Top 5 Branding Characteristics for an Established Identity.Brand development is a lot more extensive than many companies believe. It needs to be more than design cohesion and a sleek logo. In this article, Jordan discusses some of the key elements of generating a brand identity in order to drive the recognition, value and differentiation of your business.
Why Create a Branded Identity?
Understanding what plays into establishing a brand is key to garnering business traction and inevitably customer loyalty. In order to paint a more thorough picture, I wanted to highlight my top 5 branding characteristics that help companies develop an identification. The purpose behind this article is to help brands create a cohesive presentation in order to resonate with their prospective audience.
1. The Way You Communicate.
Communication plays a big role in your ability to persuade potential customers that you’re capable of satisfying their needs. Generally speaking, a brand communicates via voice (conversation), written copy (one way messaging), and media (visual imagery or video). Aside from consistency, a brand should speak to it’s customers in a specific tone of voice. Understanding how and why your brand is communicating will help you determine how to position the voice you speak in.
Some companies like to be heard as encouraging or empathetic – while others prefer to be more direct and precise. Either way, there needs to be a purpose behind the way you articulate your verbiage. This function headlines my top 5 branding characteristics because the way you correspond impacts the way you’re perceived. Moreover, it sets up your marketing strategy moving forward.
Take this a step further, and consider how word of mouth factors in. As people begin talking about your brand, you’ll want to ensure they convey an accurate representation. In the long run, this is immeasurable. But, without a cohesive message across all channels, it’s rather difficult for those aware of the brand to promote it accordingly.
2. How You Differentiate the Brand.
Uncovering the uniqueness of your brand can be done in a number of ways. But, I would recommend looking at leadership’s experience and origin. Every single person has a story and corresponding experiences. Harnessing these events and funneling them into the aura of a brand can be uber credible and often appealing.
The second aspect of differentiation surrounds the branded “why.” Promoting your reasoning for coming to market gives your audience a chance to relate to or get behind the provision you’re presenting. What does the brand mean to the company? What would you like it to mean to the industry and it’s consumers? Having a strong “why” can always be a sound differentiator.
Lastly, what makes the brand memorable or worthwhile? It’s important that every business focuses on the customer experience and the culture within. How have you altered processes? How do you make people feel a part of the team or culture? What does the company bring to the table that no one else can boast? How are you following up with customers after they’ve bought in?
You can’t detour from this if you’re looking to attract a loyal following that understands and appreciates the environment you’ve created. Aside from revenue, differentiation helps you attract talent that adds to your ability to serve.
3. Values and What You Stand For.
When writing these top 5 branding characteristics, I wanted the content to flow in a way that made sense. Although you might think values fall in line with #2, I consider beliefs to be a choice – not necessarily experience. What you stand for plays a big role in the identification of a brand. People identify with certain things. Setting the parameters of your business will set the bar for expectations.
You might value an open working space that encourages frequent communication or even conflict. You may find that employees are more effective with confined office spaces. You could stand for a laid back fun-filled atmosphere or promote a stone faced culture of seriousness. I’ve worked for an agency that stood for full autonomy as well as a corporation that required me to wear a suit jacket on a daily basis. Neither are wrong, but preference was there for a reason. It worked for both.
Take some time to figure out what’s important – or what factors into the success (or differentiation) of your business. Whether it’s faith, company hierarchy, employee benefits, or the way you manufacture products or happy customers. Knowing what you value and stand for makes a heck of a difference in the way you’re perceived as a brand.
4. The Brand’s Vision and Goals.
If you listen to my podcast, you’ll find that I’m pretty passionate about transparency. Believe it or not, allowing your audience to be aware of your brand vision and what you’re setting out to accomplish encourages them to be apart of the journey. This also rolls into differentiation by consistently conveying what you bring (have brought and will bring) to the marketplace.
Providing insight on how the brand is accomplishing goals and where you’re being forced to make pivots establishes a sense of trust and integrity that viewers can feel. Once you’ve tuned into the emotions of potential buyers with your messaging, it’s a good idea to harness the cognition that drives conversion. Giving consumers an idea of where you’re going creates a peace of mind and enables them to intuitively make a decision in your favor.
In addition to targeting customers, this approach also builds awareness for potential partners or influencers that believe in the vision and goals of your company. Aligning with other businesses that compliment your value not only strengthen yours but it enhances the reach and support of the brand.
5. The Aura of Your Brand.
The last of my top 5 branding characteristics refers to the mystic and aura of the brand itself. Now that you’ve taken the time to develop a number of factors that play into your identity, it’s time to create the essence of the brand. In this step, you’ll want to harness all of the aforementioned factors to determine how you want to present yourself – as well as be perceived.
If I were to give one form of advice, I’d recommend avoiding promotions that are outside the persona you’ve created. If you spend a lot of time attempting to drive relevant traffic (publishing blogs, implementing SEO, or posting randomly on social media) – then pause it. It’s imperative that you focus on brand perception before exposing yourself to potential customers. Ask yourself how you want people to feel when they see your brand. If this isn’t executed prior to marketing, then you risk a skewed perception.
So, How Do You Establish an Aura?
In order to put all of this work into action, you need to have a presentational plan. Consider your style of imagery, videos or designs. Think about your on-site or print media typography even. Look into the events you attend or the companies you align with. If you want to be taken seriously, but use chalkboard typeface and partner with those that aren’t really trusted, how can you be?
Let me use my company as an example. I want potential clients to know that I don’t place them into a general process that’s equal to or less than other clients. I want them to know there’s a way to PreFocus and be effective no matter their budget. It’s all about being purposeful and caring for their success. In my latest podcast, I hosted Kelsey Tainsh who speaks on her passion for others. I’m not going to host an entrepreneur that focuses on persuasively making money or selfish ambition. It just won’t work.
I want people to see the strategic value I bring to the table and how I put together an identity that fits and makes sense. Not only does this differentiate my provisions, but it creates a seamless referral network that cares about my success. This is the aura of my business. No matter what I’m working on, there’s fulfillment in knowing that I’m providing businesses with value they can implement on their own. In the long run this increase their loyalty, influence and marketshare.
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More often than not, companies focus on marketing their business before establishing their top 5 branding characteristics. Although I’m not damning you for doing this, I know that establishing an identity does wonders for brands. I’d love to hear your story and help you uncover new ways to enhance the way you’re perceived. Consider it an open conversation and not a sales call.