Brand: identity crisis or perception deception?
Most businesses have been getting the process of brand all wrong.
The following revelation leads us to the ultimate irony of a deep misconception about the perception of ‘brand’ and what it really means in people’s minds.
Where have we been going wrong? Allow me to explain.‘Brand’ refers to the perception customers have about a particular product or service, however, many people have the mistaken belief that their logo, colour palette and font/typeface selection are what defines their brand.
We have believed, albeit misguidedly, that visual aesthetics – the superficial ‘look and feel’ and ‘surface‘ appearance of a product, service or business – i.e. a logo or corporate identity is that what distinguishes us from our competitors. A unique point of difference.
This is only partly true. A visual or corporate identity can indeed be used as an effective strategic business tool to help position you strongly in relation to your competitors, however, brand goes far deeper than just ‘looks’ and ‘aesthetics’. A logo is purely an identifier or mark for a brand. Nothing more, nothing less. Brand is far broader and over-arching with themes of values, culture, connection, resonance and personality.
Brand is also centred on identifying a core belief or intrinsic value, which is expressed as a visual identity. The perception of these two elements from your customers’ point of view is what constitutes your brand. Remember, your brand is what your prospect thinks of when he or she hears your ‘brand name’. Your ‘brand’ essentially exists only in someone else’s mind, therefore, businesses, business owners and brand strategist don’t make brands – your customer does. You just need to give them the tools and the story.
The ‘identity crisis’ is deep rooted in the fact that people have been confusing ‘visual or corporate identity’ with ‘brand’ and placing far more value in the ‘style’ (image) rather than the substance (core value).
As we have become an increasingly image-oriented society, (some would say image-obsessed, others would say we’re over-stimulated), coupled with the fact that we are primarily visual animals, we put far more emphasis on visual messages, cues and icons as identifiers or objects of identification.
Roughly 65% of the human population are visual learners – reacting and interacting with the world through their sense of sight. It is perhaps no surpise that the weight and power of an effective brand has been focused and magnified soley on its ‘look and image’.
Visual identity is one part of a brand blueprint for business growth, but it’s really an expression of a larger, wider and broader element – one that is largely intangible and evasive to most businesses that are understandbly distracted by the day to day, business as usual mentality.
Brand is a process of understanding who we would like to help or serve and how you want these people to feel about your brand. That’s actually the easy part, The really hard work starts by working consistently and passionately to create a consistent and emotional connection with that ideal customer or audience over time to such a degree that they start to resonate that passion and emotion to others.
This where your core philosophies such as brand values, mission statement and unique selling point can assist in delveoping a visual or corporate identity that resonates with you and your audience.
So BE smart – get the strategy right, avoid confusing identity with brand and moreover don’t confuse identity with positioning. Because whether intentionally or unintentionally, deceiving customers with false perception is the quickest way to kill your brand and dissolve that hard-earned trust.
I hope you learned something new, insightful or useful from this blog.
As The Brand Entrepreneur, I believe in helping businesses and savvy entrepreneurs ‘market smarter’ for serious brand growth. I do this by deeply defining your ‘ideal’ customer with The ‘My Avatar’ and ‘Ideal Customer Personality’ Workshops and then creating design assets that convey your ‘Why?’. Successful brands in the future care about customers, not branding. I believe that future is now. I’m passionate about creating brand stories & design assets that help brands get ‘in sync’ and connected to customers they ‘care’ about.
BE vigilant – Brand New ‘Brand Entrepreneur’ Brand Workshops for 2018!
Jamie Thomas – The Brand Entrepreneur