Branding Tips: How to Develop a Strong Brand Identity for your Business

Last Updated – Mar 11, 2022 @ 7:37 am

If you own a business, you’re surely familiar with brand identity. Unfortunately, a lot of entrepreneurs still undermine its importance. 

At first glance, you may think your brand identity only involves your brand name, logo, or brand colors. However, it actually covers the overall unique identity of your business. Now more than ever, branding should be prioritized. 

With the emergence of social media, customers are exposed to various brands each day. While this can be great for consumers, it makes it harder for companies to stand out. 

Because of the extra competition, you need to make an effort to get noticed. This is where having a solid brand identity comes into the picture. 

What is Brand Identity?

The terms “branding” and “brand identity” are usually interchanged, but the two have different meanings. 

Your brand identity is driven by the intention behind the way you communicate to customers and potential investors. Considering this, it does not just concern your visuals. Instead, it includes anything that represents your brand to people, or anything that affects how you are perceived by others.

Branding is a component of your brand identity, but it includes more than that. From the tone of your captions and social media posts, to your packaging, and even your staff uniform – all those things are covered by brand identity.

In many ways, your brand identity is the personality of your business. 


What are the Benefits of Establishing a Strong Brand Identity?

Building your brand identity is not something that happens overnight. It takes resources and effort.

But why should you prioritize this? We’ve gathered the major benefits of a solid brand identity below.

It fosters recognition

Your goal as an entrepreneur is for your target customers to think “I know that brand.”

Think of giant companies such as Coca-Cola and Jollibee – these brands spend so much money on advertising because they want to capitalize on brand recognition. 

Even if you have a limited budget in advertising, you can still exercise tactics to be more memorable to your customers. 

It builds trust

Another benefit of prioritizing your brand identity is it builds trust among your customers, and when people trust you, they are more likely to spend money on your services and products.

When you have a strong brand identity, people will immediately think that you know what you are doing and that you won’t waste their money.

You can take advantage of a price premium

Have you ever thought why people are willing to pay millions of pesos more to have a BMW than a Mitsubishi?

Both offer cars that have the same function, with a few exceptions. The answer? Their brand identity attracts customers to invest in their products.

This can be extremely beneficial for small businesses. Think about it – if you look the part and your products and services are top-notch, you can charge more. 

It improves customer experience

Brands that have a good brand identity create an image that they are an established business. These types of businesses are more likely to be seen by customers as more experienced and reliable.

This affects customer experience because people assume that they are interacting with a top-tier brand. 

It differentiates your brand from the competition

With the amount of competition today, companies should look for ways to be unique. Having a good brand identity will make you stand out no matter how crowded the marketplace is.

It can do wonders for your employees

The benefits of good brand identity are not just limited outside your business. If you want your staff to love their job and take pride in working for your company, having a positive brand identity is integral. 

Considering this, do not just spend in your brand identity budget to attract customers. Make sure to invest within your organization to ensure your team remains motivated. 

Related: 50+ Business Tips – From Start to Growth


What is a Brand’s Identity made of?

Here are the components of your brand identity. 

  • Mission & Vision

These two play a crucial role in the way you shape your brand. Your brand mission is a statement that creates an emotional connection with current and potential customers. 

In a nutshell, it describes the purpose of your brand and why you exist. On the other hand, your vision statement states the long-term impact your brand wants to achieve with your mission. 

  • Personality

Just as humans have a distinct personality, your brand should have it as well.

Your brand personality is the set of human characteristics that are linked to your brand. By having a consistent set of traits, your customers can relate to you more. 

  • Values

Your brand value refers to the beliefs that you stand for as a brand.

These values serve as your guide when it comes to your actions, behavior, brand story, and other parts of your decision-making process. 

  • Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Your unique selling proposition is exactly what its name implies. It is what makes your service or product unique from other brands in the market. 


Examples of Companies with Strong Brand Identities

Looking for inspiration when it comes to brands with great brand identities? Here are some examples below. 

Apple

When consumers think of Apple, they immediately connect it to Steve Jobs, who is a genius in his own right. Therefore, Apple products suggest that if you buy their products, you can be a genius as well.

Image via Entrepreneur

Even their unique operating system proves that they are not afraid to go against the grain. The simplicity of their gray and white colors is also worth noting. 

Ikea

The brand identity of Ikea is centered on its goal to empower people in an inspiring way. The famous blue box has become a key part of different cultures, and it has even changed the way people see furniture companies.

Image via Bloomberg

For their customers, it has redefined what a home should be – that it’s not just a space based on square footage, but a space that should have a sense of safety, personal style, and functionality. 

Netflix

Netflix has a simple yet solid brand identity. The brand puts simplicity at the core of its service and this is evident in every user’s journey in the platform.

Image via CNET

Their stack approach and responsive design in offering their movies and shows also contribute to seamless user experiences. 

In today’s culture that puts a heavy emphasis on creative freedom, their minimalist logo also sparks brand recognition. 

Mastercard

The iconic yellow and red circles are something billions of people around the world recognize. Their identity signals clarity, and simplicity especially in digital contexts.

Image via Adweek

Their brand image preserves their heritage while banking on modernity. Therefore, customers can see them as a forward-thinking brand.

Nike

Known as the most popular sneaker brand globally, Nike’s success can be attributed to its brand identity.

When people think of this brand, the first things that come to mind are empowerment, inspiration, and education – all are evident in their brand identity. The brand doesn’t just sell shoes, but this attitude. 


How to Create a Strong Brand Identity for your Business

A lot of entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking they should only focus on marketing and selling, that they forget about who they are as a brand.

