Let’s face it, making money is a tough business. Most of the time, you need a strong brand identity in todays market if you want to succeed. When your consumers are out of touch with what you’re doing to improve the products/services you’re selling them, it’s hard to cash in. Building relationships is an integral part of the human experience, and we forget they often extend beyond our typical face-to-face encounters. Business-client relationships are an overlooked subject that can make or break a lot of small businesses, especially service oriented agencies.
When you have a company, it’s looked at as its own entity. It files separate taxes and makes different decisions than what you may want. Your company has its own identity, or brand. Even if you’re part of the presentation, you aren’t what people think of when they think of the business. They have thousands of other things they’ve already subconsciously connected to the brand.
Developing The Self and Brand Identity
Developing your company’s self is done by developing what’s known as a brand identity. Think of some of the things you perceive as being connected with yourself — your name, voice, attitude, visual appearance, direction you want to progress toward, etc. — and then transpose the same concepts onto your brand’s self. For example, when you think of McDonald’s you think of things like: red and yellow, golden arches, happy meals, Ronald McDonald and the gang, and cheap food. These are all parts of McDonald’s’ brand identity to you.
A Real Life Example
Take TheOnion.com, probably the most famous satire news website the interwebs has ever seen. Hopefully you aren’t like
Tony Evans, my stereotypical Facebook clickbait title reader and re-poster without ever reading the actual article online “friend.” If you’ve made it through this many paragraphs though, I assume you aren’t.
So when we think of The Onion, we don’t compare their content to CNN or Fox News. We know satire is entertaining, but we also know that’s what they’re about before we read the article (at least most of us). If we’re really hip to their brand, we understand their brand identity and voice simply plays on possible fact-driven future situations. What they really aim to do is explore thought experiments through their writing, keeping people hooked with comedic undertones while walking them down thought-provoking paths of hypotheticals. That’s the self behind The Onion — a friendly, sarcastic philosophizing friend who keeps you around with their superb wit, not their looks or value.
Building Relationships With Brand Identity
So you’ve got an idea of your brand’s identity, now what? Use it to build relationships with people who could/do benefit from your product(s). How are you portraying your brand if you aren’t communicating with your customers? People want to know what you’re about, and the more they learn, the more they can invest in you.
Here’s a quick question — would you trust a stranger, or someone you felt like you knew, with all the money in your bank account and wallet? If you’re not into playing the what-if game, I assume you picked the person you felt like you knew. It’s the same with trusting any business with your money. The more you know about the business and how they interact with their consumers, the more you can connect with them, and therefore begin to trust them.
When you shop on Amazon, you pick the seller with not only the best price, but the best rating. You trust the business that’s had the best interactions with their clients just like you choose a friend that’s usually pleasant to talk with instead of the one that’s always telling you things are terrible and it’s all your fault.
Stand Out From The Crowd
By now, people should start to understand your business’s core — the values and principles it lives and breathes. They should be well attuned to the way your company presents new ideas and the tone in which it happens. People want to be steady and assured their shot’s clear when they’re making the right decision by picking your “Brand X,” not just firing wildly hoping to hit their target.
Whether your brand is in a niche, growing, or thriving industry, one thing is for certain — you need to stand out. What’s going to motivate someone to pick “Brand X,” while “Brand Y” and “Brand Z” lurk in the shadows close by, ready to pounce on any unassuming passerby? How do you build your brand’s identity to have the streetlight pointed on it, ready to quickly help any stranger away from slithering muggles?
Make Your Business Unique
Not a lot of companies do this well, but the ones that do, do it well. What sets Apple apart from Microsoft isn’t the insane tech specs behind the hardware running their products. It’s the UX, or user experience, that drives their business. The ease with which you can learn and operate an Apple product, and the experience you get from the sleek and smooth appearance matter. All the way down to the boxes your products come in, companies are learning how important it is to be unique.
What’s Your Market?
Find out what form of marketing works best to hone and sharpen your advertising spearheaded approach. Did your Twitter hashtag #IAmUniqueBecause catch on? Well that’s gross, but role with it for goodness sakes! Do most people come into your business after talking to friends about it, or after hearing about it through your local radio spot? Figure out how people are learning about your brand, and don’t be scared to explore new markets.
Try Something Outside The Box
Podcasts have become a great new way to advertise, reaching out to podcasters’ hardcore fanbases through a voice they already know and trust. Using music , different visual imagery , and celebrities as a voice for your products has been shown time and time again to affect consumers’ perceptions without their knowledge . Employing a voice people are already familiar with, and already have a good attitude toward, shows to really set a favorable opinion.
What’s Your Edge?
Figure out what sets your business apart, and use it to get people’s attention. Develop your brand’s self and then use it to build strong relationships with your community. Get people interested and talking about your business’s new idea or slogan. Connect with them however you can, using your brand’s identity to lead the conversation. Getting your brand’s new self to stand out in a crowd of wannabe’s and look-a-likes isn’t easy, but it’s what’ll make people stay connected to it in the long run.
- Gorn, G. (1982). The effects of music in advertising on choice behavior: A classical conditioning approach. Journal of Marketing, 46(1), 94-101.
- Rossiter, J., & Percy, L. (1980). Attitude change through visual imagery in advertising. Journal of Advertising, 9(2), 10-16
- Till, B., Stanley, S., & Grossman, R. (2008). Classical conditioning and celebrity endorsers: An examination of belongingness and resistance to extinction. Psychology and Marketing, 25(2), 179-196.