A brand’s concept may appear straightforward or even obvious at first. However, a lot of individuals might be unaware of the fact that brand identity extends much beyond the material. Your brand is far more than just the things that are immediately noticeable about your company, such as your name, logo, and brand colors. Actually, your brand is far more inclusive. What precisely is a brand, then? We’ll go over some of the more intricate branding ideas.
In addition to many visual components, a brand determines the visceral and often intangible aspects of your company’s identity. Everything is covered, including psychological linkages, visual cues, and brand voice and personality.
Many successful businesses are built on a solid foundation of a well-considered and distinct brand identity, especially internet businesses that usually lack the tangible brand elements of physical storefronts.
This article will describe the essential components of successful online brands and examine the definition of a brand. In this manner, you’ll have something to work from while creating your own brand. We’ll also look at a few brand examples that show how these components may come together to create some of the most iconic and prosperous brands in history.
There’s a widespread misperception that a company’s name and logo constitute its “brand,” according to many people. Though these components add to a company’s overall brand, “brand” truly refers to much more than that. It requires careful consideration to build your brand properly because it incorporates so many distinct components.
The four primary brand elements listed below are the ones you should focus on developing while creating your brand, along with some tactics you can use to enhance each one.
1. Brand Identity
Your brand identity is how you want your brand to be perceived. It’s important that you know what your brand identity is and what you want it to be. If you don’t, how is anyone else supposed to know? You’re going to have a tough time generating brand awareness if you lack a strong brand identity. The following are a few steps that you should take to establish your brand identity:
- Identify your mission What was the reason you established your company in the first place? What is your company’s goal? Consumers want to know what your mission is (and they don’t want to hear that it’s “to make a profit”) and it will reflect who you are as a company.
- Establish your unique value proposition Your unique value proposition is what sets you apart from your competitors. It’s a statement of how your offer benefits your customers, how you will meet the needs of your customers, and what makes your offer unique. Every marketing campaign you run should align with your unique value proposition.
- Create your brand’s visual identity The visual elements of your brand certainly factor into your brand identity. Just consider the logos and color palettes of some of the biggest companies out there, from Facebook’s simple logo and use of blue to McDonald’s golden arch and yellow and red palette. A strong logo that’s instantly recognizable is important, but so is choosing your colors. Different colors have different meanings and the colors you choose can have a psychological impact on your audience as well. For example, many fast-food restaurants use red and yellow because that combination of colors is thought to stimulate the appetite. Just keep in mind that consistency is key. If you decide to use shades of blue in your logo and on your website, then you should use those same colors for your social media pages, email newsletters, and physical location as well.
- Increase brand recognition It’s going to take some time to get your vision of your brand identity out to the masses. You’ll want to generate awareness of your brand to do this through a variety of marketing efforts, such as building a website that emphasizes your mission and unique value proposition, creating content that’s optimized for SEO, using social media to engage with consumers and to post your content, and more. It’s also vital that you make sure your mission, unique value proposition, and visual identity are consistent across all platforms. If it’s not, it will end up hurting your brand identity.
2. Brand Image
Your brand image is similar to your brand identity in that it deals with how your brand is perceived. However, whereas your brand identity is how you want your brand to be perceived, brand image is how your brand is actually perceived. Consider your brand image as the reputation you currently have with the general public. Take for example United Airlines. Not long ago, they updated their brand design in an attempt to strengthen their brand identity as a “thoughtful, modern, and innovative airline.”
However, their brand identity and brand image are currently quite different from each other after numerous massive PR failures regarding their customer service. Keeping that in mind, the following are a few ways to build and maintain a positive brand image:
- Spread your message via PR Use public relations to spread your key messages as well as relevant news concerning your company. You can do this through news outlets, trade publications, and even online blogs. Public relations will help you raise awareness of your brand and what you’re doing, thereby helping to improve your brand image.
- Establish a social presence Social media is an incredibly effective way to build your brand image, whether it’s by sharing content with consumers, keeping consumers up to date on the latest news and product launches, spreading awareness of your message, and engaging with consumers on a personal level. In fact, you can even use social media to address negative comments. It’s a good way to repair potential damage done to your brand image as a result of a poor customer experience by showing that you care and trying to correct the situation.
- Create high-quality content Content will help to increase brand awareness by bringing in more web traffic. However, it can also help to build your brand authority. By publishing content that is relevant to your company and to your audience (and that’s of high quality), you’ll become a trustworthy source of information, which — in turn — will help improve your reputation and increase brand trust.
3. Brand Culture
Brand culture refers to your company’s core values and how you set an example for those values. Businesses have always emphasized certain values; however, those values were often things like “reliability” or “honesty.” Values that are more equivalent to basic ethics. While those are important values to hold onto, more and more businesses have begun taking moral stances as well as political stances in addition to generally accepted values. These types of values feed into your brand culture as well.
