When I talk about branding and brand identity, simply put, I am talking about the way your brand presents itself. And don’t be confused by the term “brand” – even if you aren’t a “brand” per se, you still have a brand. If you’re a film, a band, an event, even a personality – you need to build your brand.
Building a solid brand across all platforms and media you use is important. It makes you look polished and professional. It builds trust with your audience, whom you hope to convert to customers. Again, using broad terms, here, because a customer might be someone who buys your product, goes to see your movie, downloads a song on iTunes or subscribes to your YouTube channel. Basically, anyone who is going to consume the content or products you put out will be your “customer.” Make sense?
We want to make sure that our audience and potential customers see us in the way we want to be seen. It starts with building our brands.
How do you begin to build your brand? Start by asking yourself some questions.
- What is my product?
- Who is my audience?
- What are the things I believe in?
- What is the image I want to project?
Do the answer to all of these questions align? If so, you’re heading in the right direction. Let’s say your company sells uniquely designed t-shirts. Your product is a t-shirt. Your audience is people who will wear t-shirts – maybe teens to young adults. What kinds of things are printed on them? Are they pop-culture references, music references, cool graphic designs, or snarky phrases? Different people wear different t-shirts. Let’s say that they’re pop-culture references. Now we have two things. Let’s get more specific and say unique t-shirts with pop-culture references aimed at 16-24 year olds. That’s a good start!
Now start to bring in some of the heavier things. What are the things you believe in? Maybe it’s printing in the USA – even printing locally. You believe in charging up the local economy. So your posts and content need to reflect that same passion you have. Talk about things in your community that 16-24 year olds will like. And how do you want to present your brand? Fun, spunky, and caring. So now, we’ve started to formulate a brand identity: socially conscious, cool threads for the modern young adult.
A word of caution: in order to really connect and resonate with your audience, you have to be sure that the things you believe in are the things you project. If those two goals do not align, people will smell it! Be sure you practice what you preach. People can tell when you’re being fake and when you’re being true and authentic. Authenticity will always work in your favor!
Now the last part is to make sure that your graphics, like logo design, web design, and social media profiles all match each other AND match in terms of the things you outlined above. Building an authentic brand is the first step to helping your business succeed!
[PS – original image from Steve Lovelace. Check it out – do you agree with his choices?]