In the face of an identity crisis, it’s time to look at what your brand is really made of.
As a brand, it’s always important to ask the all-encompassing question: who are you? Like the identity crisis many of us face (some more than once) as we navigate life, it’s vital that your brand has its own identity if it hopes to connect with the consumer.
It’s a tough old economic world out there at the moment. In these trying times, many businesses will fall foul of the economic downturn and, although some may stay afloat, all will be tried and tested. It’s a case of ‘survival of the fittest’, as Darwin’s natural selection does the business rounds. In the face of such testing times, it’s never been more important to become a stronger and more adaptive brand; cementing your core values should be number one in your business survival 101.
Take Starbucks. In a world filled with baristas, saturated with honeycomb Lattes, and positively overflowing with Italian terminology (What does Venti mean, anyway?!), Starbucks are the brand who always emerge at the top of the pile. Their secret? They know that their brand’s true identity is “in the people business serving coffee” rather than “in the coffee business serving people. That’s their brand DNA.
Knowing what your brand’s true purpose is, and ensuring it’s in the best interest of the customer, can go a long way towards securing the success of your business. Whilst, like the coffee market, there may be tens, hundreds or thousands of other brands selling your product, none will ever be identical to your own individual brand.
Your brand DNA will build your marketing strategy. By digging deep and defining what makes your brand its own entity, you’ll see which market will fit the consumer bill. The age, gender, and wealth of your consumer can all be defined by your brand DNA; it’s the perfect starting point for a brand lost at sea.
Whilst on the surface, each and every brand in your sector may appear the same, there are many defining characteristics which set them aside. Realising the identity of your brand will help in your marketing, advertising and PR efforts, making you a fiercer contender in today’s heavily saturated market.
Struggling with your brand’s DNA? Ask yourself these questions…
What do you stand for?
Is there a cause close to your heart? Do you have philanthropic interests, which could cast your brand into favourable light? Restaurants which use only organic or fair trade produce stand for a cleaner planet and diet, what is it you stand for, if anything? Having a strong point of view within your business can attract a niche market, and encourage conversation on social channels. By sticking to your (metaphorical) guns, your brand becomes both relatable and personable.
Do you have a quality product?
Within all industries, there’s competition over who has the lowest price, and who has the highest quality product. while it can seem like a good idea to provide the lowest price, this can sacrifice quality. Over the long term, it is quality which will keep customers returning for repeated purchases. Which of your products will be your quality one?
Does your brand have personality?
Are you a cool, hip boutique? Or perhaps a sincere, professional service-based brand? You can sprinkle a bit of personality into any brand, be it bland or bold. Adding personality can bring a real likability to your biz, and gives you something around which to base your social media, email and other marketing efforts around. Be creative; there’s a whole world of personable features you could employ!
What sets you apart?
This can be a tricky one. In such a saturated business market, many brands can seem identical on the surface. Strip back all the sincerity and professionalism from your brand, and truly look at your founders, staff and customers here. Is there any expertise hidden in there, that could drive your brand forward as a unique entity? Is there anything a bit quirky about how you run your business, or how you approach customer service? There’s always something, just dig a little deeper…
Are your employees truly happy?
Make a Brand Promise. Promise to care for your employees, investing time, money, resources and anything else you should deem necessary to keep a happy clan. A happy employee is more than twice as likely to recommend your brand than an unhappy one, and will be committed to bettering your business through cohesive working. don’t detach your ‘big guys’ from the ‘little guys’, feelings of inadequacy can be negative for your brand image. You’re more likely to discover your brand’s true DNA with a happy workforce.
Do you know who your customers really are?
Getting to know your customers can really help with getting to know your brand. If you’re feeling a little lost in the mists of time, it can help to take a step back and look at what you’ve already got. Know thy neighbour (or in this case, customer) and all that. There’s plenty that you can find out from a short questionnaire; factors such as age, gender, location and income can affect buying habits, and so should affect how you build your brand. Getting to know who you’re dealing with can go a long way to knowing what you brand should be about.
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