MI-MEDIA-LABS-BLOG-Establishing a corporate brand identity

Establishing a corporate brand identity

A brand is one of the most valuable assets of a business, and it needs to be carefully crafted to ensure it properly and authentically represents the business.

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Do you know how your brand is doing? Does your business have a brand identity?

If it doesn't, or your brand isn't as strong as it could be this is where we can assist to articulate and conceptualize a corporate brand identity.

What is brand identity?

A brand is the "name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's goods or service as distinct from those of other sellers," according the American Marketing Association. Your brand identity is the representation of your company's reputation through the conveyance of attributes, values, purpose, strengths, and passions.

It includes what your brand says, what its values are, how you communicate its concepts, and which emotions you want your customers to feel when they interact with your business. Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.

Determine Where Your Company Sits in the Market

Before you attempt to define your brand, you need to do some exploration. Take a long look at your company to get a clear picture of its purpose and place. A SWOT analysis will capture the essence of what your brand should be. Here's what each letter of the acronym stands for:

  • Strengths: Characteristics of the business or project that give it an advantage over others.
  • Weaknesses: Characteristics that place the team at a disadvantage relative to others.
  • Opportunities: Elements that the project could exploit to its advantage.
  • Threats: Elements in the environment that could cause trouble for the business or project.

The Steps to Corporate Identity Design & Development

Developing or refining a corporate identity is a five-step process that aims to clearly define what your brand stands for: its goals, its personality, the emotions you want people to experience when they come into contact with your brand, and a clear conveyance of that identity through a positioning statement. Here's what you'll need to create to do that:

Step 1: Vision Statement

A vision statement describes what you want your company to become in the future. It should be aspirational and inspirational. Ideally, the statement should be one sentence in length and should not explain how the vision will be met. (Don't worry, that'll come later.)

When developing your vision, keep these questions in mind:

  • What are your most important products and services?
  • What products and services will you never offer?
  • What is unique about doing business with your brand?
  • How would your customers describe your brand?
  • Where do you want your company to be in five years?

To give you an idea of what you should end up with, take a look at Standard Bank: "Simpler. Better. Faster."

Step 2: Mission Statement

A mission statement defines the purpose of the company. It should be simple, straightforward, articulate, and consist of jargon-free language that's easy to grasp. It should be motivational to both employees and customers. When crafting your mission statement, keep these tips in mind:

  • What are the specific market needs the company exists to address?
  • What does the company do to address these needs?
  • What are the guiding principles that define the company's approach?
  • Why do customers buy from you and not your competition?

Step 3: Essence

Say, what? That's right, your essence. This sounds fluffy, but seriously, you need to develop an "essence."

The essence of the company speaks to the intangible emotions you want your customers to feel when they experience the brand. A brand's essence is the representation of the company's heart, soul, and spirit, and is best described with one word. When defining the essence of your brand, consider these points:

  • When your customers experience your product or service, what emotions does the encounter elicit?
  • If your brand were a person, how would you describe its personality?

Here are some great samples of brands' essences:

  • Volvo is "safe."
  • Disney is "magical."
  • Lamborghini is "exotic."

Step 4: Personality

Just as with humans, a brand's personality describes the way a brand speaks, behaves, thinks, acts, and reacts. It is the personification of the brand: the application of human characteristics to a business. For example, Apple is young and hip, whereas IBM is mature and set in its ways.

What personality do you want to put forth when people experience your brand?

  • Are you light hearted and fun?
  • Are you serious and all business?
  • Are you down-to-earth?
  • Are you playful or matter-of-fact?

Step 5: Position or Value Proposition

A brand positioning statement, or value proposition, is a one- or two-sentence statement that clearly articulates your product or service's unique value, and how it benefits customers. It must define the audience, define the category in which the brand exists, cite a clear product or service benefit, set your brand apart from your competitors, and instill confidence the brand will deliver on its promise.

When crafting a positioning statement, consider:

  • To whom are you speaking? (Target market, demographic, and persona)
  • Which market segment does your product or service serve?
  • What is your brand promise? (Both rational and emotional)
  • Why is your product or service different from the competition, and why should your customers care?

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