What To Do if Your Brand Is Having an Identity Crisis
Branding goes far beyond just a recognisable design and colour scheme; your brand should represent your business thoroughly, creating a personality that can resonate with your customer base. Many different factors contribute to creating a successful brand, but sometimes, individual elements can work against each other, and you can make simple mistakes.
Regardless of whether you are a new business or have been operating for decades, your brand may require a rethink now and then. This article will discuss what to do if your brand has an identity crisis, focusing on six critical steps to get through it.
The Importance of a Strong Brand
For several reasons, it would be best to recognise the importance of creating a strong, relatable brand. Global businesses spend millions developing their brand, enabling them to stay fresh in the memories of current and potential customers. A brand is more than just a logo and colours; it is your business’s entire identity.
In 2023, consumers are spoilt for choice regarding the products and services they can find online. This is why an organisation needs to work hard to stand out against the competition and give themselves the best possible chance of generating new leads and retaining existing customers.
Here are five key reasons why it is vital to develop a solid and memorable brand.
1 – Public Recognition
A clear benefit of a successful brand is creating recognition across your customer base while also sticking in the memories of potential or lapsed customers. Visual elements such as your company logo, colour scheme, website design, and use of imagery all play a crucial part, but so do your company voice and personality.
These factors combined can all play an equal role in building a positive public image, increasing the chances of people searching for your business online if they need the services you offer.
2 – Advertising
Creating brand recognition also makes it much easier to launch effective advertising campaigns. Your branding and advertising efforts go hand in hand from a marketing perspective, giving you a platform to create targeted campaigns that maintain a core message, values, and identity.
When managing your marketing and advertising budgets, you should use banking and financial services that can help you monitor your spending and plan. Always look for a business bank account that comes with features such as budgeting tools and expense monitoring.
3 – Recruitment and the Internal Business Impact
Branding goes beyond just targeting new customers; it can also be a great way to attract top talent to your business. Creating an ethical, socially responsible, and fun business identity can make your organisation lovely.
Furthermore, establishing a happy working environment and playing your part in the community can boost employees’ morale, making them proud of where they work. This may increase the likelihood of employees posting about your business on social media, sharing posts about your business, or just talking about the workplace to their friends and family.
A brand is not limited to external marketing efforts; it extends to the office, employee well-being, and the business’s daily operations.
4 – Strengthen Your Reputation and Build Trust
A brand can show the general public that your business consists of real people, offering high-quality services that put the customer first. It can give your organisation a professional image that shows you are a reputable and trustworthy operation that will deliver what it has promised.
Any business that lacks a recognisable brand or fails to portray itself in a good light is likely to see a negative trend regarding lead generation and conversions. Poor customer service, a lack of support, or inadequate service delivery can also result in negative reviews and unhappy social media posts. Many potential customers may avoid you as a result.
5 – Retain Customers
We’ve discussed generating new leads, attracting top talent, and keeping your staff happy, but what about your existing customer base? Maintaining customer loyalty and encouraging repeat business is at the forefront of any branding strategy. Developing relationships and strong connections between you and your customers are essential if you want your business to be successful in 2023.
Your brand must make your customers feel valued while ensuring the best customer experience. Encouraging interactions via your content and social media activity is also a great way to build customer loyalty while boosting engagement levels which can prove extremely valuable.
The Characteristics of a Successful Brand
There is so much that goes into creating an effective brand, with new considerations and consumer expectations requiring businesses to keep on top of the changing marketing climate. However, there will also be several factors that will always need attention if a brand is to be successful.
Your Brand Name
Choosing a brand name is a complex process, with many factors you must consider. A brand name must be simple, memorable, and easy to spell and say. You also need to check whether copyright infringements exist or if the name clashes with any terminology used by well-known organisations.
If a name is complicated or irrelevant, it can cause lasting damage that is difficult to recover.
Ensure It Targets the Correct Audience
Conducting thorough research regarding your target audience is vital when creating your brand. Depending on your business type, you will want to create an image relatable to the people who may use your services. For example, if your business is aimed at people aged 18-24, your brand should have a modern and relaxed persona.
Creating user profiles of the type of people who may be interested in your business is an excellent way to understand their interests and what makes them tick.
