Establishing a Clear-cut Brand Identity is Key
A lot of people think that “brand identity” is just a logo or a product name, or both; but a brand is much more than either. Brand identity is what people think, feel, and remember about your business. When it comes to brand identity, the ultimate goal is to become the most respected, trusted and recognized resource or provider of the type of product or service that your company offers.
Let’s look at some familiar brands. When people need to look something up online, they simply “Google” it. Google has been so successful at establishing a brand identity that its name has become a verb and synonymous with the service that the company offers. Also, when a person sneezes, more often than not they may request a “Kleenex,” instead of a tissue. Other companies that enjoy this level of successful branding include Band-Aid and Q-Tip.
One of the most important things to consider when creating a brand identity is your target audience. They are the ones who formulate an opinion of your brand, so you’ll need to consider how your name, logo, color scheme, and related aspects are perceived by them. Start with your customers. They bought your product or service for a reason. Now is the time to ask them what they thought, how you could have done better, and what other items/services they need. You never know when a customer might have hired you to perform a task and had no idea of the other beneficial services or products you offer. Since your product or service has already made a loyal believer in your company, it should be easier to cross-sell them to your other offerings.
As the old adage goes, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” By enemies, we mean competitors; see what they are doing and learn from their practices. Is their brand strategy successful? Is their brand memorable? Once you’ve done your research, make sure your brand has a clear differentiator that will keep you top of mind.
Finally, and arguably most importantly, protect your brand! All the brands mentioned above were first trade-marked (™), and then eventually became registered marks (®). The registered mark is the most valuable status of finally arriving in the marketplace (not unlike a patented invention) and offers the ultimate protection from competitors. Logos, product/service names, and even slogans can and should go through this formal process if there is value in distinguishing and protecting the brand.
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