When you describe an acquaintance, what are some of your go-to descriptors? You might include things like where they live, their profession, or whether they are married. These are useful labels, but they don’t give much information if you want to give a sense of the person.
The same concept goes for describing a movie. When you describe a movie, you might focus on the plot. But if you heard about a movie that centered on a stranger who wanders into town and endangers lives as he struggles to escape back home, you likely wouldn’t recognize Steven Spielberg’s E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. In the same vein, The Matrix is about more than an asocial programmer who lives out his video game fantasies, and Indiana Jones is more than an archeologist who gets in over his head.
When you describe your business, you want to avoid these oversimplified descriptions. Yes, when you explain your business, you need to talk about the services you provide, the products you sell, and where to find them. But your business is so much more than that.
Your customers want more than the facts on your business. They want to get to know your business’s personality, or its brand identity. Once you understand your brand, your customers will have a deeper, more personal connection to your company.
The best way to understand how to create your brand identity is to seek out successful examples.
Take Apple, for instance. You’d be hard-pressed to find a brand with a more loyal customer base. McDonald’s customers will defend their favorite fast food fries against all others, and Google users swear by their search engine. Don’t just envy their success; learn what they did to reach the point they have.
But what do a tech company, search engine, and fast food restaurant have in common? They all know their brand. As they plan new marketing campaigns, they retain a distinct personality.
Apple wants to be seen as innovative, user-friendly, and artistic. McDonald’s family-friendly, community atmosphere has stayed relatively consistent for over half a century. Google’s surprisingly simple motto “Don’t be evil” shows their positive attitude, and their Google Doodles underscore that mentality.
Find companies that you admire, and emulate some of their tactics. Think about what makes their brand identity so effective, and adapt it to your own business.
Define Your Demographic
When you start to formulate your brand identity, it’s tempting to center everything on your business. You might answer questions like, what do you do? How did your company begin? What are your future goals? These are excellent aspects to think about as you define you business’s personality. However, they are not the most important things.
The customer is the most important part of any business. Therefore, you need to center your identity on them. Do they want a light-hearted, animated company that might send sarcastic tweets or a cutting-edge theatrical company that creates artistic videos customers want to share on Facebook or Reddit?
You can find examples of other companies’ audiences by reading corporate position statements.
Just like people, businesses have their own personality, but you need to make sure that your business’s personality will mesh with your customers’. That means you need to do market research and understand your clientele before you assume anything about them.
Implement Your Brand
Once you know what you want your customers to feel when they see your logo and think when they hear your name, you need to implement your brand.
Start off with your mission statement. A mission statement is the most overt method you have to portray your business’s personality. By placing it on your website, you introduce yourself to your customers. This mission statement should tell them who your target customer is (without demeaning any other audience), the guidelines by which your company runs, why you are different from your competition, and how you will address customer needs.
Once you’ve created your mission statement, you need to have a design that matches it.
If you see a big, yellow “M” off in the distance, you don’t have to drive toward it to know that there’s a McDonald’s a few hundred feet away. Any apple with a big bite on the side immediately reminds you to charge your IPhone. You could probably rattle off 20 other logos right now.
Your design logo is one of the most effective tools you have to get people to remember your business. It needs to reflect your business’s personality and be as simple, timeless, and memorable as possible. When you create one that works, use that logo to influence the rest of your design. Use complementary colors and a consistent typeface throughout all your materials, including websites, pamphlets, and business cards.
Don’t Be Afraid to Redesign
Your visual design, mission statement, and demographic might not be perfect on the first try. Be flexible as you craft your brand identity. As you go through this process, you can also seek companies like professional call centers and advertising firms for additional support. They can give a voice to your company, improve on your brand identity, and get your business where you want it to be.