The online world is crowded with content. According to Brandwatch, there are 4.54 billion people using the internet and 3.725 billion active social media users who spend an average of 142 minutes a day scrolling through their feeds. 81 percent of small and medium business owners utilize some kind of social media in their marketing, which means that the average person is being inundated with hundreds – if not thousands – of pieces of content every day.
So, how do you grab their attention and stand out among the noise? You create a solid and unique brand identity that captures the essence of who you are. Today’s consumers want more than just another product. They want a company they can connect with, a voice they can identify with, a message they can get behind.
Here are 5 ways to build a brand identity that people can connect with in a meaningful way.
1. Define Your Audience – Your “Who”
Defining your audience is the crucial foundation of any good online marketing strategy. It impacts the way you develop your products and services – all the way from naming them to choosing the marketing channels where you promote them. Just remember, it’s less about the product and more about the customer.
Author and business leader Seth Godin says, “You don’t find customers for your products. You find products for your customers.” Without customers, you don’t have a business, much less a brand to form an identity around. It doesn’t matter what you’re selling if no one is buying.
In order to build a solid brand identity, you need to create products that deliver value to your customers. And in order to understand what those customers value, you have to get to know them. What problem does the customer need solving? Who will your product help? What are their demographics? How do they engage online? What drives their buying decisions? How can you reach them? Answering these questions is a great way to define your ideal customer.
2. Find your purpose – Your “Why”
If your target audience is the ‘who’, then the purpose of your brand is the ‘why.’ It’s the meaning behind your existence. It defines not only the products or services you deliver but the heart and soul of your business. Having a clear purpose allows you to engage with your audience on an emotional and meaningful level.
In today’s overcrowded online world, it’s no longer enough just to have a USP and tired taglines about why your product is better than your competitors. You have to create a connection with your audience that goes beyond price points and clichés. Give them something to care about. A purpose-driven brand can inspire loyalty, relatability and a devoted following who will be more than happy to spread the word about your company.
3. Stay Consistent
Your brand identity is, in essence, a promise that you’re making to your audience, and it’s a promise you have to keep if you want to build a devoted following. If your identity doesn’t consistently live up to its promise, then all of your branding efforts will be a waste of time.
Consistency is the key to building a brand that can compete in an overcrowded market. But that consistency needs to go beyond just the products themselves. Your voice and values – the promise you make to your customers – needs to be crystal clear at every touchpoint. This means that every department in your company needs to understand and implement your brand identity. There’s a reason why companies like Starbucks have such a devoted fan base. You know your favorite order will taste the same at any location. Consistency develops trust and loyalty.
4. Inject Emotion with Colors & Logos
To help you stay consistent, it’s important to create a brand guide that reflects the who and why of your identity. When choosing your colors, your logo, even the font for your text, tap into your audience and your purpose for inspiration. Think about how you can visually reflect those pieces of your identity.
Here are a couple of examples of a clear visual brand identity.
Headspace is a meditation app that uses a cheerful, soothing color palette, which conveys a message of less stress and more joy. This visual identity carries over into their social media as well, creating a consistent and cohesive user experience across all channels.
Airbnb is all about adventure, travel, and community. Their color palette, the use of people in their images and the instantly recognizable bold pink logo all come together to create a feeling that draws people into their story.
5. Make Social Media Work for Your Brand
We’ve established that the market is crowded, but it’s also very wide. There is still room for you to make a splash. Once you’ve established your brand identity, set up your website, and begun to create content, it’s time to get it out there. Here are a few guidelines for getting the most out of social media.
- Approach social media with brand consistency in mind. You put brand guidelines in place for a reason. Make sure your tone and personality stay consistent across all social media channels.
- Select the right topics for your brand’s content calendar. Make sure that the message you’re putting out there is in line with your purpose and will clearly speak to your target audience.
- Look for opportunities to create content that makes sense for your brand. If you’re a data-based company, create an infographic that plays to your strengths. If there are social causes that your brand supports, show how you get involved. Add video and live stream to your content for a deeper connection.
- Bring offline into the online world. If you’ve attended a conference or had an exciting event in the office, share about it on social media. Letting your customers get a ‘behind-the-scenes’ glimpse into your business helps you connect even more.
Share with us your brand success stories. If you haven’t quite figured out your personal brand formula or need help to tell a consistent brand story, drop us a line.