Five questions to help pinpoint your brand identity
Brand identity is a funny old thing. In developing a solid identity, you must be able to reflect the values and personality of an entire corporation, likely with years of complex history, story nuances and leadership changes - not an easy task.
My advice to any brand manager defining a brand identity would be to go back to the very beginning. Because, to make any sense of the developed brand, you need to understand the start-up. Do that, and you’re on a straight course to success.
So, what are those five all-important questions?
Where did it all begin?
Consider the roots of your business. What is your ‘origin story’ and how can you weave that into your identity right now? One brand story I really love is that of Innocent smoothies. The empire was founded by a bunch of students who fantasised about being their own boss one day, so they put together a smoothie stall along with a sign that read ‘Should we give up our jobs to make these smoothies?’ – encouraging punters to throw their empties in a bin marked either ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
That tongue-in-cheek, ‘student attitude’ evolved to become the brand personality we know and love today. And the result is something really quite unique.
What is your one goal?
Consider what you want your business to achieve. And I don’t mean the bottom line. What are your objectives for your customer? Why do you want them to come to you above anyone else? These considerations have to be clear in your own mind before they can translate into your business.
At Patient Claim Line, our main objective is to make the claims process as simple and hassle-free as humanly possible. Our customers have already been through a traumatic experience – having landed on our website following a medical negligence incident. They’re suffering both physically and emotionally, and the last thing our customers need is the additional stress of managing a medical negligence claim.
It is because of this that our website is geared up for easy and efficient transactions. We use simple language that demonstrates our expertise without alienating the people who need us (no jargon here). And we use simple content streams to explain the process in a way that’s easy to digest.
Where is the gap in the market?
Consider what you can offer that no one else can. Sure, you’ll have competitors, but what is your USP? What need are you fulfilling that the competition isn’t doing so well? Once you’ve established this, you can build this unique offering into your identity.
M&S did this to perfection with their ‘This is not just’ campaign. It’s a clever marketing tactic and one that helps to separate their brand from the wall-to-wall supermarket competition. Of course, you can nip out to any competing store for a beef wellington – but is it really going to be as good?
Who do your customers want to speak to?
Researching your customer is key to establishing a strong brand identity that resonates with your core audience. But you have to understand your whole customer – not just their buyer persona. What drives them? Why have they come to you? What problem are they hoping to solve through your services? And by understanding these questions, you should also be able to identify who they want to speak to.
Does your tone need to be chatty or serious? Would your customer appreciate technical language? Or simple sentences? Consider what your customer needs when they land in your shop window and you can’t go too far wrong.
How should you represent yourself?
What I’m referring to here is your visual identity. Once you’ve established your personality and how you sit against your competitors, it’s time to consider your brand colours, typeface and logo. I find the most effective way to workshop the visual identity of a brand is to consider how you want your customer to feel, or what emotional connection you want to establish with your audience.
Safety, exhilaration, reassurance, excitement, joy, adventure – all of these emotions are linked with specific colour connotations. Workshop your ideas with your creative team and start to build a colour palette that will resonate with your audience. Consider shapes and patterns too – rounded edges are softer and more comforting, whereas a more angular aesthetic might be considered more dynamic.
At Patient Claim Line, our brand colours are associated with safety and taking action (green and orange) so we have used these links to build a wider colour palette that works well across all communication channels. Our logo has soft edges, mirrored in the typeface. It is simple and direct, and easy to connect with.
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