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The nuances of getting a great brand identity

posted 31st Jul 2018

What comes to your mind when you see an advertisement for KFC, probably its tagline “It’s finger licking good”. Similarly, if you just want to search for something on the internet you ‘Google it’. Now both of these stalwarts from the fast-food industry and the technology sector have something in common. They have a unique brand identity that makes customers think about them first before exploring their options first

In a world where ‘first come, first serve basis’ is the way, ‘first thing, first serve’ is becoming the new normal.

In this article, we will take you through the steps of building a stellar brand identity for your business.

BREAKING DOWN 'Brand Identity'

Apple Inc. regularly tops surveys of the most effective and beloved brands because it has successfully created the impression that its products are sleek, innovative, top-of-the-line status symbols, and yet arguably useful at the same time. Apple's brand identity and brand image are closely aligned.

At the same time, there are times when a brand identity fails to project a positive brand image. Some pitfalls are well known; attempts by legacy brands to appeal to a new generation or demographic is especially tricky. For example, the teen apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch suffered a severe downturn when its once-popular brand became associated with garish logos, poor quality, abysmal advertising and plain meanness. The company refused to sell women's clothing sizes XL or larger because "We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends," the CEO said. "A lot of people don't belong, and they can't belong."

By the same token, building a positive brand image can boost sale. An example of the benefits of brand loyalty is seen in the introduction of two new subscription-based music streaming services in 2015. Tidal and Apple Music had to make very different choices in the marketing and rollouts of their services because of brand loyalty. Apple, an established brand with very loyal customers, didn't have to invest in the type of celebrity-oriented marketing that Tidal used in order to promote its new service. 

Brand Identity and Value

Beyond saving a company a fortune on promotion, a successful brand identity can be one of the company's most valuable assets. Brand value is intangible, making it difficult to quantify it, but common approaches take into account the cost it would take to build a similar brand, the cost of royalties to use the brand name, and cash flow of comparative unbranded businesses. Nike, Inc., for example, owns one of the world's most instantly recognizable logos, the "swoosh." Forbes estimated Nike's brand to be worth $29.6 billion in 2017, despite that fact that, in a world devoid of brand perception, taking the ‘swoosh’ off of Nike's shoes and apparel would change nothing about their comfort or performance.

Building Brand Identity

The steps a company needs to take to build a strong, cohesive and consistent brand identity will vary, but a few points apply broadly to most:

1. Analyze your company and the market: A full SWOT analysis that includes the entire firm — a look at the company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats is a proven way to help managers understand their situation so they can better determine what their goals are and the steps they need to take to achieve them.

2. Determine key business goals: The brand identity should help fulfil these goals. For example, if an automaker is pursuing a niche luxury market, its ads should be crafted to appeal to that market and should appear on channels and sites where potential customers are likely to see them.

3. Identify its customers: Conducting surveys, convening focus groups and holding one-on-one interviews can help a company determine who its offerings appeal to.

4. Determine the personality and message it wants to communicate: What does the company want its market to perceive? A company needs to create a consistent perception, rather than trying to combine every conceivable positive trait: utility, affordability, quality, nostalgia, modernity, luxury, flash, taste and class. All elements of a brand, i.e., copy, imagery, cultural allusions, colour schemes, etc., should be in line with each other and deliver a coherent message.

Building a brand identity is a multi-disciplinary, strategic effort, and every element needs to support the overall message and business goals. It can include a company's name, logo, design; its style and the tone of its copy; the look and composition of its products; and, of course, its social media presence. This is where Designfort comes in. We ensure that our brand building exercises yield maximum results in when it comes to your business having a stellar and long-lasting brand identity.


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