Brand Identity 101: Finding your sweet spot in the digital space
If your brand is not on social, you are missing out! With Snapchat making a comeback and Instagram hearing more voices than ever with the continual rise of influencers, it does not end there. Twitter is no longer a platform for ‘dear diary’ moments, and Facebook…well, it may well make a comeback with Facebook Groups and Shopping. Facebook is also planning to launch their own cryptocurrency, Libra, which is making huge waves in the crypto world. Regardless of platform, the flow of content does not cease; guess you could call it ‘the medium that never sleeps’.
How do you then as a brand distinguish yourself and stand out from the crowd? Especially amidst a sea of content that just keeps on coming. In spite of the aesthetically pleasing #ootds and vlogs that flood the platforms on a daily basis, the audience is looking beyond visuals to trigger the desire to engage and follow – they want to be involved. In the words of marketing expert, Bianca Bass, “People no longer buy products, they buy better versions of themselves.”
Before diving into creating a personality to front your brand, it is essential to know who your target audience is. What is the age range, and what are their hobbies? What sort of posts are they more inclined towards? On which platform? With this, it helps when you develop the voice that communicates to the audience, including the tone and choice of words.
TIP 1: DOES YOUR BRAND HAVE A PERSONALITY?
A brand naturally does not have a face, and we are not talking about ambassadors or endorsements by celebrities; unless it is owned by somebody famous, like Kylie Cosmetics (by a member of the Kardashian clan).
With a face, comes character, and that humanizes the brand. When the audience is able to resonate with that, that is when their participation comes in. Not all brands have the fortune to have an influential persona as part of their business model. Therefore, It is essential to engage with current and potential consumers as this will also help to shape the brand’s message better.
There is nothing quite like a ‘win’ when your customers take the time to share how your product has made a difference in their lives. The feedback and interaction are instrumental to your brand’s progress. Let the brand be a friend to your customers. Develop the personality that your customers identify with.
TIP 2: KNOW WHO YOU ARE TALKING TO
The Instagram posts above are both of lipsticks but from different brands (Nars and Colourpop, respectively), with different target audience. Notice the difference in the captions? One is evidently meant for a mature group, while the other for Millennials – with words used like ‘gal’, ‘vegan’ and the use of emojis.
Nars’ (@narsissist) target audience has a higher spending power compared to Colourpop; which is also a reflection on the choice of words meant for its targeted audience. Imagine if the caption Nars was used on Colourpop. That would have been…out of place.
With the choice of words, comes the tone – how do you then intend to express your words to best reflect the values of your brand?
The tone used on the Nars’ post gives off a sensual vibe; if the words were visual imagery, it would be the likes of a Dior perfume commercial. Colourpop, on the other hand, portrays a chirpy young adult, coffee and lipstick in hand, ready to take on her first big break!
When you have a hold of your brand’s personality, regardless of platform or content format, the voice stays.
TIP 3: IF YOU ARE HUMAN, WHAT WOULD YOU LOOK LIKE?
Personalise, personalise, personalise. You need to send across that consistent look and feel of your brand so that your customers can identify with. Think Tiffany Co? Some brands prefer using solely pictures, some go for the minimal graphic approach, while others are more inclined towards full text – depending on the industry, platform and target audience.
Instagram account, Humans of New York, relies heavily on its human-interest stories, accompanied by a photo of the individual. The layout is at its minimal to retain focus on the story and featured person. The audience loves it because of how raw the brand represents itself, true to the name of the brand – nothing fancy, just being real. They are also an exception to the apparent rule, “no long caption on Instagram because no one has that much patience to read”.
FINALLY, YOU GOT TO STICK TO THE RULES YOU SET.
Once you are set on the brand’s personality and style, the only thing left is to be consistent to eventually be visible. With consistency across every platform, the brand’s identity will become familiar to the audience.
Scoot Singapore, for example, floods their official Facebook page with the striking corporate yellow and black for their posts and campaigns. Their style has evolved slightly since their initial days, but what stayed constant is the corporate colour and the accompanying graphics. A glance at their page will let you in on their consistency.
A brand can always go through a rebranding exercise to keep up with the times, but it is important to always keep the perspective of audience towards your brand in mind. We typically advise that your brand should go through a brand review every two years. Why two years? Personality changes and so do consumer behaviours. As brand managers, you will need to keep up with the changes in trend and evolve your brand identity to align with your customers’ aspirations.
If you have not found your brand identity, here are some other resources that may be useful to you:
- American Express: Brand Identity 101
- How to build a strong identity in the digital age
- 10 Social Media Brand Identity
Finding your brand identity may seem like a hassle at first, but it benefits your brand in the long run when you know can effortlessly run it like it is your own personal account.
When somebody comments that the other person has a personality, you do not immediately think about their looks. What comes to mind is a likeable person, or in this context, a relatable brand. And that is essentially what you are going for.
Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org for an insight on how to better shape your brand’s reputation. Here at beknown, we can help to find your place and voice in this complex digital world.