As someone who works in marketing, you’re used to solving a myriad of problems — from content issues to stumbling blocks with your SEO. However, there are some issues that can prove a little trickier to come to terms with, such as brand identity.
Some marketers even regularly neglect brand identity, as they just don’t understand the importance of it. So, why does brand identity pose such an issue?
One of the biggest problems is that many marketers don’t want to put their hard-earned budget toward improving it. Others believe that tracking your progress correctly is nearly impossible and will even joke that you need to be a mind reader to get it right.
If you’ve ever felt this way about brand identity, then this article is for you. To find out why your company’s brand identity is crucial, read on.
What is Brand Identity?
When it comes to defining brand identity, we’re partial to this quote by 99 designs:
"Brand identity is the collection of all elements that a company creates to portray the right image to its consumer."
As an example, let’s take a look at Airbnb. First, they have a strong mission that people relate to: "Belong Anywhere". What’s more, they really work on making sure this message comes across in all their communications.
Take the “A” in the Airbnb logo — it represents four major concepts that relate to Airbnb’s brand identity: “a head to represent people, a location icon to represent place, a heart for love and then an A for Airbnb.”
Their light red color palette continues this warm and fuzzy feeling, and the font used is fun and friendly. Most importantly, their brand identity is working. How do we know? We took a little peek into Airbnb's brand awareness.
Why You Need to Create a Brand Identity to Grow
Next, we’ll look at a few reasons why you need a strong, recognizable brand identity to grow your business.
1. Without Good Brand Identity, You’ll Never Be Recognizable
Your logo design and colors are some of the main components that help make your brand highly recognizable.
Everybody knows the blue and yellow of Ikea and the iconic red of the Coca-Cola brand. As soon as someone sees your color palette alongside your logo, they should instantly realize that they’re looking at your brand.
Don’t worry about the general public getting sick of seeing your brand everywhere. This is actually something to be embraced, as continued recognition will lead to increased trust.
So, the more people see and recognize your brand, the sooner you’ll be able to build trust in your company. Before you know it, you’ll become a household name!
If you don’t think that your brand currently boasts good recognition, here are some things you can change:
Train your team: Everyone needs to be on the same page when it comes to brand identity. If your employees keep on getting it wrong, then your customers will never recognize your branding.
Create a new logo: Your logo needs to reflect your brand’s message and values. And don’t take your brand colors for granted either — bright colors that suit your company can make a huge impact.
Come up with a new company name: Are you sure your current brand name is pulling its weight? Find out more about choosing a new name here.
2. Brand Identity Builds Loyalty and Trust
In order to differentiate yourself from the competition, your brand needs something to set it apart — something unique.
Once you identify what that is, why not focus on this as your main USP?
A strong, unique brand image is an essential part of building a good relationship with customers. If they feel that you both share the same values, they’ll be attracted to your brand and will likely feel comfortable choosing you over the competition.
If you can keep this connection alive, you’ll be able to cultivate a long-term relationship — which can ultimately lead to stronger customer loyalty and higher lifetime value (LTV).
In fact, customers who have an emotional connection with a brand report a 306% higher LTV.
3. A Poor Brand Identity Will Lower Revenue
Strong brand identity leads to increased recognition and brand awareness, which should hopefully help improve your company’s word-of-mouth recommendations.
When your brand is top-of-mind for your customers, they won’t have to think twice when an acquaintance asks them for a recommendation — your company’s name will roll right off their tongue!
But how would this same situation play out should a customer find your brand unmemorable?
If someone approaches them for a recommendation, they won’t be very likely to suggest your brand — as they’ll have forgotten all about you. Losing the possibility of word-of-mouth sales is a portion of your revenue going straight down the drain.
To ensure you don’t miss out on revenue, keep our previous tips in mind.
4. While Good Brand Identity Can Increase Revenue
When one thinks about incredibly strong brand identity, Apple comes to mind almost immediately. Apple's high price point is a direct result of the strong, reliable brand it’s built over the years.
Despite the fact that quality-wise Apple products are pretty much on the same level as the competition, Apple is able to charge a premium price. In the minds of its customers, its products are worth more than the many other technology brands. This has a lot to do with brand identity.
So what can you learn from Apple? By spending the money necessary to create a strong, unique brand identity, you too can attract high-paying customers.
