Discover Strategies to Clarify Your Brand Identity Messaging and its Importance for a Strong Brand.
Brand Identity messaging is not only important but also vital to discovering and portraying who you are as a company and who you are not. Click here to listen to this episode of The Beacon Way podcast.
What is Brand Identity: Connecting with Your Target Audience
Brand identity messaging is a foundational part of your marketing plan. If you don’t know who you are and whom you’re trying to connect with, there are a lot of misses that can happen. We are here to hopefully help you avoid this and move forward while accurately communicating your brand voice to your target audience about who you are as a company.
One of the very first steps we encourage you to do is to stop, take a breath and ask yourself the questions we will discuss in parts 1-4 of the brand identity messaging series.
Importance of Authenticity in Brand Messaging: Finding Your Company’s Unique Voice
You may be wondering why this is such an essential first step. Establishing who you are as a company, and your brand values sets a solid foundation for your business and is an essential piece of self-discovery, emotional intelligence, and self-awareness. This realization and discovery is a key element to your success as a company.
This step can seem complicated and there is a tendency to combine this with the big values we place on the wall of our businesses as our visual identity, however, these things don’t matter as much as drilling down into the baseline of what you really want your company to represent.
This brand design concept helps you discover authentically who you are and recognize the unique gifts that you yourself have to give in your business. You must have personalized goals in mind for your business instead of being concerned about fitting in with your competition. The perception that your business must fit a mold can cause you to fall into a trap of comparison, believing that you must mimic what others in your field of service are doing will not serve your ideal target market client.
The reality is, that when looking from the outside you have no way to know if the particular brand you’re attempting to mimic is as successful as they appear or if they are operating out of a good brand value system that you agree with. Authenticity goes a long way towards establishing trust in your client relationships.
As an entrepreneur, you must possess an awareness of your company’s mission, who you are, and whom you feel confident representing to the world. Deciding this will help you shape your business’ brand identity into what you want it to be and then enable you to execute that.
Linking Your Brand Messaging to Your Origin Story
The next step in this process would be to analyze who you are in your brand identity and how will that be represented in your business to the world.
The decision to start your own business had a catalytic point and it came out of your story. At Beacon Media + Marketing, we talk about how we started in our Origin Story Episodes. Time and time again we heard agonizing stories from friends and family members about how they wanted to launch something but they couldn’t find anyone to help them with their visual identity needs like graphic design, company logo, or their website. That is our story, we wanted to help to create strong businesses with a memorable brand identity.
Articulate Your Brand Story
Take a moment and think about the instigating story behind the launch of your business. Often this is the core of the brand identity for your company and the core elements of what you are bringing to the table. Being able to articulate your brand story can, at times, take a lot of courage because businesses can come out of not-so-great and even painful circumstances. If starting something new from the ashes of circumstances is the origin of where your company came from, it should always be included as part of your core values. This is the “why” of who your brand is today.
The Importance of Selectivity for Business Growth
At the opening of your business, it is natural to attempt to take all the customers and clients that come your way. This can take some time to even out while you discover who your ideal target audience or client is and while you as an owner are coming to terms with the fact that you may have to become more selective in your client base.
The key thing to keep in the forefront of your mind is that you’re learning. You’re going to do an amazing job on the work you’ll provide. And you’ll have great relationships with certain types of people who resonate with you.
Why Niching Down Can Benefit Your Brand Identity Messaging
We like to quote this phrase, not because of the monetary aspect but because we believe in the concept, “The Niche makes you Rich.” Niching down into your ideal services with your ideal target market client allows you to provide the opportunity to serve yourself and them in an authentic and productive way. Operating out of the fear of making money to feed your family will not serve your purpose in as effective a way as stepping back and finding the balance in making enough money to keep the doors open and pay salaries, all the while providing the best service you can to your ideal clients.
Understanding Your Market Value: Why Undervaluing Your Services Can Cost You Big-Time
The truth is that the market you present to will tell you the value your service has to them. There is an adage out there that says, for example, take an older car to a pawn shop and you’ll get one offer. Take that same car to a dealership and you’ll get another offer. Take that very same car to a classic car show and you’ll get a much different offer. Each of these markets looks at the car from a very different perspective. What has value to one may have no value to another, it all depends on to whom it is presented. You wouldn’t sell a $100,000 car to a pawn shop for $1000, would you?
Learn From Your Mistakes
We made the mistake of undervaluing our web services in the market by about 90%. By doing so, we sent a message to our potential clients that there was something wrong with our service and that was why they were so cheap. When we took a step back and analyzed those services, we realized — we wanted to provide the best quality and excellence, but we couldn’t do that and be the cheapest. Quality with excellence and undervalued pricing are two things that don’t go together for a successful brand.
Finding Your Brand Identity Point of View to Stand Out in Your Industry
For Beacon Media + Marketing, little epiphanies came along the way that heavily helped us grow in confidence as business owners and helped us concretely establish our brand identity.
Pia Silva, No BS Agency Master, wrote a blog and a book. She has a whole system which, we highly recommend if you are at the beginning of your journey. She does a great job of helping people get down to that niche and define who you really are, what is your point of view in your industry, how you represent that, and then how you stand out so that you attract business from your target market no matter what type of business you have. She asks a profound question of not only what do you stand for but maybe more importantly, what are you against?
Brand identity is much more than your logo design, it’s much more about messaging and you want to start by establishing your brand voice to make the right statement and share your desired image with the world.
Finding Your Brand by Knowing What You’re Against
When we’re helping people find their brand identity, they tend to find it much quicker by answering the question, “What are you against?” When we’ve asked what they are for it doesn’t typically lead to an exact answer. But, asking what they are against helps clients get down to the nitty-gritty of what they don’t want their business brand to stand for which, in turn helps formulate the brand.
Avoid Shady Tactics
In our industry, we are against what we call shady tactics and any sort of black hat principles. We’re against not being transparent in business, not showcasing exactly the work we’re doing, and having an agency hold work hostage for clients and clients not being able to own and take that work with them.
When Facebook really took off, there were a lot of shady operators that took off overnight. It was so prevalent that people were drawn to that kind of practice. We knew that the quick fix of ‘following the money’ wasn’t going to work long term. Knowing what our values are for and against in our industry helped shape the way we decided to serve our clients. We did so in the way we felt was better for them and better for the industry.
Whether you already have an established brand identity or not, we recommend you go through the exercise regardless. We recommend this because a) it is a lot of fun and b) helps you stay true when you’re making tough decisions. Such as when you’re facing requests from your clients that just don’t feel right for your brand.
Make Those Tough Decisions
Sometimes, that tough decision is about letting them go to a different company that doesn’t have the same aversion to that request. These things your client requested may be standard practices within your industry, but you’ve decided that those practices will not serve your clients well and your company’s strengths are to be for the health of your client.
It’s possible that your business started because you didn’t agree with some of the industry standards and norms and that is part of your story. Being able, to be honest, and articulate that to your client is important because if that is where your heart was when you started your business, you’ll never feel right if you start to stray from that.
Brand personality starts with you being able to assess and communicate what your story is, what you are for yourself but also your business, and what you’re against for both yourself and your business. We feel that these are some of the core pieces to start with when looking at designing your brand identity.
To learn more about Brand Messaging and the Marketing world of Beacon, check out our podcasts where we talk more in-depth about all things The Beacon Way!
Check out episode 8 of The Beacon Way podcast or our blog, Brand Messaging Part 1!