By: Byung Choi for Small Biz Daily
“Regardless of size, a company’s brand is everything. A brand is the ultimate cocktail of customers’ perceptions, notions and experience. It’s what makes you recognizable to your customers and potential buyers and helps set you apart from your competitors. In fact, Global Banking & Finance Review notes 82% of investors say name and brand recognition is an important factor guiding them in their investment decisions.
Having a strong brand doesn’t just mean having an aesthetically appealing logo, it’s about what your company stands for. Besides visual elements, it also includes strong corporate messaging – does it coherently depict your mission and values? You might not realize it at first but having a strong brand identity is essential when it comes to maintaining brand equity; the public’s perceived valuation of a brand. So, what are the key aspects of brand identity that can help build and maintain brand equity?
1) Create A Mission Showcasing What Your Organization Stands For
A mission statement declares the purpose of an organization. It typically includes a general description of the organization, its function, and its objectives. Essentially, a mission statement is intended to clarify the “who,” “what,” and “why” of a company.
A mission statement is the heart of your business, no matter if it’s a small startup or a global brand. It’s the guiding light on your organization’s path of existence. With a clearly articulated mission statement, you position yourself in a certain way to the surrounding community. This is especially important for small businesses to create a strong voice that helps assert your message clearly among your employees, potential partners, or customers, and serves as a guidepost to anchor your brand identity to.
2) More Than Meets The Eye: The Importance of Visual Branding
Your audience makes a visual impression of your brand in a matter of seconds. Visual branding is made up of every part of a brand that you can see. This includes the brand logo, color palette, typography, imagery, and graphic elements. Once your audience becomes familiar with these elements, they will forever associate them with your brand identity.
Imagine if you went to McDonald’s and the golden arches were now pink. You’d probably be a little thrown off. Especially for smaller businesses that may need to work harder on brand recognition in the marketplace, visual branding will be the element that helps create and reinforce a strong impression through familiarity. On the other hand, any perceived inconsistency can greatly hinder your organization from creating a stickiness to a visual look and feel.
3) Intuitive Websites Are Crucial For Customer Loyalty
Where does website design and content come into play when it comes to brand equity? Achieving the perfect balance of web design and content can be tricky, as you want to provide your audience with a superb user experience. When determining how to display your content on your website, do what makes the most sense for your brand’s mission and what your organization wants to achieve. According to HubSpot, 86% of consumers prefer an authentic and honest brand personality on social networks. By presenting your target audience with content in the most genuine and intuitive manner, you have a much better chance of gaining not only a new customer who understands your brand message, but also a new advocate for your organization.
4) Corporate Authenticity In the Age of Social Media
It’s hard to imagine what the world was like before social media took the internet by storm. Not only has social media given individuals a new medium for sharing content with their friends, family, and peers, but they have also given businesses a new and convenient opportunity to reach their target audience. With the right audience, investing in a strong social media presence might be especially strategic for smaller companies with limited resources.
Just as an organization’s website design affects its brand equity, so too do its efforts on social media. If a brand decides to pursue a social strategy, their voice must be consistent with the organization’s messaging, brand guidelines, and consumers’ perceptions of the brand.
5) Customer Service Interactions Are Key
Let’s face it, your organization would be nothing without its customers. Even with a great product or service, a bad customer service experience can create a negative brand equity situation. This could result in a customer who was once loyal to your brand now potentially going to a competitor. Keep your customers top-of-mind so you can maintain your brand’s best advocates.
Using these five easy tips to build a strong and consistent brand identity will create a solid foundation for brand loyalty and increasing exposure that will contribute to a strong bottom line.
Byung Choi is the CEO at MarcomCentral, a leading digital asset management and marketing technology company.”