Carie Barkhuizen, founder of Seymour PR, shares her top tips for building brand identity quick-smart
Your brand identity is how customers perceive you. A simple way to look at it, is to view your brand as a person. Someone unique, with their own beliefs, values, look and feel. Your brand identity is what sets you apart from others. So, it’s important to have this down pat.
In saying that, it’s easy to have a clear picture of your brand identity in your head, but how do you portray this to your customer base, in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible?
Our advice is to build your brand identity online. Even if you don’t conduct your business online – perhaps you’re a café owner or run a beauty salon – your customers will still expect to have a digital presence. It comes down to the fact that in our digital world, you are who Google says you are. Fact. And what’s worse than having a negative presence online, is having no presence at all.
The difficulty here is that for a new business, building an online profile can take time. And it can be costly. We are regularly approached by start-ups and small businesses who want to build their presence online, but have limited budgets.
To help solve this problem, my team at Seymour PR has partnered with digital marketing agency, Brandlective, to launch Profile Kickstarter; a service that offers businesses without huge PR and marketing budgets a means to quickly build brand identity online.
During the course of developing this service there have been lots of learnings along the way. So, to help those business owners who are starting out here are the key things that should be considered when building brand identity online:
To build a strong brand identity, it’s important to establish a clear mission statement and set of brand values from the get-go. Your brand must look, sound and send a concise message across your website, social media, and all marketing materials.
As customers ourselves, we know that the best brands are those which sell us an authentic story. Often, start-ups and small brands leave PR until the end of their marketing plan which can have a major impact on the quality of storytelling that they can produce when the time is right. The story is how we connect with a brand and ultimately, leads to purchasing decisions. When telling your brand’s story, assess whether it includes some, or all, of the core news values; impact, timeliness, prominence, proximity, bizarreness and conflict. Effective use of these values will guarantee your name in headlines.
We all want to see our name written on the pink pages of the FT, or the front cover of TIME. Trust me, I get it. But when it comes to media, you’re most likely going to have to work your way to the top, so don’t dismiss smaller online media outlets.
Our Profile Kickstarter service focuses on placing features with online media titles in order to dominate Google search results. Getting your name in these places will help ensure that a search of your brand’s name creates an impressive first page of results.
Your job is to be the solution to your customer’s problem. Sometimes, that means stepping outside your comfort zone. Stacey Kehoe, communications director at Brandlective comments: “Around 79% of brands lack engagement online. You must remember it’s not about you, it’s about considering where your audience spends its time online. A common mistake that brands make is that they tell the right story on the wrong platform. Make sure you’re building your brand identity on a platform that your customers are actually using, rather than your favourite platform.”