Know Thy Brand
The most important part of a brand is its IDENTITY. Before any direction in marketing is taken, there must be an understanding of what the brand stands for and seeks to accomplish. This isn’t simply saying Brand A is a shoe brand, therefore the identity is a brand that sells shoes to the public. That is too general and makes it difficult for anyone to connect with the brand. To “Know Thy Brand” is to define your brand’s color scheme, logo, website, social profiles, blogs, merchandise, ads, packaging, customer service and “voice”. That last one is extremely important because who you are talking to and how you talk to them is how the public defines your brand’s identity. This is not a literal voice, but a collective voice through the way the brand interacts and is seen by the public. If the website’s images and colors are done one way and email campaigns are done in an entirely different color schemes with images that are completely unrelated to the website then it may confuse your audience as they were expecting for a consistency in the brand’s “voice”.
Why Does Brand Identity Matter?
As humans, we are psychologically drawn to the things that are similar to our interests such as colors, music, style, and sexuality. When creating or growing a brand, an effort must be made to make it recognizable by the audience it is meant for. If it does not stand out in the crowd, then the crowd isn’t going to care, if the crowd doesn’t care, then the business will not succeed. Just like when you hear someone’s voice you recognize in a crowd of people, your brand’s identity is what allows your target audience to immediately think of your brand when they see or hear anything that is related to its identity. Examples of this would be a brand that manufactures shoes made for playing Basketball. If they constantly show images of people playing basketball with advertisements written with words that are relevant to someone who plays basketball, then the next time someone plays a pick up game with their friends or goes to training will be more inclined to think of the brand without it being present. This is why it is so important to break your brand down to its core to understand which direction to take it in. In some cases, a “Re-Brand” is necessary in order to improve the public’s perception of your brand’s identity.
How to Re-Brand
Here at UADV, we make it a priority to first breakdown our client’s current Brand Identity to ensure that any work we do for them is done with the proper “voice”. We do this by reviewing their brand’s current presence throughout all possible channels. Once we have done a comprehensive sweep, a discussion is had between our team to evaluate what we feel is working for our client and what is needing to be improved so that any efforts to market the brand in the future are not negatively impacted by these potential pitfalls. This is a crucial step in the process of developing your brand’s identity because it is the first thing anyone who interacts with your brand will see. For example, one of the first things we do is type the brand’s name into google (without typing their exact website or www/.com). This gives us the first look into how the brand is even searchable. If the brand does not appear in search results based off just its name then off the bat there is going to be an immediate need for work to be done on SEO and the site’s Google Rank.
Once we have established all of the areas the brand needs to work on in order to be found by the public, we see the consistency of what the brand puts out over time. This includes social media posts, blogs, reviews, etc. This is crucial to understanding what kind of look and feel you want the brand to have going forward. Consistency is key to maintaining your audience. Anyone who is attracted to your brand isn’t going to stay that way if the brand is always changing or inconsistent with their communication overtime. If the brand is speaking to a younger audience, then we need to have a tone of language and imagery that is both relevant and appropriate for that demographic. One way of understanding how to set the right tone for your brand is to research your direct competition. If they are already having success with their identity, then it would be good to see why and what part of that identity that is most relevant to your target audience. From their you can individualize your brand to be original in every aspect but the manner in which you are interacting with your audience.
Marketing = Extended Identity
When it comes to marketing your Brand’s Identity, we are talking about an expression of the brand that is recognized by your target audience. Your brand needs to be consistent in how it advertises and communicates its message. The ads can’t be so different from the website that it confuses the person clicking on the ad. They were attracted to the ad in the first place, if they feel that a completely different identity exists that isn’t consistent with the ad then the potential conversion becomes an immediate bounce from the website. Aside from advertisements needing to be consistent in format/relevance, marketing materials are equally important. If the brand is ever at a tradeshow, event, or has a giveaway on its website, there needs to be consistency with the materials and the brand’s identity. If the materials given away are in colors that are opposite from the brand’s colors than again you have found a disconnect with the brand’s identity. Anything that comes from your brand must have some sort of connection to its core identity whether it be color, imagery, and/or content.
At UADV we understand the value of creating and growing a brand’s identity. If you are wanting to have your brand’s identity reviewed, contact us today and we’ll provide a free evaluation to see where you are in terms of relevance and consistency to your target audience.