Brand: discover the power of identity.
Identity. It’s a powerful thing.
Underlying everything we are and do, identity is what defines us, what we hold dear, what some people strive for, what many struggle to come to terms with, what some of us fight for and, in extreme cases, what some of us die for.
Identity (which includes relevance, meaning, connection and understanding) is what many are currently searching for to define themselves and their place in this crazy world. And yet, ironically, when pressed, many of us have no clear identity of who we really are either. We’ve never really considered our own identity for two reasons – no one has ever asked us and life kind of got in the way, right?
For many though, we are our job title, our achievements, what family and friends or social media comments say, think or tell us who we are, or increasingly, the sports team or club we follow. All rooted in identity and all that most people can identify with when asked ‘who are you?’. Of course, we are all so much more than a medal, a tweet, a certificate, a footy fan or a job title. Status anxiety, the 5 minutes of fame culture, and the cult of the celebrity have a lot to answer for. Welcome to the 21st century!
Compounding this identity crisis on the personal level, the same can be said of our businesses. Without a clear identity, the business has no clarity, no sense of itself, no purpose, no solid placement in the market nor context relative to the wider world. There are no roots to ground the business.
But why would a business need an image or an identity anyway? Especially an established business with a proven sales track record? Without an identity your business holds and conveys no meaning and cannot mean anything of substance to its’ customers. It’s like building a tree house in a tree with shallow roots surrounded by poor soil in a high-risk flood area right before the monsoon season. Similarly its like laying a slab or building a foundation using low grade cement. Sooner or later something is going to give way – in a very big way.
Yes, customers may still buy from you based on price, simple convenience, or previous relationships/performance but people are fickle – they can’t be trusted and they have no reason to stick with your business, mainly because you haven’t given them a reason to! Further, if you have no identity, how are you going to attract new talent and resources or protect your business from other competitors who are after the same talent, or worse turn their heads?
If we have no identity to show for ourselves or identify with, how can we as business owners ever expect anyone else to understand or engage with our business – never mind buy from us? We all know of some top performers in their field who are great at what they do but lack the identity and personality to engage and resonate with an audience. This ties into Simon Sinek’s belief that ‘people buy your ‘why’, not your ‘what’.’ People also buy your brand identity or personality, not your products.
This is a real challenge for many small and larger businesses alike. A lack of identity can lead to reduced resonance or connection with customers. This results in little or poor repeat business because your customers choose products and services largely based on price. The outcome is often stagnating sales performance and stunted business growth. So what’s the solution?
This is where the power of brand comes in. Giving your customer a clear sense of your identity in the form of a brand, and then building a strategy around that identity helps to distinguish your business, stand out from the crowd and cement your place in the marketplace. The core identity can then be expressed through your communications and marketing channels and messages – social media/digital platforms, design assets, signage, livery, live feeds, videos, etc… The biggest benefit? You no longer communicate based on cost but on value – which, in reality, is what people really ‘want’ and have only ever ‘bought’.
Defining your brand’s identity is important and beneficial to businesses who want to grow because it secures your brands’ place and position in the market, more importantly in your customers’ hearts and minds. That ongoing relationship delivers ongoing revenue but only as a result of the brand’s expressed identity.
So be bold.
Be the best you you can be.
Be your brand.
I hope you learned something new, insightful or useful from this blog.
As a Brand Expert, I believe in helping businesses build a ‘brand blueprint’ for business growth. I do this through a series of brand workshops designed to help businesses create an identity; pinpoint their purpose; visualise their vision and values and find their voice. ’Successful brands in the future care about customers, not branding. I believe that future is now’. I’m passionate about helping businesses create unique brand stories that get them ‘in sync’ with their tribe.
Jamie Thomas – The Brand Entrepreneur