Last week, I needed a new phone but I couldn’t go to the store due to how tight my schedule was. I told a friend of mine, and he advised me to get it online.
So I went to the Amazon website, typed in ‘phone’ in their search engine, and I got 101,685 results. How would I be able to scroll through and cull that amount of result to a manageable number of choices within a limited time?
The answer is simple: you choose a brand. I went back and typed ‘iPhone’ and the choices reduced considerably, making it easy for me to navigate through the site for my desired phone. I eventually saw my choice, which I bought immediately.
Brand saves time used in making a decision.
What is a brand identity?
Before we delve into what brand identity is, I will like to clarify the meaning of brand and branding, because people often confuse these two with brand identity.
A brand is the outlook of an organization in the eyes of the world, while branding is the marketing strategies undertaken to make a brand stand out distinctively from other brands that offer the same products. Now, let’s talk about brand identity.
Brand identity is the perception of a consumer concerning a product, person, or thing. For example, what comes to your mind when someone suddenly mentions “Nike” or if you see this logo?
If you didn’t say clothing, I am almost certain you would say shoes. This is because Nike has established a brand identity for their shoes and clothing.
When we talk about brand identity, it comprises of all the factors related to products, organization, or person.This includes the name, logo, trademark, among others. When you see an apple logo with a part cut off, nobody needs to tell you that it is an Apple product. The catchy logo alone serves as a distinctive factor from other products, and has helped them develop a brand identity.
Marty Neumier, who worked in advertising and brand design for 15 years, and currently Director of CEO Branding for Liquid Agency (a branding agency) explains brand identity as “the outward expression of a brand, which includes its name, logo, trademark, communications, and visual appearance.”
Taking a look at Marty Neumier’s definition of brand identity, it talks about how communication is involved in the outward expression of a brand. Many people often overlook the aspect of communication.
Brand identity is a tool used in communicating with the outside world, establishing a distinct brand from competitions, and compelling people to purchase your products.
The branding and marketing strategies utilized by a company can aid the communication and presentation of its brand identity to consumers. Branding can help project a company’s brand identity to consumers.
To build a company that thrives in the midst of fierce competition, you need to develop a long lasting brand identity that will evolve with you in the long run. Let’s take a look at the sneakers’ market.
There are so many famous companies that have developed a significant and evolving identity for their brand such as Nike, Adidas, Lacoste, Diaddora, to mention a few.
Even with the level of competition in the market, these companies still generate a large amount of revenue every year. This is possible because they have spent time, money, and effort in creating a significant brand identity for their brand.
Differences between brand identity and brand image
There are significant differences between brand identity and brand image, though they are often used interchangeably. Below are some clarifications concerning the differences between brand image and brand identity.
Your brand identity is the way you present your organization’s logo, name, and products to the outside world and potential customers. Your brand image is how people see your organization, i.e people’s perception of you.
The way customers see a brand eventually affects a brand image either positively or negatively. Brand identity includes the strategy utilized by a company in projecting their brand in the market, i.e how it wants to be viewed.
Brand image tells us what a particular brand stands for in the market, and a good brand image is gotten with proper branding. Brand identity is dependent on how a company packages and presents itself, while brand image is significantly dependent on customers.
A brand image is positive when customers’ experience with a particular brand is great. Brand identity is focused on improving the quality of a brand by looking back and identifying things that can be done.
Brand image focuses on gazing forward and identifying ways to improve customer’s experience and satisfaction of a brand. Great advertisement can make people know your brand, but what keeps your band in people’s mouth is great customer experience.
A brand identity is composed of the visual experiences such as the name, logo, and products, while brand image comprises of both customer’s support (speed, cordiality, and efficacy) and the user experience of a product (industrial design, packaging).
How does brand identity and brand image affect your business?
i. Perception of quality
People perceive your brand is quality with a good brand identity and brand image. If an Apple laptop costs more than a competitor’s product of the same quality, people tend to think the Apple laptop possess more quality. Not all the time.
There are numerous less expensive laptops that are better in quality than Apple laptops. This is what brand identity and good brand image can do a company’s product.
There are several companies that when you see their products, you are tempted to buy their product, even when you would struggle to gather the funds for the purchase. When you hear Lexus, Toyota, Samsung, what comes to mind? Quality!
Having a brand identity and good brand image can increase the credibility of your company. People don’t like taking risk, that is why they often go with the brands they’re familiar with. Credibility mitigates risk.
