Brand identity is the image your company puts out into the world, but it’s so much more than that. It’s also the way you’re perceived. While you have control over what you put out there, controlling what people think of your company is difficult. It takes a strong brand identity to earn a positive position in the collective conscious, even more effort to maintain it.
At rushIMPRINT we work with some phenomenal brands who are doing everything right and earning loyalty from their customers. The following tips are designed to harness their branding insights and help you find your brand identity and encourage customers to latch on.
Who Are You?
The first step is to dig deep into who you are. Not you personally, of course, but who the company is. What do you do/offer and why? That part usually isn’t too difficult but then it’s time to go beyond the obvious and pinpoint your unique positioning. Why would anyone choose you over your competitor? What makes you special?
What Do You Stand For?
Your company values don’t have to be lofty or revolutionary, but they do need to be defined. Perhaps, as a restaurant, your unique perspective is that you only serve fresh foods. This is not just a part of who you are, but it says a lot about your values. A focus on fresh shows a dedication to quality ingredients and to the health and enjoyment of your consumers.
Company values go beyond what you offer your customer base, they’re also about what it means to be a part of your company. When you’ve pinpointed all of your values, document them and include them with your company literature for employees and customers to see. Be proud of your values and stick to them.
Who Is Your Audience?
Understanding who your loyal customers are and who you’re attempting to reach and bring into the fold is critical. When you understand who your audience is, then it’s easier to see how your brand should be represented. Think of your brand as the person your audience would be most interested in hanging out with or talking to. This goes a long way toward pinpointing a successful brand identity.
Represent Your Brand
When you deeply understand who you are, what you do, what your values are, and who your audience is, then it’s time to move to the next phase. Creating a visual representation of the brand with a logo and marketing materials goes hand in hand with sending your voice out to the world. This is where a lot of heavy lifting is done in terms of marketing and design.
Consider the Collateral
Part of representing your brand that will be an ongoing effort is the collateral you send out into the world. From your website to promotional giveaways, everything needs to fit within the brand identity to maintain continuity. While sticking to the defined identity in terms of colors and graphics is important, selecting collateral that represents your company is also important. For example, if the environment is a key part of your value system, then you’ll want to make sure your collateral is eco-friendly and reflects your company in a positive and thoughtful way.
Begin Working on Relationships
Once you’ve established who you are and how you want to be perceived, it’s time to let everyone know. Your marketing and your collateral are a big part of establishing relationships, then next step is solidifying relationships. This looks very different for different industries and brands. Some companies have a handful of clients to woo, others have millions of casual shoppers they want to turn into brand loyalists. How your brand strengthens connections will be unique but, no matter what, it needs to be reflective of the core identity.
Don’t Forget About Your Team
A company isn’t just about their customers. Just as important are the employees and any others who are responsible for day-to-day operations. Bad work environments or companies that don’t care about their employees are being called out on their missteps through social media on a regular basis. This is actually a good thing because it keeps everyone on their toes and ensures that the work environment reflects the brand values. Prioritizing your employees through employee gifting, company recognition, or simply giving them a great place to work reinforces your brand identity.
Keep Working on It
Once you’ve successfully nailed your brand identity, you can just relax – right? Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Even though you want to remain consistent, the world and your audience are always changing. Usually there are small shifts, so it’s incremental, but it’s important to keep up or you’ll get left behind and become a nostalgic memory rather than a key lifestyle brand. Listening to your customers is the best way to stay on top of their evolving interests. This might mean meeting with customers on a regular basis or it could involve a social media presence. Do what works best for your business and your customers but strive to be an active part of their conversation.
It’s been mentioned above, but marketing is to brand identity like location is to real estate. No matter what piece of marketing you’re putting out there, it needs to be on brand and fit your identity. From messaging and color selection to the marketing material itself, it needs to be well thought out and resonate with who you are and what you do.
This is where we step in. rushIMPRINT understands promotional marketing materials, it’s our business we work hard to give you marketing options that will reflect your brand identity. Not only do we have tons of great promotional items, our team of customer service experts can help you select your next company promotion and get you set up for your order. Simply give us a call at 1 (866) 277-RUSH (7874) or pop over to our website and chat online. We’re here to help you let the world know how special your brand is.
In addition to his work as CEO of rushIMPRINT, Dan contributes content to our blog. He’s been with us for more than two decades and has a real passion for helping customers grow their business by enhancing their branding and marketing. The power of branded merchandise is his area of expertise and he’s happy to bring you industry news so you can discover the best way to make an impression.