Building a brand identity is a critical part of successfully growing any business. The brand identity tells what your brand offers, what its values, and what problems it solves. Yet, as a top rate Marketing agency in America, we need to ask the question, “do most organizations actually deliver on their brand promise?”.
Not nearly enough, according to an article in Adweek Magazine, “If 2020 was a time when it became untenable for any marketer to avoid the deeply polarizing issues that upended life around the globe, from racial justice to sustainability to politics, 2021 forced a grand level of clarification about what a brand ultimately means.”
A recent surveyed by Hubspot asked 2,200 marketing leaders all over the world about the challenges, opportunities, and best practices for aligning brand promise and customer experience.
What they found was that only 53% of respondents said their organization had internal-external brand alignment, and only 37% believe all employees understand how they can deliver the brand promise to the customer. Even though most organizations promote brand experience internally, they aren’t delivering that brand promise to their customers.
But the staff themselves aren’t necessarily to blame: They also found that many senior leaders don’t appreciate the power of brand, and don’t train folks to prioritize it.
It may surprise you to know that digital branding is NOT a projection of how you see your company, nor is it a logo or color scheme. In fact, it’s not exclusively related to appearances at all.
The concept of a brand is often mistaken as surface-level, but in reality, it stands for something far larger and more significant. Your brand is the embodiment of everything your company is, the catalyst for everything your company does, and the basis for every experience your company delivers to customers.
As stated in the Adweek article aforementioned, “marketers felt the force of consumers’ explicit demands to take declarative stands on the issues they care about. Consumers’ identities were more tightly entwined with deep-seated political views. Brand affinity could no longer be driven by pure product preference. Everything from shampoo to coffee to car purchases reflected a deeper meaning.”
Without getting too existential, think about yourself. What makes you who you are? Is it the color of your hair, skin and eyes? The style of your clothing or the way you talk? Of course not! You are so much more than what others see at face value. As you might have guessed, so is a digital brand.
WHY DIGITAL BRANDING?
Traditional Branding = One-Way Communication
A customer sees an ad but cannot directly interact with the brand.
Digital Branding = Two-Way Communication audience.
According to Forbes Magazine brands now act as a bonding agent between a company and social uses impacting its target audience.
Brands as unifiers
Pre Covid-19 80% of consumers agreed that business should play a role in addressing societal issues: wanting a company to take actions which increase profits, improve social conditions, and make the world a better place. The Deloitte Insights 2020 Global Marketing Trends Report more recently found that purpose-driven companies experienced 40% higher workforce retention compared to their competitors. Retention isn’t a concern for many companies right now, but it will be in the future and how they behave now will make a difference.
A customer sees an ad and can directly engage with the brand.
In 2003, barely anyone had more than a single network-connected device. According to Statista, the average person today could have as many as six. In business terms, this means a lot more ways for your company to directly and indirectly communicate and interact with target audiences.
Benefits of Digital Branding
- Improve awareness and recognition
- Create trust between business and buyers
- Provide clarity and focus around your offering
- Differentiate your company from competitors
The Biology of a Digital Brand
Developing a deeper, more meaningful connection with customers is the ultimate goal of digital branding. But to get there, you first have to create something worth connecting to.
As much as we try to not be judgmental, the act of using what we see to draw conclusions about others is a survival skill as inherent to humans as the faculty of sight. Here’s what you’ll need to make a positive and lasting first impression:
Logo, Tagline, Colors, Illustration, Photography, Typography, Iconography
Brand essence adds depth of character to a brand by attaching feelings and emotions to its ideals and behaviors. As you know, emotion drives purchasing behavior, which means developing a brand essence your target audience connects with can have a powerful influence over sales and customer retention. Here’s what you need to bring your brand’s metaphysical qualities to life.
Value Proposition, Mission Statement, Brand Story, Vision Statement, Values, Positioning Statement
The key to humanizing your brand is to give it a personality. This is what makes a brand interesting and unique. People use several measures to gauge personality, but perhaps the strongest indicator is how someone speaks and what they say. Here’s what you need to create a likeable character.
What you say. Your brand voice is a uniform style of communication that your brand will use across all environments — online and offline — to express its position on certain topics, convey its identity and engage with target audiences.
How you say it. Your brand tone is how you will use your brand voice to accommodate different audiences, environments and situations. For example, shifting from playful to serious dialogue.
As concluded by Adweek, “there’s no going back for brands or consumers at this point; brand choice and personal choice are inseparable. In 2022, the challenges of communicating a brand’s value, identity and purpose will fully come to light as the shocks of the past two years settle into a “new normal.”
As trends and customer preferences change, brands naturally transform too. The key to success in today’s fast-paced world is to maintain consistency, while also ensuring that your #BrandIdentity doesn’t become stagnant.
How to Know if You’re Having a Brand Identity Crisis
1. Do You Know Your Value Proposition?
One easily avoidable mistake is not knowing your value proposition. Before engaging in inbound marketing your brand needs to define its purpose and know what they are offering. What can your consumer expect from you? What are you putting on the market? Try to summarize what it is that you do in one sentence that is clear and concise and then prove it.
Once you have your value proposition intact, you can better develop relevant content. Relevant content instills your expertise to your audience rather than sending mixed messages — a common symptom of a brand identity crisis.
2. Do You Know Your Audience?
If the answer is no, then “Lucy, you’ve got some explaining to do!” Unless you’re a global brand like Hilton or McDonald’s, it is unlikely that you are marketing to everyone. As a small business or brand, it is important that you know who your ideal prospects are so that you can reach them. If your ideal prospect turns out to be a 50-year old finance executive and you’re dropping ‘”ROFL” or stating you’re “not about that life…” in your blog posts, something is clearly wrong.
A main goal of inbound marketing is to attract viable leads and turn them into consumers, but in order to do this you need to narrow down who it is that you are trying to attract.
All of these pitfalls can be avoided with a well-defined buyer persona. According to HubSpot, to develop an effective Buyer Persona, ask the following questions regarding your target audience:
- What are their demographics?
- What is their job and level of seniority?
- What does a day in their life look like?
- What are their pain points?
- What do they value most?
- Where do they go for their information?
- What experience are they looking for when shopping for a product?
- What are their most common objections to your product/service?
- How do I identify this persona?
Answer these questions and you will be able to more successfully communicate and reach your target audience in way they will actually respond to.
Are You Consistent?
The key in avoiding a brand identity crisis is consistency. As mentioned above, you need to know your value proposition and brand identity so that you can stick to them like glue! To avoid confusion, there are several little things that you should keep consistent throughout your content, social media, press, and beyond. Make sure to pay close attention to:
- Your Tone and “Voice” – Use language that your audience is familiar with. You want your content, whether it is visual or written, to “speak” to your target audience.
- Fonts, Colors, and Other Design Elements – Be visually uniform. Not only is this more aesthetically pleasing, but it also helps your audience identify you. Just like when you think Dunkin Donuts, you think orange and magenta, you want certain images to come to mind when your name is brought up.
- Messaging – As HubSpot would say, “How do you message your core products and services? What’s the value proposition you assert?”
- Positioning – Just like in politics, it’s better not to flip flop. Know where your brand stands on industry issues and its values in doing business.
The bottom line is know who you are. Once you know what it is you are trying to do and what you stand for your brand can exude it in everything it does.
At Monkeyhouse Marketing we ask you to “Evolve with us.” From branding to web design, advertising to press releases, we help small to mid-sized businesses like yours establish themselves consistantly in a digital world.
There is no longer a reason to suffer from a brand identity crisis. Contact Monkeyhouse Marketing today for help. Call (574) 329-9022.