Create lasting customer relationships by building a brand identity that communicates a clear message to consumers.

So, you’re concerned about your brand.

Not that kind of brand — don’t worry, Bessie. This kind of brand:

 

All of these iconic symbols are just that: symbols. But the images conjure up myriad associations, from the companies’ origins to their current product offerings to their public values, be they togetherness — “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” — or innovation, invoked by Apple’s “Think different” slogan.

Successful brands like Coca-Cola, Apple, and Starbucks have all managed to create such strong brand identities that their logo alone communicates a clear and potent message to consumers — a message that goes way beyond that logo.

Though brand identity is defined as the visible elements of a brand, such as its color, design, and logo, it’s what the brand stands for that’s really important. And that’s defined by everything your brand says and does, from its underlying mission to how it interfaces with customers and clients to how it treats its employees.

If you’re not sure if your brand identity is communicating a clear and consistent message to consumers, here’s how you can start building a brand that means something.

How to Build a Clear Brand Identity

 

1. Find your purpose.

Every successful brand has two purposes: a functional purpose and an intentional purpose. The functional purpose, of course, is to provide a good or service in exchange for money. The intentional purpose can be a little more difficult to identify — but it’s also the driving force behind your brand identity. Put simply, the intentional purpose is the need your brand fills in the world — and it’s the reason you and your employees get up in the morning.

2. Keep it consistent.

To build brand recognition, keep your content consistent. If you’re sharing a photo on Instagram or writing a new blog post, it should fit with your brand’s mission, tone, and visual identity. Every element of your marketing strategy, from paid ads to social media accounts to your website, should work harmoniously together to offer a strong, clear identity.

3. Inject some emotion.

Consider what drives a customer to sign up for an Equinox gym membership or buy a Hershey’s chocolate bar. There’s nothing Equinox has that its more budget-friendly rivals don’t, and milk chocolate tastes about the same no matter who made it — but these big brands have a lock on the emotions that go into a purchase. Consumers are attracted to the lifestyle that Equinox advertises and the classic Americana that’s associated with Hershey. Strive for a similar effect with your brand by choosing an emotional angle that makes sense with your mission.

Make no mistake: a strong brand with a clear message takes time to create. But the benefits of taking the time to do so – especially for new companies – will pay enormous dividends in the form of more customers and brand recognition down the line.

 

Author Madeline Killen

Before graduating from Dartmouth College, Madeline studied English and Italian literature, edited the arts section of the campus newspaper, worked as an Italian tutor, and completed a senior honors thesis on Emily Dickinson. At L&T, she’s translated her passion for language — no pun intended — into success in her role writing and managing social media for clients across multiple industries. When she’s not at work, you’ll find her reading, running, or enjoying the perks of moving back to civilization after four years in the New Hampshire wilderness (even though she does miss the trees).

More posts by Madeline Killen