If you had to describe your brand as a car or an animal, could you do it? If you had to define it using one word, what word would you choose? Knowing the answers to these types of questions are the first step in identifying your brand identity and giving your brand a unique character. Brands like Nike, Apple and Coca-Cola have worked for years to find their voice. Even if you don’t have a billion-dollar marketing budget, you can still give your brand character by following a few simple rules. Here are some ideas for solidifying your brand’s identity.
Every brand has personality, whether you craft it or not. Brand personality is a set of human characteristics associated with the name of a product or company. Sometimes consumers develop these personalities based on their own experiences with the brand or product, but often it’s the brands themselves who create personalities for their products through advertising campaigns, branding, or customer service.
Take control of your brand’s personality by first defining how you’d like to be seen. Choose several adjectives and traits that you believe reflect your brand – feminine, high-end, luxury, trustworthy, to name a few – and determine what factors will make these traits believable. A great exercise to help you is to compare your brand with celebrities, cars, animals or existing spokespeople for other brands, or writing a description of your brand as a real person. By pinpointing what makes other brands successful is another great way to get the ball rolling for your own brand.
Character Tone and Language
When your brand has a personality, it becomes a living, breathing entity. Every advertisement, Tweet, Facebook message and e-newsletter you send out should have the same kind of tone, and you can determine your tone by first deciding your target audience. The tone you take with your audience depends on your business and the image you’d like to portray. If you own a high-end retail brand, you’ll have a different tone than if you are selling insurance. Do you want to appear as a colleague or an authority figure? A fun-loving “wild card” or a trustworthy source? In answering these questions, you’ll find a communication style all your own.
As you’re developing talking points and communications copy, remember to stay away from anything that might alienate your audience, like the wrong tone, excess jargon or promises your business can’t keep. Also, be consistent with your tone and the language you use. If you have many people working on marketing efforts (especially social media communication), make sure they are all on the same page with tone and character.
Balance Your Messages
Consumers are savvier than ever when it comes to communicating with brands. With social media, website engagement and increased brand transparency, consumers can tell when you’re “faking it” with your brand’s personality. Push communications has been replaced with two-way communication and building community versus sending messages into the ether. Although your ultimate goal for marketing is to sell your product or service, balancing sales messages with non-sales messages will go a long way to strengthen your brand and add character to your messages.
About the Author: When he’s not writing for EnMast on topics impacting small business, Tom is doing everything he can to meet his entrepreneurial goals.