Suppose you are an electronics company that sources gadgets from manufacturers, then white-labels and sells them. When you search your company name online, however, you see your name slapped on the side of missiles and space rockets that crashed or failed to launch.
To the buying public, your brand equates with inferior products.
That is what brand identity is. It is the confluence of what people (who know and have heard about you) say about you.
You can take control of your brand identity, but this requires an effective brand strategy. So, contact that brand strategy Dubai specialist or that brand communications consultant you chatted with a while back. You need professional help if you want your public image aligned with what you think your brand identity should be.
Below are some of the things a brand strategist will help you achieve, all of which are necessary to build the perfect identity for your Shopify brand.
Define Who You Are and What You Do.
What does your business do? Are you an avant-garde menswear store or a more accessible Brooks Brothers, selling premium men's and women's apparel at more affordable prices? Are you a store that sells home goods, décor, artwork, and improvement accessories in the United States?
Before creating an identity that resonates with your audience, you must clarify what you are and what you do.
On its investor's page, the Coca-Cola Company is clear on what it is: a beverage company that has more than 500 brands and a presence in more than 200 countries. Of course, to the buying public, it is a brand that exists to “refresh the world” and to “make a difference.”
So, which is it, and is there a conflict between these two Coca-Cola identities? There isn't, which leads to the second point.
Define Who Your Market Is.
Marty Neumeier said in his book, “Brand is not what you say it is. It's what they say it is.”
He is right. Your brand is not what you insist it is but what the public thinks it is. Therefore, an effective branding strategy considers the target market. In the case of Coca-Cola, the first statement is its corporate identity targeted to investors. At the same time, the latter is the brand identity Coca-Cola wants to teach and enforce in the consumers' minds.
When developing your brand identity, identify who your market is. You will need to answer these questions, among others:
- Where do they live?
- How old are they?
- What generation are they (millennials, gen-z)?
- What gender are they?
- Do they have work, and what type of work do they have?
- What are their interests and hobbies?
- What are their values?
- What are their ambitions and aspirations?
Audit and Map Out Your Company Culture and Values.
Suppose you offer free delivery on all orders. To this end, you had to consider two shipping options. One would give your customers same-day or next-day delivery, while the other would deliver in three to five days.
You opted for the first one, even though it was more expensive because you wanted your customers to get their parcels much sooner. Your customers' convenience is paramount.
Your company provides unlimited personal time off, remote-work options, and employee incentives. Employees also attend regular upskilling training and get training allowances. You value your people and want them happy — and your employee surveys say you've succeeded.
All these things make up your company culture and values, which must be reflected in your brand identity.
Thus, you must audit and evaluate your operations, your people's interactions with your customers and each other, and your executive and management discussions and decisions. How do you talk, and what words do you use? This assessment will reveal your company's culture and values.
Incorporating your culture and values into your brand identity will ensure authenticity. It will also make it easier to maintain your image; it is who you are.
Additionally, an audit can reveal the things you must change in your company culture and values. If the way you work and do business now is not aligned with the identity you want for your brand, you must change your culture and institute (and operationalize) new values. Again, the goal is to ensure your brand identity reflects your culture and values as a company.
Define What Makes Your Business Unique.
What do you do that makes you stand out and apart from the competition? Is it your product — something that is unlike what your competitors are making? Is it price, accessibility, convenience, or customer service?
Write down everything that makes you different from your competitors. Focus on your competitive advantages, the things that make you better than your competition.
Clarify Your Brand Positioning.
Once you have established your products or services, target market, and competitive advantage, clarify your brand positioning. In their universe of options, how should your target customers perceive and place you?
At this point, you must create a brand vision, mission, and promise that encapsulates your brand positioning.
Define Your Brand Personality.
Knowing your culture, values, what you do, your target market, your competitive advantage, and your brand positioning, you must create a personality for your brand that will cement your chosen position in your customers' minds.
If you were a human being, this stage entails deciding how you would dress, behave, and speak. Thus, it would be best if you decided on your language, particularly your communication style and tone of voice. Are you going to be “Yo! What's up?” or “Hi! How can we help you today?” You must also craft your visual identity (e.g., logo, colors, fonts).
A Consistent Brand Identity
You need a brand identity to ensure your target market can remember you and will recall you the way you want them to. However, creating a brand identity is complex and complicated, so you should get professional help with your brand strategy.