What’s commonly known as brand identity is not the same as your brand image. Your identity is the message you broadcast to your ideal customers via blogs, social media, ads, webinars, etc. In other words, it’s everything you choose to let your customers see, feel, and hear when they interact with your brand.
In the past, it was just an ad in the newspaper or phone call from a salesman. Now, business communication engages all of the five senses. The businesses that understand how to put who they are and what they are (i.e. your brand identity) into their content will win the attention and the money of their clients.
This article will show you the steps you need to take to identify your brand identity and solidify it within each piece of content you create
Step One: Create Your Brand Vision
Every business must know who it is and where it’s going. This step continually gets confused with goal-setting, and is similar but requires a slightly different approach.
Your brand’s vision is the core values you choose to include into every piece of content you create. For example, your company sells a social media management tool. You need to show the world why you created this product. What need did it fulfill for you personally? Did your customers tell you they needed it?
Just creating a product because you know it will make lots of money is fine. I’m not saying you need to have a “save the world” product for this to work. All you need is to represent 3-5 values like organization, integrity, or balance then insert those values into your content to elicit a feeling of symbiosis with your customer. Many times you’ll see these kinds of values in the company mission statement or about page, but rarely do you feel it in the daily content you read.
These ideas are very basic, but you’d probably be surprised how many companies fail to have a set of core values or a mission statement on their website. It’s like it’s a big secret they can’t tell the world. Unfortunately, today companies that want to thrive online need to show people who they are to build the trust needed to inspire purchases.
Spending enough time and energy to know who you are and what you want for the world is a step you need not skip. Everything you do after this step will be affected by it.
Step Two: Represent Your Brand Vision Graphically
This section talks about how your brand identity becomes your brand’s image. It’s represented by the content on your website, the keywords and phrases, ads, direct mail pieces, and logos. It’s everything you want your customers to see when they think about your company, right down to the color palette.
Making wise decisions is essential to understanding how you should position yourself in the world. Should you use more pastels or have live videos in the office? Should you make the brand about certain key players or ‘rockstars?’
Some companies do really well by making their social media marketer their spokesperson. It doesn’t always have to be the CEO leading the charge on social media. It just needs to be someone with the right energy to represent your company’s brand identity.
Step Three: Interweave Your Brand Identity Into Your Content Marketing Strategy
Now that you have your vision, core values, and graphics, your brand identity has some shape to it. The next step is to start creating content. I’m not one of those sticklers that say content is just on your website or whitepapers, or something like that. To me, content marketing (click for the definition I use) is everything that makes your business really soar.
Think about the last time you saw an ad for a product you liked. You probably checked them out online before you bought it, right? You probably Googled it, looked at their website, read the about page, blogs, and pricing. After that, you might scour the reviews on Amazon and some competitors websites, and if it passes your internal “sniff” tests you most likely bought the product.
Each piece of content your customer reads either pushes them closer to or further away from making a purchase from you versus your competitors. How do they know how good your product is until it’s in their hands? They don’t, and they can only go off of what content you give them and what other people say.
It’s difficult to control what other people say, but you can control everything you say. If you intertwine all you brand identity into the words you use you will have a greater chance of making your clients choose you over your competition. They choose you because they align with your values more than the others if at all.
How to Put Your Values Into Your Content
Let’s go back to the social media management tool. Your values may include trust, transparency, and customer service. You can include blogs or social posts that talk about creating transparency on your social media. Another example is teaching your clients to build trust with their own clients.
You can show these values in an infinite amount of ways using videos, blogs, emails, and webinars. If you create a blog on trust, you can also make a video for your YouTube channel and link to it from Twitter and Facebook.
Many marketers put videos, infographics, checklists, and summaries into each blog they create. Creating a network of content for your customers to consume all day is the key to building every business online. Relying solely on ads will only get you so far, but building a community with content marketing will change your business forever and ensure your success.
Step Four: Broadcast Your Brand From A Mountain Top
When you finally have your brand identity set. You need to scream it from the mountain tops to be heard. You have to fight through the noise of social media and get in front of your clients every day. They won’t see it every day, but they will see it frequently enough to buy if you post your content daily.
The best marketers blog about 3 times a week and post multiple times a day on their social platforms. Companies should have the marketing department in charge of keeping social accounts stocked with creative and fresh content every day.
A great tool to use Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat Stories function to provide a quick and easy snapshot of what your company is doing every day. Forward thinking, companies actually make it part of everyone’s job to broadcast the company messages via social media on their personal accounts too.
The picture quality, lighting, and sound quality always come second to heartfelt content that tells a good story. If you look at brands that rebuild themselves after some bad PR, you’ll see the same trends all the time.
One such company was Domino’s Pizza. They were on the ropes with bad publicity and needed a change. They used brutal honesty and transparency to get back on their customer’s good side. Check out this video they released a few months after an embarrassing video of employees degrading a customers pizza before serving it to them.
Not every company needs something this drastic, but every company needs transparency when trying to sell a product to anyone online. Since they can’t talk to you personally, they will listen and if what they hear sounds or feels off they won’t buy from you.
Step Five: Monitor Your Brand
Monitoring your brand is essential due to the highly volatile online marketing world. Keeping up with current trends day-in and day-out is something few people can do alone. Creating a team that buys into your brand identity becomes a necessity the longer you are in business. Here are some great ways to stay connected and current to the changing tides in today’s social world.
Hire a Brand Identity Manager
This is one of the best hires you’ll ever make. Imagine a person that is paid to be forward-thinking based on all the current information out there. Their job is to keep your company on the cutting-edge of marketing, by experimenting with new branding techniques and closely monitoring if the content produced either helps or hurts your company’s goals.
Remember, what I said about the process you go through when you see a product you’d like to buy. Your brand identity manager will ensure that each content piece enhances the experience of a buyer and fulfills your content marketing strategy.
Google alerts is a great way to stay connected to the changing conditions in your industry. Just follow the link and fill in your preferences to receive alerts via email everytime something happens in your industry.
Follow Thought Leaders in Your Industry on Twitter
Twitter is an exceptional tool to broadcast your brand identity to the entire world. It’s also a great tool to get more information on your industry right to your phone.
If you use the notifications toggle in the settings menu of your favorite influencers profile, you can set it to alert you every time they post. If they post great articles and provide high-quality links you can share them with your team and stay ahead of the curve.
Create RSS feeds with Feedly
If you like reading the blogs of your industry’s best but can’t keep track of them all. Set up a free Feedly account and stay up to date with ease.
Building your community takes time, and becoming a long-term minded company is difficult when you consider your stock price or making quarterly gains.
As a leader, it’s important to improve your communication skills to effectively articulate your brand identity to everyone inside and outside of your company. A long-term focus needs course correction along the way. Being able to explain why you’re doing what you’re doing is necessary to keep everyone on the right track.
If you’re interested in building your brand on Instagram or Snapchat, check out this article to understand which platform works better for your brand.