For most people, the term "Brand Identity" evokes images of global companies and shiny corporate logos. But branding isn't only a marketing strategy for the big boys. Small businesses thrive with a strong brand image.
What exactly is a brand? It's the promise that a business makes to it's consumers. Your brand tells your customers what they can expect from your products and what distinguishes your products from your competitors! Simply put, your brand is a combination of the image you are trying to project for your business and the associations and memories that your customers bring to the table when they encounter that image.
What does your brand promise? What expectations do your customers have when they come to your website/store? Are you the innovator, offering cutting edge products? Are you the eco-friendly business that promises a commitment to renewable materials? Do you promise low cost, high value items? and intriguing story or the friendliest customer service? Consistency is key. When you meet you customer's expectations, you are keeping your brands promise. If your customers expectations aren't met, they won't make repeat purchases or recommend your products to their friends.
Our jobs, as business owners, is to capture what is special about our products and communicate that unique selling position to our target audience with uncompromising consistency
Discovering your brand identity is a process of business-minded self-discovery. Ask yourself:
1. What are your shop's values?
2. What are the unique features and benefits of your products? Why should a customer choose you over another company?
3. Who is your target market? And what do your existing customers already think about your business?
4. What do you want your customers to associate with your shop? What are the emotional, somewhat intangible attributes that your customers can experience and identify with?
Once you've defined your brand, try these simple tips to communicate them!
Before the Sale.
1. Get a great logo. Visual design is an important part of brand identity. Choose font and colours that evoke your brand.
2. Design marketing materials with your brand in mind. Your business cards, ads and promotional postcards should have a visual aesthetic that supports the image you hope to achieve for your brand. Use the same colour scheme, logo placement and fonts throughout your communications. Consistency is key!
3. Integrate your brand image across your social media profiles. For example, match your twitter background and facebook fan page to your website!
During the Sale
1. Talk about your product with a tone of voice that reflects your brand's personality.
2. Tell the story behind your product and how it relates to your brand values.
3. Use your product photographs/presentation to help covey your shop's identity to your target market.
After the Sale
1. Design your packaging to be consistent with your brand's personality. A well-packaged item will impress your buyers, turning fans into loyal and repeat customers.
2. Branding extends to every aspect of your business, especially customer service activities like answering follow-up emails, shipping and issuing refunds. As a business owner, you have a great opportunity to build your brands image during customer service activities, where you have the rare and FULL attention of your customers.
A strong brand can be a company's most valued asset. Brands are based on a promise and built though consistent customer experience. Each customer interaction is an opportunity that can make or break the customer's relationship with the brand.
When you develop a consistent brand image, your target customers will invest emotionally in your business become loyal to it and be your biggest advocates!