Back in the good old days, if someone asked you to explain what a winning brand identity was, chances are you would immediately think visually. What does their logo look like? What are their brand colours? Have they followed through with their packaging and inserts?
Half of our brains are devoted to vision, and visual elements still drive many a purchase (otherwise, why would sites like Instagram be so popular?). But social and digital media have really turned the marketplace on its ear.
How Important is a Winning Brand Identity?
Today, a winning brand identity not only has to look amazing, but it has to do much, much more. Businesses today are competing in a very crowded online world. Over the next five years, Canada’s e-commerce market revenue will grow by close to 40 percent. And in 2018, an estimated 1.8 billion people worldwide purchased goods online.
That equals a lot of competition and ups the urgency of ensuring your brand identity helps you stand out among your competition. So, how do you accomplish that? What are some key components of a winning brand identity?
I decided to ask some of the crazy-smart people who work with Spodek & Co. what they thought were important elements of brand identity.
Here’s what they had to say.
Key Elements of a Winning Brand Identity
Lindsay Bell, Content Director: Authenticity and Consistency
For me, a winning brand identity is all about being authentic. I can smell a brand trying to fake it a mile away. And so can most savvy digital consumers these days. If your audience and your “identity” don’t match, there’s no way you’ll be able to stand out from the competition.
Another key factor is consistency. Across ALL content channels – your website, social media accounts, newsletters, email campaigns, paid advertising, even press releases! Your visual branding, brand voice, style and tone must be consistent. And don’t forget internal communications. A consistent brand identity must flow internally as well, and brand guidelines should be drafted and available to every person in your organization, from the C-suite on down.
Jasmine Cirjanic, Creative Account Director: Integrity and Inspiration
Successful brands are true to themselves: they identify what makes their company unique and communicates this and their values through their brand identity. Great businesses tell a great story and so does their branding. Think about Coca-Cola. It’s always consistent. The red colour inspires confidence and the story it tells is about happiness – bringing family and friends together and sharing. It’s not really about soda.
Successful brands understand their target market and this provides direction for the tone and reach of their company branding.
Scott Newlands, Agency Partner, Scott Newlands Creative: Impactful and Familiar
Brand identity today is more important than ever. Standing out from the crowd is harder than ever. We are all bombarded with brand interactions all day every day whether it be traditional media, digital interactions or the ever-blurring lines between advertising and content.
As a result, having a strong brand identity that resonates with your target customer is critical — in addition to having a standout product, it’s one of the only ways to differentiate and get the customer’s attention these days. Perhaps that’s always been true but it’s even more so now than ever.
A great brand identity is easy to work with as a creative but even more importantly easy for a customer to recognize and understand.
It’s Crowded Out There
There’s no question it’s crowded out there, and Scott’s right, we are constantly bombarded by advertising, almost from the minute we open our eyes in the morning. Personally, in addition to the qualities mentioned above, I think a winning brand identity needs to have passion and demonstrate an understanding of its customer in everything it does.
It’s harder than ever these days in the digital marketplace to rise above the crowd. But a solid brand identity will help you to do just that! And if you need any help in that regard, feel free to reach out!
What can you add? What really strikes you when a brand manages to grab your attention? Why are you loyal to some brands and not others? I would love your thoughts!