Brand identity has become one of the hot new phrases over the past few years, but is it all hot air, or is it a genuine necessity?
What is branding anyway?
Branding, as the name suggests, has its roots in the practice of branding livestock to show ownership. In the same way, a company, business or organisation seeks to stamp a set of impressions about their product or service in the minds of the public.
Brand identity refers to the whole package by which an organisation markets itself, covering everything from logo, stationery and website to colours and fonts used in company literature. The idea is that certain aspects of the brand become instantly recognisable. Think of the Coca Cola logo, for example, or the strong association of the colour purple with Cadbury’s chocolate. These are prime examples of brand awareness firmly lodged in the public consciousness.
Is it really so important?
Every business, even when it’s just one individual operating as a sole trader, needs to have some form of brand identity, even if just a name and occupation. The important aspect of the brand is that it should be something that potential customers will remember and hold in high regard.
For the sole trader, brand identity is still important, but with only one individual to consider, changes can be implemented at will with very little disruption. For larger organisations, however, changes can be difficult, time-consuming and disruptive.
How does a business go about branding itself?
Even the smallest business needs to gain market approval and a clear identity. Customers should be able to form a positive image about the product or service offered and should be left wanting to find out more. The internet has fuelled the drive for branding as every company fights for their target market.
Creating a cohesive brand identity is skilled work best performed by experienced professionals. Organisations in this industry have a wealth of practical knowledge in all aspects of brand identity and understand the market forces in play. No business can afford to get the branding wrong if public trust is to be gained and maintained.
With the huge potential markets created by online marketing, every business is fighting to be heard. When brand identity has been proven to play a significant role in influencing public perceptions of a firm, can any business really afford not to avail itself of this powerful marketing tool?