As marketplaces continue to grow and diversify, it’s becoming more difficult than ever for companies to stand out from the crowd. Not only is it challenging to break into your industry and attract an audience, but becoming a trusted, resilient, and successful business in the age of e-commerce is an uphill battle.
Being social media and smartphone users, we are all aware of just how much advertising and marketing content is presented to us each day. This constant bombardment has (inevitably) resulted in customers becoming less connected to companies and more suspicious of their intentions, with a recent global survey revealing that consumers wouldn’t care if 75% of brands just disappeared.
So, if we truly have entered an age of cynicism when it comes to marketing, how can companies break through the noise and win the loyalty of their audience?
The answer: a strong brand identity. It’s as simple, and as complex, as that. Here are some essential elements to consider when creating your unique brand:
BRAND IDENTITY ELEMENT 1) UNDERSTANDING YOUR AUDIENCE
Over the past few years, the company-consumer relationship has shifted dramatically in favour of the consumer. With companies now conducting the majority of their business dealings online, consumers have been flooded with choice and the ability to research brands in detail before purchasing a product or service.
It is now even more vital to understand your ideal customer or target audience inside out. Beyond basic demographics, you need to construct a detailed customer persona, from what issues they face to what social media platforms they frequent. There’s no point wasting your time posting on LinkedIn when your desired audience is over on Twitter! To learn more about social media branding, check out our posts about building brands on Instagram and YouTube.
BRAND IDENTITY ELEMENT 2) HAVING A STRONG VISUAL DESIGN
From Apple to Netflix, one thing that the most successful brands in the world have in common is that they’re easily recognisable. The visual design of your company, including the logo, typography, colour palette and graphics, needs to be distinctive in order to be memorable. When done correctly, this visual representation of your brand can position you as an industry expert long before potential customers engage with any of your content.
Have little or no design experience? No problem! PowerPoint is a great user-friendly tool with a range of templates, fonts, shapes, and images to help create each visual element of your brand’s design on a budget.
BRAND IDENTITY ELEMENT 3) BALANCING COHESION WITH CREATIVITY
There is a fine line between our desire for familiarity and our love of innovation, but it’s a line that brands with longevity have learned to navigate. Your brand design needs to be creative enough to capture the attention of an audience, but also cohesive in its construction.
Customers care about companies they have created an ongoing connection with, and by keeping your branding consistent you can assure them that you continue to offer the same high quality and level of service that they remember. Therefore, once you have established a strong brand design, we also recommend creating a style guide which staff and stakeholders can refer to in order to maintain that consistency.
BRAND IDENTITY ELEMENT 4) CULTIVATING A TRUSTED VOICE
Staying relevant to customers is no longer just about reasonable prices and product availability. Consumers want brands to be more human; that is, to demonstrate meaning beyond chasing profit. This purpose could be the pursuit of innovation, sustainability, community support, social justice, or another issue related to your industry. The point is that purpose-driven companies which engage with the world around them are seen as more authentic, responsible, and meaningful, making consumers more willing to support them in return.
One effective way to articulate your purpose is through social media, where you can nurture a sense of community amongst your followers and interact with them on a personal level. The sociability of brands is fast becoming critical, and companies which seem distant or out of touch with their customer base could find themselves being left behind.
Ready to start building a stronger brand identity? Check out our free downloadable eBook The Ultimate Guide to Audience Engagement and discover more ways to attract and retain the loyalty of consumers in the brave new world of digital media.