Who is your brand? Not what. Not where. Who? This is the first step in the process of building brand identity, and often the hardest to conceptualize. Every brand should feel like a person, an individual, not a corporate entity. If yours doesn’t, read on for three tips on establishing a strong brand “who”.
Establish Your Brand’s “Why”
It seems counterintuitive, but before you can decide “who” your brand is, you have to decide “why” it is. Why does your brand do what it does? Why is it better than other brands? When you boil it down, why does it exist?
Of course, the easy answer for most brands and businesses, here, is “to make money”. That’s true, and also irrelevant. Why your brand or business exists is no more the knee-jerk “to make money” answer than the reason you yourself are here is “because”.
There is something that sets your brand apart. Look for it. Find it. Perhaps you are focused on delivering exemplary customer service. Maybe your brand is fixated on making sure all your products are precisely catered to the needs of your consumer. If you search all through your brand and don’t find a differentiator, trouble is on the horizon for your brand’s longevity.
Reflect Your Customer Base
Every major brand fumble ever made was caused by just one thing: misunderstanding the brand’s customer base. In all public-facing communications, a brand should focus on reflecting who their customer base is. Not who they want their customer base to be. Not some idealized, non-existent “perfected” customer group. The actual customer base.
If your customer base is blue-collar workers, you don’t speak to them like they’re Ivy-League PHDs and if your customer base is Ivy-League PHDs, you don’t speak to them like they’re blue-collar workers. And, whatever you do, you never talk down to your customer. Your customers should feel like your brand is “one of them”, that way it’s easier for them to accept your brand as a part of their own identity.
The hardest part of this concept, of course, is understanding who your customer base is in the first place. Major corporations have demographic and psychological breakdowns of all the major customer groups for their brands. Small brands and businesses aren’t necessarily so lucky. However, as time and money allows, it will pay dividends to invest in research on your customer base.
Be Consistent and Real
We live in a world that’s increasingly transient as attention is pulled everywhere at once by a deluge of internet-enabled apps right at our fingertips. Some overzealous brand social media managers chase trending topics across platforms faster than the eye can follow in a breathless pursuit of engagement numbers and–along the way–they can alienate a lot of people. And, it doesn’t work.
Instead of posting on whatever irrelevant thing is trending on TikTok, Twitter, or whatever other platform you pick from the ever-growing list, focus on the things your brand cares about and that are immediately relevant to your brand. An outdoor apparel company, for example, might post on a new law that affects state parks and not on one that bans residential gas heating sources.
Overall, pick a persona for your brand and stick with it. Consistency is key.
If you follow these three tips, you should know, now, “who” your brand is. Now, check out our blog on building community for tips on how to build and maintain a following for your brand.