- Ask your customers questions and be friendly as you do so
If you want to keep your brad strong and relevant, then you need to survey your customers. As we may say, you should accept all kinds of feedback, whether they are glowing or damning.
Actually, negative feedback is the best when you want to address weaknesses in your brand identity, so grow a thick skin, ask questions and wait for the responses.
As you communicate with your customers, whether they give good or bad feedback, always remember to be friendly. This helps in building some kind of compromise that is beneficial to your brand.
You should be warm and friendly; heck, you may even have a laugh with them.
- Take your slogans for a spin
You have sat down and concocted a slogan that you feel will blow your target audience out into space. You are gearing to call your design team and place it on all your marketing channels.
Hold on! Wait a bit!
A word from the wise suggests that you take the slogan or tagline for a spin. What may seem witty and interesting to you may fall flat when read by your target audience.
You can start the test drive by asking your friends, team and other close confidants what they think about the slogan.
They should have personas that are close to those of your customers so the feedback is accurate.
- Take it easy when creating your tagline
Once you have a slogan or tagline that works well, simply use it; don’t spend too much time trying to perfect it. You may actually ruin it in the process.
Another consideration is that when the business grows with time, the slogan may also need to change too.
Just get a slogan that works, that your target audience understands and likes, and then move on with business.
- Keep on top of your competition
As mentioned earlier, creating a brand identity requires competitor analysis. The same is true if you want to keep your brand string and at the front of your competition.
Always be doing competitor analysis on a regular basis.
- Don’t be a jack of all trades
You can please some people all the time, but you can’t please everybody at all times.
Stick to your brand identity and don’t water it down by trying to pander to everybody.
If you have a hand-crafted product that sells at a high price, you will not please those who love discounted prices. However, you will still get some brand ambassadors who value quality over price.
- Be yourself
When creating something new, then be original and fresh. You should not try to be like the bigwigs in your niche. Be true to yourself and carve out a dedicated customer base.
- A logo does not make a brand identity
We mentioned that before and it is relevant in keeping your brand strong. You have to find ways to engage your audience and let them know you, so your logo gets imprinted on their brains.
A logo will not build or brand your company. It is about building relationships through engagement nowadays.
- Listen keenly and let your target audience help you keep the brand alive
In order to keep your brand identity strong, you should learn to listen to what customers say about the brand. That information should help you refine your brand over time.
Read every comment, review, or other feedback that you get from your customers.
- Build brand connections through social media
Most companies use social media to scream, shout and blast the brand out there. Take the time to make connections with your fans. Entertain them and give them something to laugh about. This will build strong and lasting relationships with your brand.
- Develop credibility
Do not expect that your brand will develop loyalty and trust overnight. If your influence is not as big as you had imagined, don’t sweat it. Simply keep moving ahead and it will come along as your credibility builds.
You can decide to stress and start implementing all the branding strategies in your arsenal, to no avail.
Wait, sometimes it just takes time for a brand to take hold.
- Treat all customers as equals
A strong brand identity will treat the low volume buyers with the same deference and respect as they give to the high-rollers. Reach out to every customer in your email list and not only those who spend top dollar on your products and services.
- Be open with your experiences
Most companies will tell only of their success stories. It is more human if you also told of challenges you face and how you overcome them.
Customers want to hear inspiring stories of victory in order to identify with a brand.
If you are starting a fashion shop, why not show the challenges you went through before you sold the first dress? Show the shop being constructed and furnished.
Take a picture of how you laid out the design of the first dress and how it looked when it was finished. You will be surprised to see how customers can relate to that and engage more with your brand.
- Embrace consistency
In order to maintain a strong brand identity, you must think about a lot more apart from the color schemes and logo. A brand identity becomes more powerful when you are consistent in your service delivery, use of language and issues such as customer care; how you handle queries and complaints.
- Definition of your archetype
The archetypes is the kind of character that your brand stands for. Are you an enforcer? Are you a helper? Are you an outlaw? Are you a sage?
When you think about some of the strong brands in existence today, you see the following:
- Microsoft is the visionary
- Coca Cola is the jester
What type of archetype will your company embrace? How will the character define your brand identity?
