The marketplace is crowded, both online and offline. Having a unique brand identity is one of the best ways an organization can gain a competitive advantage in it. But it’s going to take more than just a great tagline or logo to get there.
Brand identity includes everything visual about a brand (yes, that includes a logo), while other defining elements include color, style and design. But brand identity is so much more than that; it’s about what the company stands for and believes in. It’s the company POV — the vision and mission statement of the organization — at its very heart and core. It’s about how the company positions itself to the world around it.
Take Nike: If you read the words “Just do it” on an otherwise blank billboard, you could probably guess that it’s an ad for Nike without seeing the corresponding “swoosh” logo connected to it. That’s only possible because, from day one, Nike created a brand identity grounded in what it stands for and believes in. Nike has seamlessly intertwined its brand with the words “just do it” in customers’ minds to signify their commitment to the hustle, and just Getting. It. Done. Nike’s logo alone doesn’t make the brand, either — the messaging and visual assets that accompany it do.
A strong brand identity communicates — clearly and concisely, internally and externally, passionately and with precision — what the organization does and why. It’s why its employees get up every day to work there. It’s about how the organization started and how it’s changed. It’s about how the company will keep changing, perpetually, to serve its customers with honesty and transparency.
In the AV industry, this includes every customer interaction, every presentation to potential stakeholders, every line of copy on your website, every image shared on social media, and every interaction at your trade show booth.
If it seems like a lot, it is. It’s hard work, but you’ve got to do it.
A detailed plan (known as your brand strategy) should be established right away — really, before even establishing your brand identity — to help you remain consistent and authentic. Brand strategy is also driven by critical things such as your mission and purpose. Is your team fully aligned to your audience, values and vision? If they are, you’re on your way to building a foundation for success; if done right, your brand strategy (and, then, your brand identity) will be your blueprint, your North Star for making informed, strategic decisions every step of the way.
While it’s no small feat to create (and certainly no small investment in time, resources and money), a well-defined brand identity is invaluable to your organization; it establishes brand equity and builds trust, loyalty and even happiness (Disney!) with customers. If authentic, a strong brand identity pays off in the end with prosperity, success and a healthy bottom line. It may just be your best bet for gaining that competitive edge we mentioned.