Hi, and welcome to another episode of Brand it! with Petchy. After a few weeks of pretty badass guest experts on the show, if I may say so myself, you’re stuck with just me this week! Keeping it short and sweet with this episode on brand identity.
A couple of weeks ago, at the time of this recording, I did a talk at an online summit – along with my friend and copywriter extraordinaire: Iren at Pen Intended. We spoke all about how a clear identity can help you build a stronger brand – and I wanted to bring that topic over into this podcast too. Before I start, I want to give Iren a lot of cred for this episode, even if she’s not on air with me – you can find her over on Instagram at @penintended.no if you want to check out her work!
So, let’s get started!
Iren and I actually titled our talk “Be a peach!” – which if you’ve ever seen the following quote by Dita von Teese, you will totally get why. But we did have some curiosity in the audience before our talk.
So, what Dita von Teese said is: “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.”
So, why did we choose that as our starting point? Well, as a brand it’s important that you get remembered, understood and ultimately: chosen. Almost no matter what you do, you’re gonna have competitors – which makes it so, so important to find a way to stand out. By creating a distinct identity for your brand, you no longer have to compete with quote/unquote: “the whole world” – but rather spend time working on discovering what makes your brand attractive to a well-defined audience. Which in turn means that some people will like what you put out there – and others won’t. And that is a good thing!
You wanna be the best peach that you can be, because when you have the guts to really hone in on your quirks and your uniqueness, that’s when you can attract the potential clients who like not only what you offer, but also how you put it out there.
So, first I’d like to take a little look at the definitions here, what is a brand, what is branding, and where does brand identity fit into all of this? And if you want to go even deeper on this, I recommend going back to listen to episode one, today I’m just summarising for context more than anything.
A brand is how people perceive your company. This is not something you can ever be 100% in control of, because it’s made up of people’s feelings and perceptions based on their experience with your brand. And you can’t go inside people’s brains to dictate how they feel about your brand – I mean that would be totally creepy. But what you can do, is to take action to try and influence the way your brand appears to those people over time.
And that’s what we call branding. Branding is the stuff you do, real actions that you take, to influence people’s opinion or perception of your brand.
Your brand identity/corporate identity is one element of your branding, and is a collection of tangible brand elements that come together to create one brand image. This includes not only your visual identity, but also your verbal identity, your company culture, how you recruit, your customer service… all of these small or large pieces that come together to create that unified, strong brand personality.
And all of these things, you need to have a strategy for. Why? Because with a solid strategy you get clarity and a solid core, which in turn makes it way easier to attract the right kind of client, create targeted campaigns, products and services. And you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every. single. time.
A distinct brand takes you away from the generic, and gives you the opportunity to charge more premium prices – not necessarily because you’re perceived as “fancy” or “high end” but because your strategic approach has allowed you to discover ways of adding more value to your customer.
And before, when people didn’t have access to virtually everything, branding was more about the actual item and its features. Today, it’s more about identity and belonging than anything else. People tend to buy into a brand because it speaks to their emotions and makes them feel like they are part of something bigger. It’s not always about money either, in fact more often than not it’s a question of individual style, personality, lifestyle choices – how something makes you feel.
That also means that your brand isn’t going to be for everyone, and you don’t want it to be for everyone! Choose your ideal audience and then communicate directly to the people who see the value in what you have to offer and who get and connect with who you are as a brand.
When you start to look at brand identity in this way, we see that identity isn’t just fancy bells and whistles – it’s hardcore business strategy!
In a way, you’re never going to be “done” with your brand identity. Just like you and me, it’s a living evolving creature – but still recognisable over time. That’s how you build brand recognition and trust. So a key tip here is to be consistent. Appear the same across all of your channels and touchpoints, be authentic (I hate how the meaning of that word has been totally devalued lately) and relatable. Because when you allow those potential clients to get to know you over time, you build a relationship with them that means they will start to trust your brand. And that trust is so incredibly crucial to whether they will become a client or buy your product. This is often referred to as the know, like and trust factor.
If you’re not creating a brand from scratch, but rather you’re rebranding for some reason, it’s important that you spend a little time reflecting on what elements of your brand are worth keeping. There are times when a full rebrand from scratch is the right move, but more often than not, there are elements of your brand that you can keep and hone in on to retain brand recognition.
So, what are the key things to remember as you stake out a distinct brand identity?
- Define your ideal client
- Hone in on your distinct identity – and don’t be afraid to put some people off, remember you don’t want to attract everyone and their uncle, you want to attract the right people. Be that peach!
…and this is where you get a “what came first, the hen or the egg” kinda situation. You can choose to start by defining your ideal client and then creating a brand personality to suit (something which is more common with larger businesses) or you can let your brand personality lead the way when you define your ideal client (this is a very good approach for personal brands and smaller businesses). You just need to be aware that the identity you choose to put forward to represent your brand will ultimately impact the kind of client or customer you attract. The two are closely interlinked.
- But no matter which end you start, there is one thing to remember: consistency is key. The stories you tell, the values you put out there, the way your brand looks and sounds, how you interact with clients – people need to be able to recognise this over time.
If you’re inspired to start working on your brand’s strategy and identity, you might want to listen up, because I’m going to round off this episode by telling you about a beta offer I have for a service I am considering.
At the time of recording this episode, I’m looking for three people to test a potential new pop-up service at an insanely good (not that I am biased or anything) price tag in return for honest feedback.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Basically, it’s called Petchy in Your Pocket – and it’s for you if you know brand strategy is important, but you’re not sure where the heck to start. I want to take the stress out of your brand strategy work and give you an affordable way to get my brains on your brand – and I want you to make big progress on your brand foundations in just one day. You know, because I’m an instant gratification kinda person.
So the idea is, you get my tried and tested Brand it! Workbook, that is designed to help you discover your brand’s values and unique personality… and then you get a full day of Voxer support where you get to send me unlimited Voxer messages and pick my brain on anything you might feel stuck on.
If you’re like wft is Voxer… It’s a walkie talkie messaging app for your smartphone, that we’ll be using to send voice and text messages back and forth during our day together.
If that sounds like your cup of tea, drop me a DM in any of my social media channels or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll send you some more details!
Until next time, go brand it!