- Give back to your customers
Giving back to your customers helps in building a strong brand. If you have a certain product, you can offer to give a free secondary product for every other main product that is bought.
You may be familiar with the BOGOF strategy (Buy One Get One Free). Many customers like this and it serves to encourage brad loyalty.
- Get professional help
Not that your company is off its buts or anything bad, but you must take good care of your brand. Rather than do anything, when you are unsure, it is best that you hire a professional.
Build the best brand right from scratch by getting the professionals to have an input in its creation.
- Practically do the “get to know my business” homework
Prior to thinking of brining somebody else into the branding phase, you have to do your homework and get to know your business as detailed above. You must painstakingly define your company to the smallest detail.
A smart team of web designers will be asking you a lot of questions about your company so you better get ready.
- Do the little you know to the best of your ability
It is crucial to define your brand in everything that you do. If you are selling apparel for men, then that is the area that you should concentrate on. Make sure that your brand message revolves around men’s clothes. You might never even have to mention women’s clothing and that’s OK.
Don’t pull down your brand by trying to do too many things at the same time. Doing one or two things properly builds a better brand than doing a hundred things poorly.
- Be the Brand! Not what you think the Brand is.
If you want your brand to be known as being contemporary, don’t go saying “contemporary approach” or even worse “we’re a contemporary business.”
Show your customers and don’t tell them! Be a contemporary business in the choice of print materials, color schemes and approach. You get more mileage that way.
You need to hold the hands of your target customers, and not shove them.
The founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, is famously known for saying, “Your Brand is what other people say about you when you are not in the room.”
- Let real people represent your brand
You may have noticed the trend for most companies using celebrities to represent their brands as ambassadors. You should also get a real person to represent your brand.
If you are a small company, you may not afford to get a celebrity on board, but you can get an employee or other person who can embody the qualities of your brand.
Find that guy who is trusted and loved in your community and let him or her represent your brand.
- Embrace expansion of the brand as time goes on
People change as they grow older, and so do companies. Don’t fear expanding your business along the way. Identify the areas that you would like to grow into and find ways to achieve this expansion.
- Keep the brand updated
Many people fall into the trap of letting the brand become obsolete. Think of company ABC that became complacent with their initial success and rested on their laurels. In a few years, people will be asking, “ABC who?” Yeah Right!
- Experiment but keep the core brand tight
McDonalds is currently going through some rebranding in order to capture the Canadian market. Some of their locations are offering tableside service and adjusting their menu to compete with the dominant “Five Guys” brand.
However, they cannot ignore the core values of their brand – Fast Food, Kids, etc.
- Be prepared to tweak your logo
When you do expand the business, you do not have to change the logo entirely; you simply have to tweak it a little bit.
Looking at some of the big companies in the world today, you will notice that they simply tweak the logo when they expand to new areas, and not change it altogether.
Alternatively, you can keep the main logo intact, and then have other companies fall under it offering different products and services as you expand.
This helps in maintaining the core identity of the main brand and this lends some influence to the new sub-brands acquired.
- Do the unexpected to keep customers intrigued.
You can push your brand a little beyond the box and give your target audience something that will surprise them.
Do something outrageous and shock them into embracing your brand a little more intimately.
- Minimize the logo
If your brand is already a recognized name, then you can minimize your logo by taking some things away and just making it a bit simpler. The change is cute and enhances customer retention.
- Create a memorable tagline
It pays to spend some time coming up with your tagline. Target customers should instantly get what you do when they read it for the first time. This will give them an idea of your company beliefs too.
A tagline is ideally a shorted elevator pitch and it has to resonate with your current and potential customers.
Think of tagline when you are taking a walk or doing your laundry; get other people to give you ideas. From all this, you should come up with a witty, effective tagline for your brand.
- Shorten your tagline
You have created a fantastic tagline in the step above. Now it is time that you shortened it without losing the core values in it.
A good way of doing this is by adding your company name to the tagline and add a few words that are the main focus of your brand. Consider this tagline, “My Goodness, My Guinness”. It is short, punchy and keeps the name of the brand in the minds of Guinness drinkers.
- What is your company voice?
