When people think about your business—whether you own a music shop, repair instruments, or perform—what’s the first thing you want to come to mind?
That, roughly speaking, is your brand identity.
More specifically, a brand is an intangible marketing concept that helps people recognize and identify a product and, at best, reach for it instead of one of its competitors, as Investopedia describes it.
Logos, slogans, color palettes, voice, and tone are outward reflections of a brand identity, which comprises a business’ unique qualities. More than products or services themselves, those qualities create psychological connections and desires. People buy on emotion and justify the purchase with logic.
And that is the essence of a well told brand story: Get them excited and give them a reason.
Here are some thoughts on how to do that.
Knowing your market is critical. The most successful brands stories are told by companies that understand how their customers think and how they live their lives.
Futurist Simon Sinek explains how the iconic brands leverage that knowledge in his TED Talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action.
Brands like Coca-Cola, Nike, and Harley-Davidson rarely if ever tout the qualities or characteristics of their products—they’re all about lifestyle, mainly enhancing it. However, it’s the quality and consistency of those products that segued into lifestyle. Check out this HubSpot article, “7 Proven Ways to Know Your Audience Better” to learn more about getting a firm grip on who your actual audience is.
That is the foundation of your brand story. People love stories, especially ones that are about them. Even if you’ve never been on a motorcycle—or have no desire to ever get on one—this two-minute video is a graduate course in Brand Story Telling.
Appeal to your customers on a personal level. Communicate how your product or service came about, success stories, ideas on how it can benefit them, and the values behind your company are built into the products and services you provide.
The outward trappings of brand identity—logos, slogans, design, and such—are cues that keep the story in the front of the market’s collective mind. They’re all part of your brand voice, literally and figuratively, how your brand communicates with the audience. Yes, that also includes tone of voice. If you manufacture high-end cellos, your tone will be much different than a company selling energy drinks!
As the psychological connection between your audience and business evolves, the repeat use of the components will help fortify your brand and facilitate credibility. Be sure to maintain consistency across all touchpoints, including your website, social media channels, signage, swag, etc.
Back It Up
Great brand stories often rest on a foundation of superior customer service. That means addressing and resolving issues in a timely manner. One of the things that makes Amazon such a strong brand is its customer service. For example, returns are easy to manage, which translates to a better customer experience.
While you can and should make a consolidated effort to develop your brand(s) to best represent the uniqueness, values, and qualities of your business and respective products or services, it’s important to recognize that you don’t have full control over brand identity and evolution. A different audience than you originally intended may embrace your brand—don’t fight it because those people translate into new customers.