What is a Brand Identity?
Before we can talk about why brand identity is important, we need to understand what it means to have a brand identity. The identity of your brand is more than just a logo and a color palette. It's a comprehensive symbolic system that informs the visual brand identity, your brand voice, tone, purpose, and overall look and feel. It is the thread that holds your company together and the driving force behind everything you do.
Your brand identity will be the compass that helps you navigate everything from modes of expression to executive decisions about the company. Organizations with a solid brand identity tend to rise above competitors organically. Here's how.
Why is Brand Identity Important?
Steve Forbes, Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Magazine, once said, "Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business," and we couldn't agree more. Without a grounded brand strategy, your company really doesn't have a leg to stand on. A brand identity becomes a safety net that you can always fall back on whenever your organization is faced with change, controversy, or crisis. It protects against misconceptions and helps you deliver a clear and impactful message that connects your brand with your target audience. It is also a beacon you can refer to if the company begins to veer off course. Having a stable and grounded brand identity is crucial for your business's success.
There are numerous benefits to having a firm brand identity, but we've laid out some of the most important, foundational reasons you should invest in strengthening your brand.
Recognition Makes you Memorable
One of the natural benefits that stems from establishing a strong brand identity is brand recognition. Think about some of the most recognizable brands you know: Coca-Cola, Spotify, Target, and Delta. Then consider what these companies have in common aside from their multi-billion-dollar annual revenue. The common thread is their beautifully cohesive, instantly recognizable, and impactful brand identity. Because of this, we have learned over time what to expect from these organizations. They've shared everything from their missions and brand personas to logos, style, and colors and have demonstrated that they practice what they preach. The essential components to a successful brand strategy are consistency and authenticity guided by your overall purpose.
Brand recognition is exactly as it sounds - when your target audience makes a positive connection between your brand identity and your products or services, this leaves a lasting impression and can lead to an increase in loyal, long-term customers and exponentially more revenue.
Stand out from Competitors
It's no accident that there are brands we remember and brands we forget. Companies that have a consistent and powerful brand identity tend to rise above the rest naturally. Your consumer's attention span is relatively short, and it's challenging to capture their attention amid the constant chatter in the commercial world. Consumers don't have the time or energy to piece together what your company is about.
Enter brand identity. When you establish a cohesive and authentic brand identity, you're providing your target audience with a holistic picture that's relatively easy to grasp. They will spend less time figuring out your company's purpose and more time deciding whether to make a purchase. Consumers tend to choose brands they know and trust over brands they've never seen or tried - particularly when they can see these brands putting their customers first. Once your brand becomes recognizable, you will begin to see more revenue.
Establishing a solid brand identity is the most important first step to achieving brand recognition. Once your target audience begins to remember your brand favorably, you can rise above your competition.
A strong brand identity can also allow you to charge a premium price for your products or services. By using quality to differentiate your brand from your competition, you can charge more - because your brand identity communicates quality worth a premium. Consider handbags from Louis Vuitton and similar (but much less iconic) products from brands like Fossil or J. Crew. Louis Vuitton customers are prepared to pay a lot more to experience the luxury associated with the brand - and generally become customers for life.
Your Map During Changing Times
If internally you have a strong grasp on your brand identity, your company will be able to react more quickly during times of crisis or cultural change - something that we've seen a huge need for lately. Understanding exactly if and where your brand fits into the conversation is important in responding authentically. This also stems from your brand purpose… the reason you're in business in the first place. It's not simply to make money. It's your ownable brand idea - and it's tied up with the way you benefit and add value to society.
Your target audience should be at the core of every decision you make. Taking your key demographic into consideration when faced with change, uncertainty or crisis will ensure that your brand continues to resonate with this audience. A powerful brand identity will set your company apart; it will attract the right customers and provide a roadmap for future decisions. It will also help define your company culture, core values, and relationships with your stakeholders.
Build Credibility and Establish Trust
Building credibility is not an overnight process. It's nearly impossible to achieve business credibility without having a firm foundation. Consumers tend to place more trust in companies that put their customers first and appear more established. Having a defined and cohesive brand identity with consistent logos, colors, and messaging can help you appear more credible than your competitors - even if they have been in business for longer than you. Over time, consumers will perceive your strong brand identity as evidence that your company is well established and trustworthy, which will eventually convert them to loyal customers.
The importance of a strong brand identity is clear. Like Steve Forbes said, investing in your brand is the greatest business decision you will ever make. If you're looking for more information on brand identity, we've got plenty of resources on our website. At Passport Brand Design, we use advanced consumer insights, market research, and brand planning to provide expert-level support throughout your branding process. From helping to define your brand purpose and establishing or guiding your visual identity to creating brand guidelines for your company, we can help you every step of the way. Get in touch with us to schedule a consultation, and let's make an impact together.