Imagine going on a business trip in a city you are no familiar with, and you are very hungry. You tend to go to a known restaurant (especially an international one) rather than a local one. This is due to the brand identity and brand image created by this companies.
Strong brand identity and brand image keep customers from abandoning your brand. If a customer is contented with the quality of your service and products, they will develop a sense of loyalty towards that brand.
People tend to get emotionally attached to the brand they use and see them as part of their self-image. They like to be associated with good brands. That is why many rich people buy shoes like Gucci, Versace, Ferragamo, etc.
iv. Stand out from the rest
Strong brand identity and brand image will definitely make you stand out from competitors. A company with a brand identity and brand image would probably be seen as more trustworthy and reliable than a company without brand identity and brand image.
Many customers don’t care about the amount of money they would spend on a product so far it is quality. They believe a company with brand identity is quality.
v. More customers
It is not news that companies with strong brand identity and brand image generates large amount of revenue every year. Brand identity is known to compel a price premium. Some people buy products just because of the brand’s name, not minding the price. That is what brand identity can do.
How to build an awesome brand identity?
For a successful and long lasting brand, it is important to build a brand identity that precisely communicate your essence, and likely to evolve with you. Below are some important factors that areneeded to create an awesome and powerful brand identity.
i. Clearly understand yourself
Every well known and successful brand has a purpose and mission that precedes its existence. When building your brand identity, you should outline your mission statement, which will be about what your company is most passionate about.
Great brands have great mission statements. For example, Adidas mission statement states that “the Adidas Group strives to be the global leader in the sporting goods industry with brands built on a passion for sports and a sporting lifestyle”.
It is important to ask yourself the reason why your brand exist, what distinguishes you from competitors, the value your brand provides including the problem it wishes to solve, and why people should care about your brand.
It is important to know the what, how, and why. Knowing the answers to this questions would help you clearly understand yourself.
ii. Do things with users in mind
When building your brand identity, it is important to know that users are the end consumers of the things you do. You have to identify your target audience, because everyone won’t see you the same way.
You should clearly know the exact audience you are trying to reach, thereby branding your product to please them. For example, if you are targeting “working class”, you have to be more specific. You can narrow it down to the “corporate working calss”, which shows more specification.
When creating a brand identity, develop a buyer persona. Some things you can put down when targeting an audience includes age, education level, location, and income.
You can also pen down their motivations, goals, and brand affinities. Identifying your audience will definitely help you build a powerful brand identity.
iii. Market your brand
Let people know about your brand. Your brand should be clearly seen and show in everything people can see, read, and hear. You should do this by including your logo, name, and tagline in everything you do.
You can also run promotions, outreach, do sponsorships, send a press release. For example, you can gift stores posters of your brand or other things that are connected to your brand, such that when customers walk into that store, they are intrigued by what they see.
Give out business cards, run advertisements on billboards, just to make people familiar with the brand. Do everything you can to put your brand in the mouth of people, by ensuring people talk about your brand.
iv. Invest time in social media
Nowadays, people rarely read newspapers and bulletins, because they can access everything written in it and beyond on their mobile device. When building your brand identity, invest in social media.
Your website is a major tool in marketing your brand. Make sure your website reflect your voice, content, colors and personality. There are many social media applications that can help you reach out to a larger number of audience.
This applications include Facebook, Twitter, among others. So many brands are using social media to attract customers.
v. Provide value
For strong brand identity and brand image, it is essential that your brand provides significant value to customers. Focus on the qualities that sets your brand from competitors.
Try providing value that will improve consumers’ lives. This values may include cutting down cost with an affordable option, better customer service, or reduction in time spent on daily tasks.
vi. Engage with users
Engage your users so as to know how your brand is being perceived by people. Obtaining an accurate and honest review from your customers is the only way to know where you stand and understand how your brand is perceived.
Try engaging users on your websites and social media page by replying to comments, asking for feedback, and featuring customers’ opinions. You should do a considerable amount of research and put out a number of surveys with users to fully understand their experience.
Once you have garnered information on how your brand is perceived by users, you can therefore utilize this information by making some changes in key areas of your business. This can help you create an awesome brand identity and brand image.
Branding and developing a brand identity for a business requires organization, planning, and process. It requires time, money, effort, and skill.
This is actually worth it, because a strong brand identity will take your business farther than you’d ever imagine.
Updated: 14 December 2020