1. Difference between brand and brand identity
In a world where attention is the most important commodity, simply having a brand isn't enough. You must create something remarkable to be able to stand out from the noise.
Doing that is not easy, but it’s probably not as hard as you think either.
The first distinction we must make is between a brand and a brand identity.
Your brand is your company's reputation and personality, and it's expressed through various interactions with your audience. In contrast, your brand identity is the visual representation of your brand that includes:
- Business name and tagline
- A consistent logo
- A well-chosen color scheme
- A distinctive typography
- Business cards
- Product packaging and package graphics
- Email design
- Other visual elements that set your brand apart
Brand identity is not something that can be owned, but rather something that is crafted through careful design and consistency. Although your brand identity is not your brand, it is an important tool in communicating your brand's message and personality to your target audience.
If you want to build a remarkable brand, you must not only comprehend the distinction between brand and brand identity but also establish a unified brand identity that proudly displays your brand's distinctive features while matching your brand's overall personality and reputation.
2. The importance of being remarkable
Being good or even exceptional isn't enough.
To stand out, you must be radically different rather than simply different.
"Remarkable people and brands are not defined by their conformity to the norms, but by their courage to embrace their uniqueness and defy expectations." - Simon Sinek
To make your brand truly unique, you must dig deep into your brand's DNA and identify its core essence, values, and strengths. Embrace every little thing that makes you different.
As Seth Godin often reminds us, the goal is not to be noticed, but to be worth noticing.
You must create products or services that are so exceptional that they create a buzz and generate word-of-mouth marketing.
A very easy framework you can use to get you started is by answering the following questions:
- What do we do? - How are we unique in what we do?
- How do we do it? - Do we have a process that is unique and gets results?
- When? - This is the one that usually confuses people. When questions can be used to differentiate your company by focusing on specific aspects of timing, efficiency, and customer experience. Here are a few ways you can use when questions to set your business apart:
- Promptness and Responsiveness - "When can we respond to customer inquiries?"
- Delivery and Lead Times - "When can we deliver products or services?
- Appointment Scheduling - "When can we offer convenient appointment times?"
- Product/Service Availability - When can customers access our products or services?
- Events and Promotions - "When can we host special events or run promotions?"
- New Product/Service Launches - "When can we introduce new products or services?"
- Customer Support Availability - "When can customers reach our support team?"
- Where? - Where questions can be used to differentiate your company by highlighting specific locations, distribution channels, and accessibility.
- Who? - This is where you pick your niche and you stick to it.
"If you try to be everything to everyone, you'll be nothing to no one." - Seth Godin,
- Why - Understanding the why helps you identify and communicate what sets your business apart from competitors.
If you are able to be unique in 3 out of these 6, you have a good starting point.
3. The role of polarization in building a strong brand identity
I recently attended an incredible workshop in Berlin, created and delivered by Chris Do.
One of the big takeaways I had and probably the one I least expected was on brand polarization.
Polarization is often seen as a negative thing, but in reality, polarization is an essential component of building a strong and distinctive brand identity.
When you polarize your audience, you create a clear distinction between your brand and others in the market. You create a tribe of loyal followers who believe in your brand's message and are willing to go to bat for it.
Polarizing brands can attract a devoted following of customers who share the same values and beliefs as the brand. However, it's important to balance this with the potential risks of alienating customers who don't share those same views.
So, How can a brand be polarizing and successful?
Embrace your point of view: A polarizing brand should fully embrace its unique perspective, values, and beliefs. This means standing firmly behind their brand message and not being afraid to take a stance on important issues.
Take a stand. To polarize your audience, you need to take a clear stand on an issue or approach your industry in a unique way. This means being authentic and true to your values and personality as a brand.
Be consistent. Consistency is crucial in building a polarizing brand. You need to consistently deliver on your brand promise and values across all touchpoints, from marketing materials to customer service interactions.
Embrace the haters. When you polarize your audience, you will inevitably attract some detractors or "haters." Instead of shying away from them, embrace them and use their criticism to fuel your brand's growth and evolution.
4. Building a consistent brand identity across all touchpoints
Consistency builds trust and familiarity, making it easier for people to connect with your brand at every touchpoint.
It signals professionalism, attention to detail, and a commitment to delivering on your brand promise.
When you deliver a consistent brand experience, you stand out amidst the noise, attracting and retaining customers who appreciate your unwavering commitment to quality and coherence.
So, be intentional about every element of your brand identity, and let consistency become your secret weapon in building a brand that is truly remarkable.
5. Amplifying your brand through storytelling
Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make, but about the stories you tell.
This is particularly true when branding is in question.
92% of consumers are more likely to remember a brand that tells a compelling story.
Great stories play a crucial role in brand differentiation, as they have the power to captivate and engage audiences on a deep level.
There are a lot of elements that a great story needs to have.
If I had to choose several that are the most important I would say: a hook, a hero, a sidekick, a nemesis, a conflict, and a transformation.
Stories love conflict.
Conflict is the driving force that propels narratives forward, captivating audiences and keeping them engaged. Whether it's a personal struggle, an external obstacle, or a clash of ideologies, conflict creates tension, drama, and suspense. It sparks curiosity, as audiences yearn to see how the characters navigate and overcome challenges.
Ok, so what’s more important than the conflict?
The most important part of the story is the transformation the hero experiences.
A pivotal factor in establishing deep brand-consumer connections lies in the transformative impact brands have on individuals' self-perception. When customers experience a shift in how they view themselves through brand interactions, a powerful bond is forged.
By crafting a narrative that offers customers a hero's journey they can personally identify with, brands can cultivate devoted and loyal fans. This emotional connection, rooted in shared experiences of growth and transformation, has the potential to create lifelong brand advocates, who not only engage with the brand but also champion it passionately.
"People don't buy products, they buy better versions of themselves." - Sam Ovens
So, build your story and make sure it’s a good one.