Brand Identity: The Building Blocks Of Your Business
First things first, what is a brand? Why is it so important?
There's a common misconception that a logo device makes a brand, but in truth a brand is so much more than this; it's the name, logo, font and colour palette. It's the stationery, literature and marketing collateral. It's how you answer the phones, how you greet your clients and how your team members present themselves. It's the furniture, décor, the quality of the coffee and the cup it's served in. In short, a brand is the totality of every communication piece and every touch point. If any single part of this is substandard or not "on-brand", then you risk undermining your brand, its positioning and, ultimately, your business itself.
Good branding should add value to your business and can even elevate perceptions above reality. Now, the reverse can also be true, but a business with a strong brand is far more robust than one without. Here's a little analogy from us to help better explain the importance of your brand identity...
You take your partner away for the weekend to a town neither of you have visited before. You want to go out for dinner somewhere nice, so you ask at the reception of your hotel for a recommendation. They oblige, telling you about a great restaurant in town, excellent food - a little pricey, but worth it. You check out their website, read their menu, browse a gallery of images and it all looks great. You call and you're in luck, there's a last minute cancellation! It's 40 minutes later than ideal, but you take it.
On arrival, the exterior is well lit and the restaurant looks as described. A friendly owner greets you at the door but apologises, your table isn't quite ready, but you knew you were lucky to get a table so you're okay with this.
You have a pre-dinner drink while you wait and upon being taken to your table they apologise again for the wait. You read the wine list and find that they have your partner's favourite wine, all is good!
On pouring the wine, your partner notices a lipstick mark on the glass, but it's changed immediately and a replacement brought over. Service is a little slow, but the food is well presented and tastes excellent. On leaving, the owner greets you by name and, makes a point of apologising for the wait, the glass and for being so busy, but he hopes you enjoyed your evening and hopes to see you again.
On returning to your hotel, a fellow guest is looking for somewhere to dine the following evening and asks if you'd recommend the restaurant you've just visited; what would you rate it out of 10, they ask? So, what do you say?
Chances are, you'll say that it was very good, great food, atmosphere and wine. You might mention the slight delay, or the lipstick on the wine glass, but you'd probably give it an 8, 9 or even 10.
Let's consider the reasons for this. Why would you still rate this restaurant highly?
- It was recommended to you, so the perception is that it must be good
- The website represented the business well
- There was an attention to detail even before you entered
- The service was good
- They were attentive
- The food and wine were excellent
In short, the restaurant had created a strong brand identity and in doing so had made themselves even more robust to occasional mishaps.
Now imagine it hadn't come so highly recommended, the website was very basic, the building was dark and nondescript. Your table was ready on arrival and there was no lipstick mark on your glass. The food and wine was equally as good, but the staff didn't really interact - you weren't greeted by name.
Oddly, the chances are that the food and wine won't have made quite the same impression and your perception of the restaurant won't be quite as high. Therefore, your recommendation is likely to be maybe a 6 or 7. The reason being, they hadn't created as strong a brand.
Now imagine that on top of that, the table wasn't ready and there was lipstick on your wine glass...chances are you would rate them even lower. Essentially, they are merely providing you with a product or a service. What they have failed to do is to create an identity for themselves.
The message here is simple: a good business is nothing without a strong brand to back it up. Identity is everything and once this is in place, you can build upon it to take your business from strength to strength - the sky's the limit!
At Williams&Crosby, we know the importance of a strong brand identity. Get in touch to see how we could help you!