Communicating with customers is an essential activity for any business, but in order to communicate effectively, you first need to know your brand identity. How do you want to portray yourself to customers? How do you want to be perceived? The challenge of formulating a brand identity, and maintaining it, can be an arduous one. But by defining your identity and communicating that identity effectively, you can build a strong brand and a strong relationship with your customers.
Shaping an identity
The journey to building a memorable brand begins with self-examination. How do people perceive your brand? How do you want them to perceive it? Without being aware of where your brand is and where you want it to be, you don’t have any hope of producing a coherent brand. Now, with a vision of where the brand is going to go, you’ve got to identify your customer. Who do you want to talk to? Who do you envisage buying into your brand? It’s essential to ask all these questions as you embark on the branding process, developing an identity which reflects your starting point, your plans for the future and the people you want to take on that journey.
Converting the message
Having established a brand identity, it’s time to give your new brand life, converting high level concepts and broad ideas into day to day communication. Building a body of storytelling, information and media material is the first step in converting the concepts devised during the brand creation process into concrete communication, taking the brand from imagination to reality. This is the first hurdle for building an effective brand, as your initial communications will define your new or reinvigorated brand in the eyes of your customer. First impressions can be make-or-break, either building excitement and buy-in from the outset, or condemning your brand to the scrapheap.
Defending the Brand
Following the initial flurry of activity after the conception of a new brand it’s easy to lose sight of the brand values in the daily grind of communication. Keeping connected with consumers, communicating the achievements of a business, responding to crises – these all require skilled, targeted communication. But it is incumbent on you to continue to refer to back to your original branding concepts. If you lose sight of your original vision you risk undermining the clarity of your brand and losing the customers who have bought into your identity. Consistency is key in building a durable and distinct brand identity, building lasting relationships and a lasting voice in the public sphere.