Defining Your Brand Identity – 3 Steps to Avoiding an Identity Crisis

Kristin Lesko - October 25, 2013

Your brand is your company’s identity – differentiating you from your competitors and revealing to the world who you are and what you’ve set out to do. But while many people think their logo is their “brand,” it’s just one component – albeit an important one – in a much bigger picture. Your branding is also comprised of your company’s messaging and brand voice, which, ideally, work collectively to help people identify with you. Here are a few ways to create a brand that resonates with the right people.

Get to Know Your Audience

Before defining who you are as a company, think about who you’re trying to reach first. Pick one person from your primary and secondary audiences (i.e. stay-at-home moms, CEOs, animal owners, etc.) and create a profile in your mind of who this person is and what they look like. While people are as unique as their fingerprints, there are some commonalities based on the “roles” they play in life.

Ask yourself:

  • Is this person male or female?
  • What’s the first thing they think about when they wake up in the morning?
  • Where do they spend their free time?
  • What motivates them?
  • What do they want from your brand?

Go on a Speed Date As Your Brand

Imagine you’re on a “speed date” … as your brand. This means “you” will only have a few minutes to make a good first impression. In the real world, your target audience might not be so generous with their time.

Consider these questions:

  • How do you want the other person to perceive you?
  • What words would they use to describe you to someone else?
  • If they were to compare you to another brand (outside of your industry), which one would it be?
  • If they had to choose between you and another brand (who also happens to be good-looking and a snappy dresser), why would they choose you?

Introduce Your Brand to Others

Now that you’ve role-played to get to know your audience and brand better, it’s time to get feedback from the real deal: Actual people. Organize two different test groups, one comprised of members of your primary audience and the other for members of your secondary audience.

Show them:

  • Your logo.
  • A few pieces of marketing collateral (brochure, website, blog).
  • A demo of your products/services.

Afterward, have them take a survey about your brand, but also include open-ended questions, such as: “What emotion, if any, did you experience while reading our website copy?” Questions like that can help to ensure that your goals align with actuality.

If you’re still in the development stage of your branding, consider bringing two to three options for your logo design and brand messaging to these test groups. This can help you identify which version resonates with the test group before making your final decision.

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