The brain can process images very quickly, which is why a logo is crucial to brand recognition. Many famous brands are instantly recognisable just from a glance at their logo and colour scheme, and many of the most successful logos adopt a straightforward and sleek design.
When designing a logo, you should consider how it will look across various formats, including how well it scales. From your website to print, think about how it may look when reduced to meet the dimensions dictated by social media platforms and anywhere else you may use it.
Your Brand Style
A professional, eye-catching design is crucial when constructing your brand style. Whether it is your website design or physical design touches such as your office or stores, there needs to be consistency and appeal.
Successful brands create a guidebook that is permanently adhered to when creating new marketing products, including rules you must follow. Even minor things, such as introducing unexpected colours or using the wrong typography, can disrupt your brand’s effectiveness.
In the current climate, public perception cannot be overlooked, with many consumers choosing to disregard companies that don’t have clear social or community values. Many consumers will also refuse to use businesses deemed to have little care for the environment.
Creating company values, limiting your environmental impact, and supporting worthy causes can all go a long way in gaining respect, resulting in additional trust and loyalty among your customers.
Defining a Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
Your brand’s unique value proposition helps to separate your business from the competition and show why you are the best option. When defining a UVP, a company should determine what the customer needs and what they can do to meet these needs, preferably in a way that the competition cannot.
You may have a unique skill set not provided by anyone else in the local area, or there is an unrivalled level of experience within the company that allows you to offer an expert service. A UVP is something that your competitors cannot easily replicate.
Establishing Your Position as a Thought Leader
The best way to strengthen your brand is by establishing yourself as a thought leader in the industry. Earning recognition as an authoritative and educational body can help your business gain more exposure and give you the best chance of standing out in your particular niche.
Whether you are creating compelling blog posts, standing out on social media, offering online courses, or attending live events, thought leadership can be one of the most effective weapons to propel a business to the next level.
Examples of Great Brands
When researching ideas for your winning brand, looking at established brands that continue to get things right is always helpful. Of course, all brands should be unique, but that is not to say there aren’t elements of other brands you could reinvent to work for you.
Starbucks is an excellent example of a brand with a strong focus on customer satisfaction, ethical operations, and a friendly persona. Starbucks’ green and white logo is instantly recognisable, and customers know that their stores will provide a relaxed, cosy atmosphere with excellent service. Popular with millennials, Starbucks is a trendsetter in the coffee industry, being one of the first to implement a mobile app reward system.
Ikea is another brand with a worldwide reputation, with 460 iconic blue and yellow stores dotted around the globe. Its low prices, Scandinavian efficiency, and commitment to selling sustainable products have made it a key player in the furniture and home goods market. Ikea focuses on simplicity and modern design while also knowing how to successfully appeal to an international audience.
Lastly, the European clothing brand Zara has become a household name, effectively copying high-end fashion trends and making them available to the general public at a much more affordable price. Also placing high importance on sustainability and vital customer service, Zara’s target audience is broad, appealing to different age groups and cultures.
What Is a Brand Identity Crisis?
To put it simply, a brand identity crisis is when a brand stops adhering to the core principles and values that were initially outlined. This can create confusion and even make your business appear unprofessional.
You can overlook many branding mistakes and elements to contribute to a brand identity crisis. If left alone, this can have a lasting, negative impact on your business, especially regarding marketing.
The first step is to identify whether your business is suffering from a brand identity crisis, and from there, you can take specific steps to put your brand back on track.
Spotting the Signs of a Brand Identity Crisis
Identifying a brand identity crisis early is the first step, but unfortunately, many business owners ignore the obvious warning signs and carry on as usual, sometimes causing irreparable damage. A crisis of this sort can do more than hurt revenue; it can damage the long-term reputation of your business.
You need to take immediate action if you notice signs that your brand is being ill-perceived by your target audience, whether this is negative online feedback or direct complaints to your support team. You must ensure that problems are eradicated and that a solution is offered to disgruntled customers.
Another sign is a lack of continuity or direction. This is an obvious problem if people within your organisation need help to define the overall brand goals easily. Constant communication is the key to ensuring everyone is on the same wavelength and the brand is going in the right direction.
Ultimately, your brand needs a clear focus to ensure that it is marketable and that everyone involved with your organisation, from employees to customers, is happy. If your existing customer base is dissatisfied, then how can you expect to grow it?
