If you’ve been in the marketing world for any amount of time, you’ve surely heard preached the importance of having a strong and identifiable brand. It sounds so simple, but it goes way beyond the name you attach to an organization. So what does it really mean for a company, an agency, or any business with an outward presence to have a brand? This blog post will walk you through three easy steps to identifying the market you’re trying to reach and the brand personality that can help get you there.
1. Understand how to identify a brand’s brand.
And then try saying a brand’s brand five times fast.
The term brand, or brand identity, is commonly used in the marketing space. It’s a little word that means so much. Your brand sums up the entire culmination of who you are–whether you’re branding for an individual, a business, or an organization–and what you want to portray to your audience. Having a clear brand is what breathes life into a company, and it’s a more salient marketing tactic to the average consumer than one might think. When a company’s brand is strong, it feels more genuine, more human, more likeable! And when a brand is weak, it makes it difficult for an audience to connect.
As consumers, whether we mean to or not, we size up brands in the same way we size up people. If a brand's personality feels sweet and approachable, we’re more likely to want to be around them. If a brand presents itself as cool and mysterious, we might feel more drawn to want to try it for ourselves and crack the mystery. A brand personality is like the lifeblood of a business. We see it on social media posts, on websites, and in ads, and it affects the way we perceive a brand… and how likely we are to want to try it.
Think about some of the big, ubiquitous brands and what their brand personality is trying to tell you. What’s the brand difference between Doritos and Cheerios, for example? Between Target and Nordstrom? Being able to break down branding and the statement it makes about a company’s ideal audience is a key first step in understanding how to build a strong brand personality of your own.
2. Formulate your most effective brand presentation.
There are so many ways to build a brand. It can feel overwhelming, but, really, it’s a good thing! There’s all kinds of formulas to make your brand stand out from the crowd of your competitors.
Creating a clear brand begins with deciding what you want your voice to say, how you want it to sound. Here are a few primary types of brand personalities that can serve as a great place to start in identifying what would best suit you:
- Excited, joyful, lively, youthful
- Sincere, informative, value-oriented, helpful
- Cool, punchy, artsy, fashion-forward
- Competent, intelligent, accomplished, authoritative
- Sophisticated, well-rounded, mature, elegant
- Rugged, sporty, outdoorsy, masculine
There’s no one right selection from this list based on the category your company falls into, either. For example, I have a previous background in the real estate sphere. Many real estate agents opt to present their brand as sincere: ready to help, and genuinely interested in meeting their community’s needs. But when I think about the agents with brands that really stand out, I think of the ones that bring a sense of party and celebration to their brand. I’ve seen real estate groups bring jello shots to marketing events rather than swag, or regularly post videos of themselves participating in the hottest new TikTok trends because it suits their energetic, youthful brand. They reap the benefit of standing out, getting noticed.
Keep in mind, it won’t work for every audience member. In the same real estate example, many people will seek out a sincere, helpful agent and look for that branding to key them into who would be a good fit for them. Many want to know their agent is accomplished and will get the job done right, so they seek out competence-coded branding. But all of this is the beauty of branding! There’s something for everyone, and there’s plenty of uniqueness to go around.
3. Consistency is key.
If we’re thinking about brands like people, having a company that pushes out an inconsistent brand is like having a friend who’s bubbly and cheerful one day and dreary and pessimistic the next. Just like with people, when we don’t always know what personality we’re going to get from a business, we won’t be as likely to return.
Some key components of building a consistent brand personality are imagery and language. Does your brand present itself with light, bright imagery on social media but have a dark logo and website? Or does your language come across as professional and to-the-point online, but your email and social media marketing is energetic and full of exclamation points? These inconsistencies add up to a brand that feels unsure of itself and in turn unclear to an audience.
You want your target audience to have a clear image in mind when they think of you. A concise color scheme, a recognizable voice. If they know they can rely on your social media posts to make them laugh, or to provide informative how-to’s, or whatever it is that makes your brand stand out from the crowd, people will be more likely to stick around–to follow your social media accounts, to open your emails, and to think of you when they have a need your business can meet.
Keeping your brand true to its personality is a great foundation to improving brand loyalty, growing and maintaining a following, and retaining a customer base. So, whatever your brand may be, keep it consistent!
Now that you’ve got some easy steps in your back pocket to creating a brand that is clear, likeable, and consistent… how will you brand your business, your organization, or even yourself?
Whether it’s building your brand from the ground up, rebranding, or anything in between, let us help your team build a brand that speaks to your target market.
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