One of the most critical factors in determining the success or failure of a business is the brand created to embody the product/service you are offering. Some businesses focus so much on the product/service offered they forget about the brand delivering the product. This can be okay for a business focusing more on a short-term approach and trying to make a quick buck. However, for businesses taking a long-term approach, it will be essential to develop a solid, recognizable brand identity. This will help you distinguish yourself as a top competitor in your industry and encourage your customers to become loyal advocates of your brand.
Below I have briefly outlined the four main questions you should ask yourself when fine-tuning your brand identity to create a memorable and distinguished brand in the eyes of your ideal customer.
1.) What is your Purpose?
Every business in existence was started for a reason. That reason might simply be that the founder needed a way to put food on the table. That’s okay. The reality of the matter is most businesses are started for the financial benefits that accompany being a business owner, but I encourage you to dig a little deeper to uncover the underlying factor of why YOU started the business you started. Odds are, you have a passion for what you created, or you are at least interested in some part of your business. Maybe you like seeing the look on a customer’s face when they receive your product. Maybe, you enjoy the process of fine-tuning your craft. Take a second to think about it and uncover your brand’s WHY.
Why does your brand exist?
Having a “why” behind your brand is perhaps one of the most important factors in the creation of a successful business. It is what will help you break through the challenges that come your way and keep your business alive once the thrill of starting your business has worn off.
2.) What is your Brand Vision?
The next question to ask yourself is what vision you have for your brand. Take a long-term approach when answering this question. What are the big goals you have for your business? Where do you want to see it in 5-10 years? What are your big dreams that you would like to accomplish with this brand? Visualizing a future for your brand that encompasses all of your goals will give you something to strive toward and build your brand around from day one. You don’t have to know exactly where you want to go from day one, but you need a direction. Determining your vision will give you this direction.
3.) What are your Brand Values?
Establishing brand values is an important task to undertake for your brand from day one. This step is often forgotten and pushed off to the side for a later date. As the old adage goes,
“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”
A time will inevitably come, hopefully later rather than sooner, when you will have to make a difficult business decision. When that time comes, you will be able to approach the situation with more confidence and clarity if you have already established a strong foundation of brand values to fall back on. Business ethics can get tricky. Having strong values that you stand for in all situations helps to clarify the grey areas.
Once you have identified your brand values, you will have identified the driving force behind your brand that you work to bring to life every day. Your brand will have something to stand for.
4.) Who is your target customer?
The fourth and final brand identity pillar is knowing who your target customer is. This customer identity goes beyond simply knowing the demographics (age, income, location, gender) of your ideal client. You should also know their buying patterns, common lingo, and trends going on amongst their crowd. You need to know your ideal client like the back of your hand.
One practice that can help you gain a clear identity of your target customer is to create an ideal client avatar. Take the time to learn about your client and embody the different types of customers you are trying to reach into a clear persona. Heck, you can even name them! Have some fun with it!
Once you have created your ideal client avatar, you will be able to think of them when creating everything from products, designs, and advertisements to determine if the particular content will appeal to your target market. (Would Starbucks Sally find this useful and pay for it? Oh yeah. It’s a keeper!)
These four pillars of brand identity, when properly used, can give your brand a major competitive advantage when trying to grow your business. A firm brand identity makes it easier for clients to stand behind you and become advocates for your product. It is worth the extra time to sit down and uncover what you want to be embodied by your brand.
I would love to hear feedback on how you use these four branding pillars in your business. If you have any questions or comments, drop them below.
Upward and Onward,
Founder of Honeywave Creative