Cultivating A Brand Identity Essential
It is a mistake to think that a brand identity starts and ends with a fancy or flashy logo. Far from it, brand identity has more to do with creating and nurturing relationships that foster how a brand is perceived.
A brand is something that needs to be nurtured and cultivated; a necessity for customers to make the choice to engage with a business instead of with a competitor. It is a representation of the business in the eyes of customers.
A brand identity is at the forefront of how a business is perceived and perception in the eyes of the customer is everything. The elements of a brand; the name, logo, tone, typeface and tagline, should all be aimed at reflecting the value the business is trying to project onto the market.
What Is A Brand?
Before going any further, it is important to clearly establish what a brand is. The word brand can have varying meanings depending on your inclination or focus.
One definition of the word has to do with the source of a product or service. It is used in the sense of who owns the brand in order for customers to clearly identify it as originating from a certain company or business. In this definition, it is meant to signify ownership and identity, just as cattle ranchers used branding irons to mark their cattle as a unique form of identifying cattle as coming from their ranches on the way to the slaughter house.
Another definition of the word has to do with how customers perceive a business. In this case, brand has to do with what people think when they hear the brand name of the business or see its imagery. It is important to note that this is something that exists purely in people’s minds.
What Is A Brand Identity?
Having established what a brand is, we can move on to clarifying the meaning of brand identity.
A brand identity is what a business creates in order for it to uniquely identify its products or services as well as create a certain desired perception in the minds of customers.
This identity and perception of the business are what it communicates to its customers through branding and marketing strategies. Brand identity incorporates the following elements; brand vision, brand culture, positioning, personality, relationships, and presentations.
Building and Maintaining A Reputation
Reputation is a strong determinant of how a business is perceived. A reputation is something that a business acquires through its interaction with customers. The various contact points between a business and its customers build and cement reputations.
A good reputation will translate into a business finding more customers and experiencing sustainable growth whilst a poor reputation can ruin a business. The powerful thing about reputations is the networking effect. Each of the business’ customers is connected to numerous other people, each of whom has a potential to become a customer. Furthermore, those other people are also connected to other people and the chain of relationships goes on and on.
Because of this network effect, a reputation can spread very quickly and spread even faster if it is a bad reputation. There is something about human nature that makes us spread bad news faster than good news.
Seeing how critical a good reputation is , it is crucial that a business maintains a good reputation when cultivating its brand identity. Just as bad reputations spread faster than good ones, a reputation is more quickly destroyed than it is built. Bear in mind that a reputation that took years to develop can easily be destroyed in an instant.
Essential For Survival
It is essential for a business to develop a coherent brand identity which is in turn essential to the survival of the business.
What a brand identity does is form mental and functional associations of the brand in the minds of customers which cultivates unique familiarity and differentiation that other businesses cannot easily replicate. This makes the business unique and will go a long way in ensuring its survival.
Brand identity, by forming these strong associations in the mind of the customer, represents the total promise that a business makes to customers. It is what you want your customers to believe they will receive by doing business with you which is specific and unique to your business.
What a business says and does should resonate with its brand identity which ultimately has an impact on its long term survival. This includes the service it delivers and the quality of customer services offered in comparison to other brands.
It is crucial that a business works hard to cultivate a strong brand identity to ensure its long term survival. Whilst working towards developing a strong brand identity, it is important to minimize the gap between the business’ public image and brand identity. Such a gap, if significant, means that the business is losing touch with market sentiment and may result in poor product or services offerings or loss of monetary value.