Before you can present a cohesive brand image that allows your company to communicate with a singular brand voice, you must determine and develop your company’s unique brand identity.
Even seasoned business leaders and marketing professionals can get a bit lost when it comes to the complexities of branding methodology and contingent content marketing processes. However, The Balance Small Business, an independent source of business news and information, breaks down the difference between brand identity and brand image quite succinctly. In short, brand identity encompasses all components of a company that define it intrinsically. It is the intent behind the company brand image, which it will attempt to project in the minds of consumers.
To make the identity/image distinction clearer, it may be helpful to think of your company as a living person. In a person, identity relates to a personal understanding of the self, while image refers to the cultivated face that each individual shows to others.
The Ancient Greek aphorism “know thyself” wisely places identity before image in order to stress that man must live according to his nature. The branding of companies must follow the same general principle, allowing brand identity to determine brand image and dictate brand voice.
In order to arrive at a brand identity that is right for you, you must consider not only what your company stands for but also whom your company is trying to reach.
Know your audience
Before you can develop the brand identity that will allow you to speak to your audience in a unified and compelling voice, you must determine who your audience is with absolute precision and considerable detail.
Because your brand identity will determine the public image of your company in all respects, you must be sure that it is compatible with your target customer base. For example, any brand name, logo, and/or slogan that is geared toward millennials should be drastically different from those of a brand that is geared toward baby boomers. Remember the golden rule of brand strategy when it comes to audience targeting: companies that try to reach everybody will ultimately reach nobody.
Know your company
With your target audience firmly in mind, you can more adequately address consumer wants and needs while offering unique approaches and value-added embellishments that make you stand out from your closest competitors. A go-to informational resource for all things content marketing related, the independent online media outlet the Content Marketing Institute suggests trying to describe your unique brand identity in three words. Whether they be “innovative,” “passionate,” and “hardworking” or “quirky,” “imaginative,” and “authentic,” choose words that identify the essence of your company and its particular goods and/or services. These overarching characteristics can prove extremely helpful when you apply them to your subsequent approaches to marketing strategy and consumer communications.
The specific elements of brand identity
As previously discussed, brand identity should drive all aspects of company outreach to existing and potential customers. This means that brand identity should be immediately evident in your verbal communications (from company name to ad copy), your visual communications (from company logo to product packaging), and your customer service communications (from staff interactions to courtesy emails).
Think about the ways in which brand identity can expand to all aspects of consumer psychological and emotional response. For example, the emblematic in-store scent of Abercrombie & Fitch and the dulcet vocal tones of Apple’s Siri each play an integral role in defining the unique brand identity of the companies that developed them.
The specific media channels through which a company chooses to propagate its branded messages must also reinforce its essential brand identity. Within the world of social media alone, a tremendous amount of diversity exists when it comes to the underlying philosophies and attitudes of individual sites and the types of users that they tend to attract. Just think about the vast intrinsic and perceived differences that exist between industry leaders such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Tumblr.
For more information
To learn more about the importance of brand identity development when it comes to projecting a cohesive and effective brand image and speaking in a cohesive and effective brand voice, contact a representative of Bigeye today. We’re a brand identity agency that offers both a solid history in proven marketing techniques and a progressive vision that embraces state-of-the-art innovation.