In case you are blissfully unaware or simply in denial of the importance of a good brand identity, it can help you in ways you never thought were possible. 

When you forego your brand identity, it may present problems in the long run. If you are serious about standing out from your competition, follow these tips below to create a strong brand identity. 

1. Identify your brand identity

At its core, your brand identity involves what your brand wants to say, your values, how you communicate your message, and what you want your audience to feel when they interact with your brand. 

  • What’s your brand’s mission & vision?

Your brand’s mission and vision statement will define the direction of your company, and what you want to achieve.

This helps align your employees and teams on your common goals, especially when it comes to what makes you different from your competition. 

  • What’s your brand’s personality?

Your brand personality should be based on your target audience. This way, you can ease communication barriers better.

When people relate to your traits and see themselves in your brand, you can foster a stronger emotional connection with them. 

  • What are your brand’s values?

Core values are important because these serve as a reminder to you and your audience that behind your brand is a human. Therefore, your brand can be more unique and authentic.

Having a brand value can help you target more customers and build a deeper relationship with them.

Does your brand value sustainability? How about teamwork? Or customer commitment? Whatever your brand values are, make sure it is evident in how you interact with your audience. 

  • What makes your brand stand out (USP)?

The clearer your USP is, the more chances you have in earning the loyalty of customers. As expected, more loyalty equals more profit. 

Perhaps your products are more sustainably made, or you give back to the community.

Whatever your USP is, use it to your advantage. Show your brand’s distinctiveness by being consistent in your interactions with customers, and your image. 

2. Identify your brand’s target audience

Your target audience is the group of people that are more likely to patronize your products. Basing your brand identity on these people is integral.

Identifying the demographics and psychographics will enable you to target them better. 

The information you need to find out include:

  • Age
  • Income
  • Location
  • Family status
  • Education
  • Work

Other psychological factors include the following:

  • Hobbies
  • Interests
  • Values
  • Behavior 

Learn More: How to Create a Marketing Plan

3. Build a Brand Image that encapsulates your answers above

Launching a brand comes with a risk. But when you understand what your brand stands for, and who you want to target, that risk will be minimized.

As you begin to form your brand identity, you will understand the needs, desires, and pain points of your audience. This will help you craft your identity more effectively so it will resonate more with your customers. 

Contrary to what many entrepreneurs believe, casting a wide net when it comes to brand reach will only do your company more harm than good.

By ensuring your brand identity aligns with your customers, you can fill their needs more, and they can become ambassadors for your brand.  

4. Integrate your brand identity into every part of your business

You should treat your brand identity as your most valuable asset. Evaluate your identity when it comes to consistency, and identify the elements where it should be present.

For example, your brand identity on Instagram may be great, but your website design is poor. 

As much as you can, include it in your mission and vision statement, campaigns, graphic themes, images, web design, logos, social media posts, and other parts of your business.

Managing your brand identity will enable you to maximize your brand equity, eliminate confusion, and reinforce brand positioning. 

Your brand identity would not be complete without a logo. Each element of your design aspect should be influenced by your target audience and unique values.

A good logo should capture your brand’s essence. Pay attention to the design style, color, and typography.

If you are commissioning a designer to make your logo, make sure to communicate what you want to have in your logo, and give clear instructions and feedback. 


Effective Marketing Strategies for Brand Building

Building your brand doesn’t just happen overnight. Here are some marketing strategies you can exercise to build your brand identity. 

Content Marketing-driven SEO

These days, creating content is not enough. All content you release should be in line with SEO, which is the technical process to increase your traffic and attract visitors.

One key element in SEO is keyword research. By creating your content around this, you can rank high in search engine results. 

Leverage Social Media

The importance of social media in your business cannot be understated. Across various social media platforms, you can tell your brand story, the products you offer, and important updates to your customers.

Social media will enable you to nurture leads and build a strong relationship with your audience. Most platforms also allow you to track your key performance metrics or KPIs so you will know what works and what doesn’t.  

Build an Email List

One of the most effective ways to build a relationship with customers in a more personalized way is through email.

Through this marketing strategy, customers will not only see your updates as a mere status. People consume emails more intimately, so it converts to sales better compared to other mediums. 

The competition in today’s marketplace is intense. Paid advertising is designed to increase your sales and enhance your brand identity.

Paid ads (such as Facebook ads, Google display and pay-per-click search ads) require less effort, and they also promise more visibility with your target audience.  

Earned Media & PR

Earned media is any content that is not generated by your company, but by organic methods such as the content from your followers, customers, bloggers, and journalists.

On the other hand, public relations leverages free media coverage to foster awareness and demand for your services and products.

These marketing methods will enable you to improve your reputation and increase your credibility. 

Industry Events & Tradeshows

Not all companies realize it but being part of industry events and trade shows both present an opportunity to connect to new leads and network with others.

Once your target audience is in front of you, you can show them what makes your company stand out. 

About MJ de Castro

MJ de Castro is the lead personal finance columnist at Grit PH.

MJ started her career as a writer for her local government’s City Information Office. Later on, she became a news anchor on PTV Davao del Norte.

Wanting to break free from the shackles of her 9-to-5 career to live by the beach, she pursued remote work. Over the years, she has developed a wide specialization on health, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, branding, and travel.

Now, she juggles writing professionally, her business centering on women’s menstrual health, and surfing.

Education: Ateneo de Davao University (AB Mass Communication)
Focus: Personal Finance, Personal Development, Entrepreneurship, & Marketing

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