What is your brand identity? If you don’t know, then your target audience certainly doesn’t know. Pinpoint who you are and who you are not.
What Is Your Brand Identity: Misconceptions
There are 1,458,928 schools of thought on brand identity (I counted). Here are the top 3:
School #1: Branding is about color and design. Branding is a logo. Branding is about font selection. (Search on “brand identity,” and you’ll get thousands of results like this one.)
School #2: Branding is fluff and nonsense. It’s yet another way marketing companies separate you from your hard-earned cash. Total waste of time.
School #3: Branding is who you are at your core. It’s what you do, why you do it, how you do it, and who you do it for. Branding can include color, design, your logo, and your font selection, but it is SO MUCH MORE. Branding is the way you talk about yourself and, more importantly, the things that matter to your target audience. It’s what you say and how you say it — your voice and tone. It’s what you stand for and what you don’t.
Let’s say I’m a yoga nut who’s moving to an isolated beach house in Fiji in six months with my four dogs, two cats, and hamster, Ralph. I’ll have peace, quiet, and all the sketchy wifi Fiji can muster. Now, you, you’re a sun-averse, thalassophobic, diehard workaholic with pet allergies who loves your large Manhattan loft. (“Thalassophobic” is your word of the day. You’re welcome.)
School #2 also has its proponents, particularly companies that have never nailed down their brand and, on the flip side, companies that have paid agencies and freelancers crazy amounts of cash and ended up with a vague, ho-hum brand identity.
Me? I’m a proponent of school #3. (Shocker!) But then, I’m a big fan of clear communication. I don’t pretend to be all things to all people, and I appreciate when people and businesses alike own their identity. I don’t like to waste people’s time, just as I don’t like when people waste mine.
When You Talk to Everyone, You Talk to No One
Now let’s say you and I go out on a date. I’m not going to bury the lead. I’m not going to wait until date #32 to spring my personal brand identity on you. You, in turn, aren’t going to wait until #32 to figure out we’re probably not a match made in heaven.
And yet, many companies try to be all things to all people. What’s an ideal client: Someone with a pocketbook who’s breathing. Over and over and over again many companies talk to everyone in the most generic terms possible. As a result, they end up talking to no one.
Here’s the kicker: Your stunning blue brand color and your kick-ass logo don’t compensate for the absence of a core identity. Who are you? You had best believe it matters to the people and businesses that buy from you.
What Is Your Brand Identity?
My recommendation: Know who you are and communicate who you are early and often. If you don’t, your site visitors, prospects, and clients will decide for you. (And you may not like where they land.)
Pinpoint your brand identity to give yourself a fighting chance in a noisy, highly populated marketplace. Nail down your brand identity to give your audience immediate clarity about the benefits you offer and the value you provide. Own your brand identity so the right people listen to what you have to say and eventually, God willing, do what you want them to do.
Make your brand identity so crystal clear that even your mother will finally know what you do and be able to send qualified referrals your way.
Fast Wins + Zero Fluff = Game Changer
I have a lot more to say on this and many other important subjects. I’m pulling back the marketing veil to empower small businesses to survive and thrive — no marketing agencies required. Get the free Top 5 Small Business Marketing Fiascos – and How to Fix Them e-book here.
Also, you can get periodic marketing tips and tricks to empower you to eliminate random acts of marketing, improve your marketing aim, and fire on all cylinders. No smoke, mirrors, BS, or fluff. All fast-win informational goodness that you can put into action straightaway. Sign up to get on the list.