Read Also: Logo Branding Ideas
Take Nike for example. They have taken strong social positions by running commercials backing Colin Kaepernick and recently touting the importance of the women’s U.S. soccer team’s World Cup win. These are branding efforts touting their championing of equality, which has become a part of their brand culture. The following are a few tips to help you establish your brand culture:
- Define your values: Define exactly what your values are and how your company lives out those values. Don’t be afraid of taking a stance if there’s a particular stance that you want to take. Using the Nike example again, their backing of Kaepernick was considered controversial and plenty of consumers did not agree with their position. However, those who did agree with their position became even more strongly aligned with Nike’s brand. You can’t please everyone, but by sticking to your values, you’ll be more likely to strengthen your relationship with many of your customers.
- Spread awareness of your values: Let consumers know about your values by declaring them on your website or by encouraging discussion about your values on social media. Publishing content that backs your values is an effective method as well.
- Ensure that your company reflects your values: There’s nothing consumers hate more than a hypocrite. If you’re flaunting your support for equal pay across social media and in your marketing efforts, then you better be practicing what you preach. Your brand culture is incredibly dependent on your ability to embrace your own values within your company.
4. Brand Personality
Your brand personality refers to the human characteristics that your company has. Developing a brand personality is vital to connecting with your audience on an emotional level and for making your brand relatable. Because of this, make sure that you use the following tips to develop your brand personality:
- Learn who your audience is Understanding your audience is something that you need to do from the very beginning. It’s an important step in building your brand identity as well. However, it’s particularly important when it comes to developing your brand personality. The way you present yourself and the way that you communicate should reflect not only who the audience is but what they expect. For example, if you have a younger audience, then a dry, formal tone may not resonate with them. However, if your audience is older, using younger slang and current pop culture references may go over their heads.
- Engage with your audience While you can get your personality across in the content you write, it’s easier to do through engaging with people. It’s why using social media is so important. Your entire audience sees your interactions and it helps establish your personality a certain way. For example, Wendy’s has a reputation for having a playful personality because of their use of humor and the pretend feuds that they get into with other brands on Twitter.
- Be consistent in tone If you’re going to be funny and informal on one platform, you need to make sure that personality carries over to all of the other platforms you use, both online and offline. If you’re inconsistent, it will hurt your ability to develop a cohesive brand personality, which will only confuse your audience.
These are the four main brand components that you will need to address when developing your brand strategy. A strong brand requires a strong brand identity, brand image, brand culture, and brand personality. Implementing a successful brand strategy that develops all four of these components increases brand trust, loyalty, and awareness.
What are the 4 V’s of Branding?
When it comes to branding your company, you need to have well-defined values, clear goals for the company, and a clear message about your principles and how you plan to achieve your vision. All of them will work together to form the basis for your images and everything else. Delivering that message in a unique voice is the last stage, and it’s something that gets overlooked when discussing corporate branding.
Vision and Values
“What is your vision for the future?” This question may seem daunting, but you will be one step closer to success if you can answer it with clarity and specificity. Your brand’s vision should include both a mission statement and company values. These two elements make up the foundation of how people perceive your business.
Your vision provides direction for where you want to go with your company’s mission or goal in mind, and values are what you build on to achieve success. Company values are way more than just words on a page — they’re behaviors that become habits for everything you do. Ask yourself: What kind of business do you want to be associated with? What kind of people do you want as a part of your business? What are the qualities that attract people to your business and keep them coming back?
As a small business owner, your business is also likely an extension of who you are and what you value. In fact, business owners who align their business principles with their personal values see an increase in business success, business reputation, and employee productivity!
The power of visuals in marketing can’t be overlooked. Your logo is a powerful way to show what your brand stands for. With the right visuals, you can communicate with potential customers and cultivate an aesthetic that will resonate deeply with those who see it.
Compelling visuals — including but not limited to your logo — are a key component of any successful brand and can be the difference between conversion and loss of interest. This is because while words may get lost in translation, an image’s message will always come through loud and clear. Your imagery should always keep your audience in mind. What kind of colors will translate your message to them best? What attracts customers or clients to an existing business in your industry? How can you find a way to stand out from those existing businesses?
Always use professional photography and graphics that are consistent with your brand identity. Working with a designer can be an intimidating process, but by clearly articulating your vision and values, you help the design process go much more smoothly. A good designer will listen to what’s most important to you for them to do their best work!
Last but not least, your brand voice. Defining your voice is key to having a clear message for your customers. It will make it much easier when you are trying to build consistency with things such as social media pages, email campaigns, and more; at that point, everything should be coming from one place.
It’s essential to be mindful of the voice you want your brand to communicate, and that goes double when outsourcing. If there are inconsistencies in tone between different types of content from the company and a hired freelancer, it could lead to a lot of confusion!