9 Steps to Developing a Brand Identity
In order to market anything—a product, a person, an organization, or an idea—you first need to define your brand. Once you define your brand you'll be able to create a foundation for all your marketing efforts and strategies. Your brand definition serves as your measuring stick when evaluating any, and all, marketing materials, from your logo to the color of your business cards.
Think of creating a brand identity in terms of building a house.
You build a house from the foundation up. If the foundation isn't strong, the entire house will suffer. Beyond that, your brand identity is what distinguishes you from your competition in the eyes of the customer.
To begin the process you'll need to carve out some time to (honestly and thoughtfully) answer the nine questions below. This self-analysis will help you create a unique brand identity that you feel comfortable with.
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- What products and/or services do you offer? What are the qualities of the services and/or products offered? Be sure to be as specific as possible. For instance, don't say you offer public relations services. Say that you are a PR specialist with an expertise in media relations.
- What are the core values of your products and services? What are the core values of your company? When thinking about values, think about what is most important to you and your audience. This is particularly important for non-profit organizations.
- What is the mission of your company? This is often a question of ethics and standards.
- What does your company specialize in? Meaning, what is your niche? For instance, if you sell gift baskets, perhaps you specialize in holiday gift baskets or cheese and fruit gift baskets.
- Who is your target market audience? This entails identifying those attracted to your products and services. For instance, if you are targeting senior citizens, that's a very well-defined, age-specific audience.
- What is the tagline for your company? What kind of message is your tagline sending to your prospects? Not every organization has a tagline, but if you want a tagline, keep it very short.
- Once you've answered the first six questions, create a personality for your company that clearly represents your products or services. Ask, what qualities set you apart from the competition? Is the personality of your company innovative, traditional, hands-on, creative, energetic, or sophisticated?
- Now that you've created a personality (i.e., an identity) it's time to build a relationship with your target market as defined in step five. How does your personality react to your target market audience? What characteristics stand out to your audience? Which characteristics and qualities get the attention of potential prospects?
- Lastly, review the answers to the questions above and create a profile for your brand. Describe the personality choosing words you would use when writing your biography or explaining to a colleague why your business is unique. Be creative.
- Focus like a laser on your target audience when answering each question because it's all about reaching the right people. If you want to reach seniors, you're not going to position yourself as someone who likes to meet clients at loud, crowded bars
- Keep track of this exercise in a notebook specifically geared to the Brand Development of your company.
- Above all, be honest when answering these questions or you'll miss the opportunity of identifying what makes your company unique.