Establishing a Brand: What is Brand Identity?
You want your new business to be successful right out the gate. Looking professional, knowledgable, and polished will significantly help. To achieve a highly credible look, you need to create a stellar brand. Throwing a logo together and picking a random name won't cut it. Building a great brand requires lots of brainstorming, planning, and creating. This isn't a light topic, so we'll dig deeper on a specific aspect of building a brand each week. For now, let's look into brand identity, finding your niche, and what to research.
WHAT IS BRAND IDENTITY
According to Column Five Media, a brand identity is how your brand looks, speaks, and feels to people. It's what people think and say about your brand when you're not around. Your brand is how you communicate to an audience, stand out against competition, and encourage engagement.
What's included in a brand identity? Well, let me list it out for you:
- Web design
- Social presence
Of course, the list could go on. We'll look more into these details in future blogs. In the end, all these characteristics need to be on the same page so you can effectively communicate your brand to current and potential customers to stay competitive and be successful.
Photo by Salt & Pine Co.
DISCOVER YOUR NICHE
Before you can establish a brand, you need to know who you will be printing for, or what your apparel line will be about.
If you're planning on printing for others, who do you want to print for? Don't say everybody, casting your net wide may not help you here. When you're starting out, it's good to have a focus, a specialty. For example, Salt & Pine Co. mainly prints for the woodworking community. Stark Screen Printing prints for small, local businesses. Pick a specific community to print for. It'll make your life easier not only for printing, but for creating your branding as well.
RELATED: YOUR BRAND STARTS HERE
The same idea is applied to making a clothing line. What's the theme of the line, or the topic you'll be focusing on? Take a look at Symmetree, they're an apparel line that creates decorated garments concentrated on the environment, specifically about the the nature in their home state of Oregon. Or check out Lee Stuart's Thirty Eight Ride Co., his clothing line centers on the motorcycle lifestyle.
The more specialized you are, the more lucrative you become. Keep your niche focused and narrowed so you'll be able to communicate your services or products well through proper branding.
Photo by Symmetree.
First, who's your audience? How you communicate to a mother will be different than marketing to a rock band.
In the perfect world, you'd be able to pay an agency to do the research for you. When you're just starting out, you gotta do some of the grunt work yourself.
Join Facebook groups and take note on people's age, occupation, education level, family status, and race. Pay attention to what they talk about like what podcasts they listen to, their favorite books, music they love, their cherished pets, hobbies, etc. Follow similar businesses on Instagram and watch how users engage with the accounts. By gathering as much information as you can on your potential audience, you can understand the best way to communicate your products and services to them.
Next, look into your competition. See what they're offering, who they're marketing to, what they do well and what they struggle with. Also look into other elements like their colors, logos, visual elements, messaging, personalities, etc. By checking out your competition, you can find out where there's a hole in the market, learn from others' successes and failures, and discover how to make your business unique.
Now that we got a basic understanding of what brand identity is and some initial research to help build the foundation of the brand, it's time to jump into the specifics. In the next blog, we'll dive into developing the messaging of the brand. For now, keep researching to gain a better understanding of your audience and competition. See you in the next post!