Brand identity is crucial to your business. This is even more true on the internet, where your image must be thought and worked on. Building your brand takes time, a lot of time, often years, but it can provide benchmarks for your customers. This is why the key to a brand that shines is consistency.
In this article, we are going to show you the 7 steps to build your brand identity. You’ll see that some steps are more important than others, but the idea is to follow this path.
For this article, we were inspired by an article in English which you can find here.
Let’s go !
# 1 Put your finger on your brand goal
All brands that succeed in establishing themselves in the eyes of their customers have a clear objective.
It’s about identifying what makes you unique, asking yourself why customers should pay attention to your product or service, and how to reach them. What problem solves your product or service, and if not, what benefit does it bring? How does your business help a community of people? These are the questions that need to be answered.
# 2 Find your potential competitors
Take the time to make an overview of the companies in your sector and identify your direct and indirect competitors. Be sure to widen the spectrum as much as possible: for example, if you plan to launch an e-commerce clothing store, be interested in big traditional brands, but also in accessories stores, socks, etc.
Identify successful companies in your sector and list their characteristics in a table. Do a comparison and identify what you can do better or differently. In your table must appear an essential data, which will ask you to exercise your critical spirit to find the defects and margins of progress of your competitors. Also take into account the positive, negative and mixed customer reviews that abound on the internet about your customers. You will realize that certain elements serve or serve the brand image of your competitors.
Ultimately, your goal will be to convince your customers that you can serve them instead of your competitors.
# 3 Determine your target customers
This step is surely the most important. To meet the needs of a clientele, you have to know them. The key to this step is torefine the customer profile as much as possible.
In other words, the portrait you make of your typical client must at least include their gender, age, level of education and income, and place of residence (for example, major metropolitan area or village). But it is necessary to go further, in particular by identifying your customer’s motivations, beliefs, consumption habits, etc. The objective here is to highlight a niche profile, sufficiently limited and precise to constitute your core target .
You don’t want to leave things to chance, especially your customers. Because understanding who needs your services is already perfecting them. You will need to reshape your offer regularly. This is why it is important to integrate this data about your customers into your branding process.
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# 4 Treat your message
In one sentence, include your target client and describe what you are doing. Not only will you put your finger on the usefulness of your products and services, but you will gain legitimacy with yourself and your customers. This message may appear on the home page of your site, and be associated with your logo on various media (blog post, social networks, flyers, etc.).
List the qualities of your brand. Be careful, not just a list of your products and services, but rather your strengths in specific areas: logistics, customer experience, development process … An example: for a company selling fruit and vegetables online, this can be the use of short circuits, a guarantee of quality and freshness of the products.
Try to identify how what you are doing benefits a large number of people. If possible, highlight your mission. At a time when the consumer is more informed than yesterday, the values that your company supports count more than ever. So keep in mind that customers have a greater interest in corporate social responsibility. Also, what appeared to be a constraint could prove to be an asset for your brand image.
# 5 nurture customer sentiment for your brand
Once you have your arguments in mind, you will need to convey them with a single voice. What tone do you speak to your customers in? Are you informative, friendly, humorous, technical? This step is essential: you don’t want your customers to choose your default brand.
Defining a tone will be particularly useful in your interactions on social networks. Communication based on humor and interaction has a lot of impact on Twitter for example: Dairy Products post complicit messages to their followers and do not hesitate to make jokes, while Decathlon launches sporting challenges for Internet users . These accounts, like many others, sometimes use news to bring their customers closer to them and consolidate their brand image.
If being humorous is a bonus, you don’t have to. But keep in mind that adopting a signature in your messages to the public is essential, consistent with the products and services you offer.
Fostering affection for your brand can take different forms: talking to or seeing your audience, showing behind the scenes of your business, sharing experiences, even fears that you have around your activity, imagining games related to your activity, a original chatbot for your site, etc. But the principle remains the same: you want your potential customers to feel at home.
# 6 Create your logo and slogan
It’s certainly the most exciting step. Creating your logo allows you to give a strong visual dimension to your brand. For that, it is advisable to create a graphic charter, which will be your line of conduct in visual communication. But designing your logo and visual identity is a difficult task, so we recommend that you hire a professional graphic designer.
The previous steps will help you reflect and choose the characteristics of your logo: typography, colors, iconography, photography …
To understand the importance of a successful logo in creating a strong brand, think of the newspaper The world : Gothic typography was the first used for printing in the Middle Ages. By using it, the newspaper recalls a time when knowledge spreads, when architecture is reinvented, and when beliefs are turned upside down. It is therefore a reference of choice for the newspaper and its readers are implicitly found there.
Another example: the Nike logo, the famous “comma”, was inspired by a goddess from London mythology, Nike. During Antiquity, her name was surely much better known than in our time, before the Nike company recycled the set of ideas and values associated with the goddess. Athletes who buy from Nike buy more than one product, they buy the idea that this product conveys, symbolized by the famous “comma”.
When choosing your slogan, keep it simple: remember your reason for existing, and why your business is essential to your customers. Much of your thinking will come from your efforts to build affect around your service.
Discover our complete guide on the cost of creating a logo (with a zoom on 4 options).
# 7 Be consistent
Of course, the world is constantly changing and new requirements can be added to your specifications. But make no mistake: the best weapon of your brand image is its consistency. Also, if you change elements of your communication, keep the essentials.
Take the example of McDonald’s communication: a decade ago, the logo of the firm passed on a green background, to underline its interest in environmental issues. This was accompanied by targeted communication on the nature and proximity of certain products. But McDonald’s can still be identified by its logo made of a capital yellow M reminiscent of their golden fries. In addition, if the firm is trying to move upmarket with more expensive and apparently more qualitative menus, the promise remains the same as at the outset: being able to eat in quick service, including via a drive-in order.
Consistency therefore depends on respecting your promise. Think of Amazon. The firm’s promise is to find a place to hang out where people can chat, feel comfortable and work around an Americano cafe. The idea of comfort is omnipresent in the design of the coffee shop. But there is a little extra that makes the difference with the competition: each customer has his name on his cup. There may not be a better way to tell someone that he is recognized and welcome.
In conclusion, it should be remembered that your brand image will depend first on your business objectives. All the above steps will not have the same weight depending on what you want to sell. You will not have the same approach depending on your target customers.
In addition, different techniques exist to build an effective and attractive brand: the user experience on your site, emailing, product packaging, customer service, etc.
But the key words will be the same regardless of your business model: consistency and consistency. Try to keep the same attention to your branding, and apply the same branding principles across all levels of your business.