Creating a brand identity for your small business that helps define your brand image is an important task that many neglect. But there are definitely benefits for businesses that take the time to establish their brand and use it consistently.
- Creating a brand identity that reflects your values can create a strong connection with your customers.
- Implementing your brand consistently on all media platforms, whether online or offline, helps customers distinguish you from your competitors
- Being true to your values and providing excellent customer experience shapes the perception that customers have of your brand.
So it is important to understand that corporate identity, brand identity and brand image are different. And those differences are important to the success of your marketing.
Corporate identity is the visual aspects of the company style and personality. It is a combination of color, graphics and typography with guidelines on how these elements are used across all media types.
Media types include your website, marketing collateral, social media profiles and other physical representations of your business. Visual elements include logo, color palette and fonts and anything that provides an visual representation of your business.
When you establish a clear and consistent corporate identity, you achieve a distinctive image that clearly differentiates you from your competitors. Being different makes it easier for your customers to remember you. Having a consistent look and feel across all communications creates a strong brand.
In order to maintain consistency across all media, it is helpful to create a style guide. This guide ensures that any time your target audience sees your business online or offline, it is consistently represented and therefore, more memorable.
Brand identity is the total value proposition that a company makes to its customers. It may consist of features and attributes, benefits, performance, quality, service, support, and the values that the brand possesses. Your brand identity plays a role in whether a customer chooses you over your competitors.
The brand identity is who you really are. Think of it as your positioning statement with a personality and a set of values. It is:
- The promise that you make to your customers.
- Everything the company wants customers to think and feel about them.
- The position it occupies in people’s minds.
A well-implemented brand identity makes you memorable, builds trust and can lead to brand loyalty among your customers.
Brand image is the way a customer thinks or feels about your brand based on the experience they may have with your brand. Depending on whether this experience is good or bad determines your brand image. In other words, your brand image influences your reputation.
If the customer has a negative experience, you have to work hard to change the perception of your brand. If customers have positive experiences, you are more likely to build customer loyalty and a very strong competitive advantage for your brand.
The most important thing you can do when creating your brand identity is:
Ensure that how your customers perceive you – your brand image – is aligned with how you want to be perceived – brand identity.
One of the most valuable assets a company can have is a strong brand where customer perceptions of quality, service, and the intangible associations that come to mind when the brand name is seen or heard.
Monitor your brand to avoid surprises
Your business works hard to develop a strong brand identity. It’s easy to set it and forget it, but that can be a problem. Monitor your citations, social media profiles, website and off-line marketing materials to ensure your brand remains consistent in how it is used.
When you are monitoring your brand, also make sure there are no surprise bad reviews that haven’t been responded to. That is the quickest way for your brand image to be misaligned with your brand identity.
Staying true to your brand
Once you have established your brand identity, you must remain consistent in how you interact with your customers. Your public personality may be friendly and inviting, but if a customer has a negative experience with your business, it can drive that customer to your competition.