The importance of a brand identity

For any business (especially a small business) branding is a significant factor in cutting through the noise of the competition and forging a genuine, emotional bond with your potential customers. Without branding, consumers won’t have a clear understanding of your business’ core values & beliefs, which will likely cause them to buy from your competition instead. Branding is a vital part of staying competitive in today’s marketplace and without it, businesses risk wasting precious resources on marketing operations that won’t connect with their target markets.

How to create a brand identity

Before you start putting a brand identity together, it’s a good idea to make sure you understand what exactly a brand identity is. To put it simply, your brand identity is your business’ personality: what are its core beliefs? What are its values and its mission? What’s the tone of voice? A consistent branding strategy allows potential customers to personify a business and form an emotional connection that will leave your business at the forefront of their mind when it’s time to make a  purchase.

Research: The first step to take is conducting extensive research into your target market, so that you can tailor your brand identity to their specific likes, wants and needs.

After you’ve researched and gotten to know your potential customers, it’s important to research your competitors: find out how they’ve positioned themselves in the market and  what kind of elements they’ve employed into their brand identity.

Create Assets: This is the part where you create the visual representation of everything you learned in the research phase.Things like your logo, colour palette, fonts, etc are all examples of the kind of assets you’ll need to create/decide upon in this step. When it comes to design, we often have an idea of the kind of visuals we want, but don’t always have the resources/skills to bring these ideas to life. However, here at Ford Creative, we’ve got experience working with both big & small brands, and as branding specialists, we’re more than well-equipped to help small organisations looking to edit/define their brand identity (get in touch here to find out more).

Determine Your Brand Voice: This is the step where you determine the tone of voice in which your brand communicates with potential customers. Is it formal and professional? Friendly & colloquial? Will your brand regularly use humour in its communications or will it have a more serious tone of voice? This decision needs to be consistent across all your marketing channels: people won’t be able to form a single, consistent idea of who your brand is if it’s extremely formal and serious on your website when your social media accounts are always cracking jokes and sharing popular memes. Consistency is a key feature of your brand’s tone of voice/branding in general.

Define Your Brand’s Story: A narrative or story helps customers connect with your business as a whole. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or elaborate. Your brand story can simply be that one day you realised there weren’t many plant businesses in your area and you decided to open one because plants are good for the environment. Something as short & simple as that can provide the basis for a very compelling & distinctive brand story (with the right branding specialists on your side *wink wink*).

4 branding tips for small business

  1. Stand out: In such a competitive market it can be tempting to prioritise conformity over taking a risk. However, consumers are much more likely to remember your brand if it’s bold, unique and memorable, so don’t be afraid to embrace what makes you special and display it prominently in your branding.
  1. Influencer Marketing: the rise of influencer marketing presents a unique opportunity for small businesses to access a large, engaged and relevant crowd of potential buyers. While many influencers with large followings may be expensive to collaborate with, there are also a lot of mid-sized influencers with more flexible pricing who are looking to build a following and collaborate with brands. These can be valuable relationships to form and yield significant results in the eventuality that influencers you’ve worked with grow (NOTE: It’s important to assure that the influencers you work with are relevant to your industry. For example, a skincare influencer probably isn’t the right choice if you’re trying to sell professional services). 
  1. Post useful content: It’s extremely important to understand your target audience because this will allow you to post content specifically tailored to the difficulties & challenges they face on a daily basis. Once they begin to access this content on a regular basis, they’ll begin to see you as an authority in the industry & this will help keep you at the forefront of their minds when it’s time to make a purchase. 
  1. Take a stand for your values: In today’s climate, consumers are looking for the brands they interact with to be vocal about today’s issues as well as their stance on them. While you don’t want to scare off any potential customers by taking too hard a stance, it can be beneficial to make your stance on some issues known, especially if they relate to the core values of your business.

By Ore Ige

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