How to Build Your Brand Identity
The first step is knowing what you want your brand identity to be. Then, the real work begins — you need to build your brand identity from the ground up.
There are many ways in which you can do so, such as:
The list goes on.
However, keep in mind that it won't be possible to build your brand identity using all these channels at once. Instead, assess which ones are the best fit for your current strategy. Then, revisit the other options in the future to see if you need to mix it up.
Once you’ve created your new brand identity, you’ll need to ensure that there is consistency across the board. To make sure all of your team members are properly briefed, you should create branding guidelines that they can use as a reference with all your brand assets at hand.
If someone decides to go rogue and disregard your brand style guide, your brand identity will suffer from major inconsistencies — which can put your customer trust and loyalty at risk.
Want to know a secret that will help your brand identity remain consistent across all customer touchpoints? Define your target audience.
Once you know who your brand needs to appeal to, create an audience persona. By sharing this persona with your marketing team, everyone is aware of who they’re speaking to with future campaigns, strategies, and publications.
Take Brand Identity Inspiration From These Three Brands
Next, we’ll walk you through how three of our favorite brands have achieved enviable awareness with their target demographic via a strong brand identity.
Note: All data below was gathered using our own brand tracking software — which helped us generate the insights we share with you here.
1. Foot Locker
Retail giant Foot Locker is a household name that boasts 79% brand awareness within the general population. Now, that’s pretty good, wouldn’t you say?
Of that 79% that are aware of the brand, 74% would consider using it and almost half (44%) would choose Footlocker as their preferred sports brand.
So, what has Foot Locker done to achieve results like these? Firstly, this brand is in tune with its audience.
During the pandemic last year, the brand launched a campaign that focused on embracing individuality. It was reported that the new campaign featured “leading changemakers who are championing individuality and a more progressive future for their communities and beyond.”
According to a 2018 survey, over 23 % of respondents aged 18 to 29-years-old stated that they had shopped for shoes in person at Foot Locker in the last 12 months.
This 2020 campaign is a great example of how Foot Locker is working to further connect with this demographic through values and movements that resonate with them.
Everyone’s heard of Airbnb — if you haven’t, perhaps you’ve been living under a rock?
So, why does everyone know about Airbnb? Yes, they advertise pretty much everywhere — TV ads, social media ads, paid search ads. However, initially, their big driver was word of mouth.
The brand quickly realized that referrals accounted for millions of dollars of sales. Underpinned by their tagline “Belong Anywhere”, staying in an Airbnb is a personal experience. Consumers instantly feel at ease, which is reflected in the brand awareness stats below.
Look how high those numbers are! It seems, regardless of age, people are more than willing to use Airbnb.
When booking an Airbnb, the process is as follows: find the best location, read through the reviews, and pick the option that best suits your needs.
User-generated reviews are a magnificently powerful and trustworthy form of marketing. So trustworthy, in fact, that 79% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family.
So, if you’re trying to craft a brand identity people will love, take a page out of Airbnb’s book — invest in a referral program, then focus on delighting your customers to increase word-of-mouth recommendations and online reviews.
Why? Because reviews speak volumes and enable users to make snap decisions about your brand.
JBL manufactures high-end audio equipment, which is a bit more of a niche market than Airbnb or Foot Locker. So, it’s not surprising that the general population’s brand awareness currently stands at 27% — a good bit lower than the others we discussed.
However, of the 27% that are aware, 74% would consider using the brand. As we can see, although their audience is small, it’s mightly engaged!
When looking at the demographic make-up, JBL’s audience skews male — with men showing higher brand awareness as 30%. When looking at the female audience, we see a significant drop in brand awareness to 19%.
What does this tell us? It seems that JBL’s brand identity is focused more on a male audience. Perhaps the brand has found them to be a more receptive audience?
So, what makes JBL’s brand identity so strong? It’s lauded for its high-quality, affordable equipment. Although JBL is competing with premium brands such as Apple, its brand identity resonates better with a younger Gen Z demographic — which is apparent in the kind of content they share online.
As you can see, your company’s brand identity is extremely important. When you invest time and effort into it, it can bring tangible results.
And even though some entrepreneurs might still disagree, it’s most certainly something you can effectively track with the right resources.
When tracked properly, you’ll be rewarded with precise insights into previous campaigns — which you can use to make smarter marketing decisions going forward.