What do you think of when you think of Apple? Do you think of their logo? Or, maybe ‘Shot on iPhone’ comes to mind?
The Apple brand is undoubtedly powerful and contributes to their immense success. Some argue that companies like Apple are not selling products, it is about selling a brand, a dream, a message.
Developing an effective brand is becoming just as important as your product. In an ever competitive and saturated market, your brand allows you to differentiate and resonate with your ideal customer. Easier said than done, right? We’ll admit that developing your brand identity can be a daunting process, but we’re here to help you navigate the basics.
Finding your brand identity.
A brand is much more than a logo, mission or values – a brand is an experience. Your brand identity is a set of brand associations that should create emotional experiences and functional benefits for the people who interact with every aspect of the organisation and its interfaces.
Your brand identity can have a measure of ‘brand stretch’; these are the characteristics and associations that reflect the company’s ambition rather than its current position. But the stretch must be realistic, and you must be able to deliver on your promises.
Identifying your goals.
Setting your goals are important. Typically, the overarching goals of branding are to:
- Ensure the brand position is relevant, meaningful and believable so that it clearly resonates with all stakeholders;
- Develop a set of associations that accurately reflect the nature and capacity of your people, place, approach, and services;
- Align your brand with the organisation’s business goals;
- Develop an identity that instills a sense of pride among employees, and attracts workers of aligned values and attitudes;
- Drive customer brand perceptions to build the value of the brand.
Expressing your brand.
Start with your brand essence, that is, the brand’s fundamental nature or quality. For example, the Ellis Jones brand essence is ‘movement’, because we want to move people through our work.
Next, develop brand associations – these are the experiences and attributes associated with the brand. Identify recurring brand associations among all stakeholders, including your employees and your customers.
The last step is brand activation, which is the realisation of the brand experience among employees, partners and customers. This can be achieved by activating the brand across overall organisation behaviour, marketing, assets and strategy. Aligning your brand with any important business decision, from service innovation to partnership development, should always be considered.