6 Steps To Get Through Your Brand’s Identity Crisis
If you have concluded that your brand is suffering from an identity crisis, you are already on the road to recovery. This section will outline our six steps to get through such a situation so your brand can bounce back successfully.
1 – Getting To Know Your Target Audience
As previously mentioned, it is only possible to effectively build a brand by knowing your target audience. Understanding your key demographic and how they may respond to different marketing styles would be best. You can customise your brand to meet their requirements, increasing the chances of generating new leads.
Market research is a crucial component when developing a brand, and there are many aspects to it. Four common forms of market research are consumer observations, focus groups, surveys, and interviews.
2 – Reaching Your Target Audience
Once your market research has been completed and you have a full overview of your target audience, it is time to create a plan to appeal to them. When creating or altering your brand, it is essential to consider how it will transfer to your marketing materials and overall business goals.
Every detail matters, from the colours and fonts to the tone of voice you use across your content. This brand voice is likely to differ depending on the age groups you are targeting, whether you offer a business-to-business (B2B) service, or whether your business is aimed at tech-savvy consumers. Every factor, large or small, can strengthen or weaken the credibility of your brand.
It would help if you also considered what social media platforms you use, with younger generations more commonly using Instagram or TikTok and older consumers favouring Facebook.
3 – Consistency
A lack of brand consistency can prevent you from reaching your target audience, making your overall message easier to grasp. Consistency helps to establish trust and improve recognition which is apparent when you analyse what the big brands have been doing over the years. Familiarity is vital for many people, so you should always stick to your core design principles and values.
4 – Avoid a Broad Digital Marketing Strategy
The many platforms and advertising channels open to marketers make it tempting to adopt a broad strategy that targets as many people as possible. However, this comprehensive approach can target the wrong people, potentially pushing away your crucial demographic.
When developing any digital marketing strategy, ensure you put your time and effort into campaigns that are likely to reach your target audience.
As previously mentioned, targeting social media channels that are popular with your targeted age range is always a good start. Meanwhile, your SEO efforts should focus heavily on search terms that apply to your potential customers. Creating content that focuses on a broad spectrum of keywords is usually wrong, as this strategy may bring irrelevant traffic to your website.
When researching your SEO and keyword strategy, it is recommended to pay significant attention to local SEO, targeting people in your local area who are more likely to use your services. Search engines like Google have recently emphasised local search results, providing more opportunities for smaller businesses.
5 – Rebranding as a Last Resort
A complete rebrand is usually a last resort, sometimes forced by a public incident that is almost impossible to come back from without such a decision. In some cases, a rebrand may also be required if the brand has become dated and no longer appeals to its target audience.
A rebranding is always a gamble, but by following the guidelines set out in this article and conducting thorough research, there is no reason why a rebranding exercise can’t be a success. Although, it is worth bearing in mind that not everybody welcomes change, and some of your long-time, loyal customers may take time to adjust.
Before a rebrand, you should always consider the possible alternatives and how it may revive your brand with subtle changes rather than a total overhaul.
6 – Mergers
Sometimes a rebrand may be forced by a company merger or a significant acquisition. This can often prove difficult when two different parties want to retain aspects of their current identity and implement new ideas. In a worst-case scenario, this can result in a messy hybrid with no clear direction.
There are generally three types of rebrand options as a result of a merger:
- Direct fusion: When the two companies merge, creating a combined name and aligning each other’s values and goals.
- Hybrid fusion: When the stronger brand effectively absorbs the other, keeping much of the core values of the primary brand and incorporating some of the positive elements of the secondary brand.
- Endorsed fusion: This rebrand sees both brands keep their names while the acquired business is endorsed or promoted by the stronger brand to increase its reputation.
Recovering From a Brand Identity Crisis – Conclusion
Establishing a brand is not an overnight process, nor is there a one-size fits all solution for specific industries. To create a successful brand, you must develop unique values and selling points and make an eye-catching visual design that can live long in the memory of potential buyers—the key to knowing your target audience and what drives them as consumers.
A brand identity crisis is when your current brand does not meet any of the above requirements and fails to target the correct demographic effectively. This can be caused by a brand becoming too dated, targeting too broad an audience, lacking social values, and more.
In most cases, a complete rebrand will not be required, and you can present your brand with a second chance with a few sensible tweaks and a solid plan.