This is one of the most challenging aspect of creating and maintaining a strong brand identity. Many companies flop when it comes to defining their company voice.
What you are saying does not make a company voice; it is how it is being said that defines the voice.
If you are targeting teenagers, who think they are “hip”, then you are allowed to use slang and jargon in your brand identity. The voice has to ring true to the brand identity.
- What is your company tone?
After defining your company voice, you should now define your company tone. The voice of the company will always remain the same, but the tone that you use to deliver messages will change according to the target audience.
Your voice may embrace the “hip” voice, but if you are creating an advertisement, or looking for funding from investors, then you tone will have to change accordingly.
Voice and Tome are different entities of branding but they work together in the creation of effective brand communications.
- What is your brand style
The style guide of your brand helps in clarifying the tone, voice and branding strategy. It helps keep people on the same page during the creative process.
A style guide is a crucial tool in maintaining consistency in all brand communications.
This is a serious tool – imagine if you got a set of 10 new employees, will you have to train them on the style, voice and tone of your brand? Having a documented style guide will help them get up to speed within a short period.
- Employees are your “other” brand ambassadors.
Your employees should be the perfect mirrors of your brand identity. They are the ones who deal with customers on the front line. If your employees do not live according to the brand, then how do you expect customers to do so?
Large companies have the resources to maintain branding divisions and internal communications departments, but what about small companies?
All employees should absorb and internalize the essence of the brand. A brand identity should not just exist on paper or the internet, but also in the people who work in the company.
- Be mindful of your customers
Building and maintaining a strong brand identity has to include proper customer care if you want to build lasting brand loyalty.
Offer them discounts and extras that make them feel appreciated. Most companies have a loyalty program to give something special to customers whenever they purchase form the company.
It can be as small as a free cup of coffee, to a 50% discount. A free one month subscription to your service is great for service vendors.
Everybody loves to feel special especially when given meaningful freebies.
- We are all human
Mistakes will be made along the way. If you make some brand identity flops in the past, simply own up to them, and even make fun of them.
Customers are very perceptive and your business will seem more trustworthy and honest when you do not cover up such blunders.
- Keep a keen focus on the goals of your brand
Keeping focus on your brand identity goals will ensure that you do not stray from the path.
If your company is new and simply trying to get a foothold on the market, then adopting an edgy attitude will get people to notice your business.
If you are a company that is rebranding to be more affordable, then try minimizing your logo and do some advertising.
Always keep the goal in sight.
- Your logo should be used everywhere, and that means EVERYWHERE!
Most large companies do not give or sell anything that is not branded with their logo. You should do the same too. This way, you encourage brand retention among your customers.
- What about your brand identity visuals?
When building your brand identity, you have to think of the visuals that you will be using to communicate with your target audience.
This includes your logo, images that you will use in your social media posts, images that go into our website, etc.
- Create a branding strategy brief
If you have a branding strategy and want everybody to be on the same page, then it is imperative that you have a branding strategy brief.
Everybody in the team, right from the creative & graphics team all the way to the higher-up management should be on the same page when it comes to the concepts being used to create the brand.
The concepts should be clarified in a brief that is circulated to every person in the business.
- Look into other brand strategies
Although we have talked about analyzing the competition, when it comes to your brand identity, you need to look at other conies and how they do their brand strategy.
You do not have to go out a duplicate what they have already done; not at all. However, knowing what they are doing can get your creativity going.
You may be trying to adopt or avoid a certain trend. The more you know, the better informed you are. You will be able to come up with a strong brand identity that stands apart from the rest.
- Think of the micro-moments – just like Google.
Google came up with the concept of “micro-moments” – the time of the day when people are bound to be looking for something on the Internet.
With people browsing using Smartphones, the concept become more relevant because the potential customers will be looking for those products and services at that particular time, wherever they may be.
Society today has a habit of “looking it up” before they decide to buy any product or service, and you should take advantage of this.
Think about your day from the moment you wake up till the moment you go to bed.
Think of your browsing habits and the things you look up at specific times.
Now think of how your brand can offer value at those particular moments.
If you are a restaurant, the best time to make special offers would be breakfast, lunch and dinner time.
