Many companies and business owners think they know exactly what brand identity is and why is it important. But if you ask 10 different CEO’s what brand identity is and what it means for their business, you will probably get 10 different answers. Brand Identity and Brand Image are completely different ideas. Your companies’ brand identity is how your company wants or desires to be perceived, while your brand image is how your company is actually perceived by customers and other businesses. We all know that perception is the only reality, so if your brand image does match your brand identity, you could be in a lot of trouble.
Think of your brand identity and image as your promise to customers and clients. Your first step is admitting that you have a problem sending your customers the promise and message you want to send. If you own a bakery and declare that your cupcakes are the best in the city, while customers just view them as average and like the cupcakes down the block better, you have a problem. Secondly, no matter how good you think your product is, if you aren’t sending out the right message you are doomed to become overshadowed by your competition.
Developing and delivering a strong brand identity can make or break your business. Brand identity is not just about logos and websites, it encompasses every message, every piece of communication and each experience every customer encounters. Delivering a consistent image, message and experience for each and every person who comes in contact with your company is key. So how does one go about improving or developing their brand identity? Start on the inside.
Evaluate Your Company From the Inside Out
Take a good hard look at the structure of your business, starting with your employees, processes and procedures. Make sure that your employees recognize and portray your message and promise to customers at all times so that they can deliver on those promises and messages to clients and customers. Hold training seminars or retreats to boost company morale. Make sure employees recognize that they are crucial to your company’s success and you expect nothing but the best from them.
Remain a Leader in Your Field
Stake your claim and keep your business on the up and up. Track trends and keep on top of your changing marketplace. Stay up to date on all media and social networking outlets, and don’t be afraid to market to new or different customers you may have overlooked in the past.
Improve or Create Your Visual Image
Make sure that every piece of marketing material that comes in contact with your customers such as your website, logo and business cards is consistent. Continuity and consistency expresses stability, strength and confidence of your business.
Let Your Target Market Do The Work For You
In order to stand out from the competition and remain a leader in your field, you must know who your target market is. By focusing on this market, you are providing customers with a service or product that they need or desire in their lives. If they are happy and satisfied with what you provide, they will spread your message.
Realizing the areas where your business can improve or grow will aid in your ability to create a strong brand and message about your company. If you are not happy with your brand image, you have to be willing to make changes to your entire brand identity. Remember that perception is reality, so your brand identity doesn’t really mean anything unless it coincides with your brand image.