore
We live in a world of change. In a city like Singapore, there is no exception. Sacrifices would have to be made and we must change in order for us to progress and take the next leap either in our professional or personal lives.
We are one way or another marketing ourselves as a brand name and creating awareness. We market ourselves during interviews; we engage ourselves in small talks and networking sessions. We are branding ourselves in one way or another.
Singapore is a hub for budding entrepreneurs and most of us have what it takes to become an entrepreneur; but what are the assets of becoming an entrepreneur and a successful one at it. That is the burning question that we are faced with each time we think of taking that leap of faith
It is more important for us to employ an integrated and focused brand strategy in order to be successful. And this is no different for businesses, big or small – in fact, it might just be more important for any small businesses or entrepreneurship.
In a world of business or organization, we rarely have the time, the financial support, or recognition in the marketplace to simply challenge us to greater heights. In a world where manycompanies and products are vying for consumers’ attentions, it is vital to make sure you are positioning your product or service to attract their attention.
When creating a product, or thinking about how to market a service, it’s not enough to just “dive” into the marketplace. It’s estimated that the average consumer is bombarded by over 6,000 marketing messages every day.
It’s no wonder then why consumers tend to develop habits that they stick with – especially when it comes to investing in products or utilizing services. It’s our job to shift these habits and loyalties over to our organization, and you do that first through differentiation.
You have to be different. In your particular industry (unless you’ve created the next light bulb) there are probably several competitors within a whisker of your location. More when you consider social media means, newspapers, magazines, etc.
Here are some quick questions to ask:
A) Identify your main competitors in your industry – what makes your products or services different from theirs?
B) Why would consumers or others want to use your products or services over your competitors?
C) Make a list of how your products or services are similar to your competitors. Now make a list of how they are different. How can you exploit the differences to draw attention to your brand and away from your competitors?
Is your product or service relevant to the industry’s needs and requirements? As important as it is, you can’t just be different. It’s not enough to offer your potential customers more choices – you have to offer them a clear and better choice.
Your brand must be relevant in today’s needs and technological advancement. Your brand has to matter to the consumer – otherwise, you may have the most unique product on the market, but nobody will buy it because you have not been able to convince them on the need to invest in your product or service.
Take Bubble Tea for example. Bubble Tea came up with a bang and had a great creative idea to it. It was a craze a few years ago and many of them were hooked to it. I would say it was a fad at that time and you could see teenagers especially enjoying that sip of tea with gelatin bubbles to chew on.
Even the elderly had a sip of it when I was making my way to bubble tea shops. Someone came up with the idea and the product in the early 2000s and it made a big splash initially.
How could something taste like Bubble Tea and be very clear about its uniqueness? It was clearly a unique product. However, the craze for Bubble Tea had one missing ingredient. It missed out on one important part of the puzzle, and as a result, the brand flopped a short time later.
They didn’t make the product relevant. People didn’t care. They figured, if it tastes like Bubble Tea, why not just drink it for the sake of it and have fun? Or maybe they liked other copy cats that taste similar to Bubble Tea.
The bottom line is that Bubble Tea created a unique product that people just didn’t care about. And it wasn’t successful. In the same say, you have to position your brand in such a way so that people will care about it enough to shift their purchasing habits.
Some questions to ask:
A) Why should consumers buy your product or use your service?
B) What will make the average consumer shift their habits and loyalties from your competitors’ brands to your brand?
C) Why can’t the average consumer live WITHOUT your brand?
In your small business or organization, you must think long term. You must employ strategies and initiatives that not only keep your brand in the forefront of your customers’ minds from a unique and relevant perspective – they must see your brand as one that is not affected by change, but rather as one that AFFECTS change.