- Consider each and every element of your brand and assign resources accordingly
Getting your brand identity out there using all channels available will definitely bring you the kind of customer engagement that will boost your business. However, budgetary limitations makes this an impossible task.
Look at all the elements of your brand, give them a rating according to their effectiveness and then assign a budget accordingly.
Knowing your target audience and your brand, will help you know which channels should get the most attention when it comes to budgeting.
If you run a food delivery service, then you should put budgetary emphasis on branding the vehicles and the food packaging.
- Packaging is another way of getting your brand identity out there
Packaging is a very important part of creating a brand identity, that you could create an entire blog on the topic alone.
When a brand makes you smile whenever you see their ingenious packaging creativity, then you will always remember that brand.
Make packaging attractive and delightful and build a strong brand identity.
- Apps are a great way of solidifying your brand identity
Many companies are developing apps that people can use on their mobile devices as a way of solidifying their brand identity.
However, when creating these apps, companies should think about the branding identity to be placed on the apps.
When you decide to go high-tech and create an app, do not forget about the branding. Many a company have created apps that seem to be an island when comes to the rest of the company.
If you own a restaurant and want to create an app where people can quickly order their meals, and have them delivered to their doorsteps, make sure that the branding on the app is consistent with that on your website, social media, etc.
- Move with your brand wherever you go
This means branding all your company vehicles in an attractive and visible manner. Most companies will just put a logo on the door of the vehicle, but it would be great if you could invest a little more in branding the entire vehicle.
- Use video to enhance and showcase your brand
If you have not started video marketing, then you are losing out on a popular and effective branding channel.
People are watching videos more these days, thanks to the growing attachment to browsing on Smartphones.
Brands have used videos in many ways to make them more appealing to their target customers.
Imagine if you could get football legend Cristiano Ronaldo to come visit your restaurant and have it on video. It would go viral within a matter of minutes!
- Think about the responsiveness of your brand elements.
The most important element that you should think about is the logo. How will it look when it shrinks on a mobile screen?
You must create a logo that will be displayed properly on all devices, and there are several considerations to be made when thinking of the display on a smaller screen
Most brand do not consider the mobile’s impact on the logo design, even if they understand the importance of mobile design.
Some designers still look at a mobile device as a delivery means, and will just create a logo to fit all; there should be a logo specifically designed for the mobile phone. Perhaps make it fill the screen, and not shrink.
- Use social media to vamp your brand and attract more customers
Facebook has over 1.4 billion members worldwide. This is still the primary social media platform when it comes to engaging with existing and potential customers.
Do not forget about Instagram either. A picture can say a thousand words and that is the truth.
Many companies are using Instagram to build their brand identity. Simply selecting one photo at a time will give your brand the boost it needs to remain strong.
Think about the brand attributes that you can express in a photo, create the photo and then post it on Instagram. It will be shared and you will get the attention that your brand needs.
- A strong brand identity must create memorable experiences
It is imperative that you always create brand experiences that people will remember and talk about. Think about the way you would welcome people at your restaurant, the extra services you give to your customers when they call for help, the way you make it easy to navigate your website.
All these experiences matter when it comes to building and maintaining a strong brand identity.
When you give your customers a great brand experience, the n they are bound to shout about it from their rooftops.
You will find the experience on all social media sites.
Take care about these experiences; a bad brand experience will also be talked about but in a very negative manner that will hurt the brand identity.
- Create products that generate instant buzz for a strong brand identity.
You have to be creative ad bold when you are creating your products or services. When they generate a buzz within your customer base, then you solidify your brand identity.
- Be authentic at every touch point in the creation and maintenance of your brand identity
Even if you have a very big company, without authenticity, your brand will not last as long as it would have if only you embraced an authentic approach.
There is no need to hype everything about your brand; you may end up hurting it as opposed to getting it loved.
Be the best at what you do. Let our customers know your true intentions at all points in the creation of the brand identity.
Clear away from using hype in order to brag about how good your brand, products or services are. Sometimes people just don’t like a brand with an inflated ego.
Customers are perceptive, and when they come across too much hype, then they begin to think that there is something wrong with the brad.
Just be you and you will get followers coming to you on their own accord.