8 Steps to Developing a Brand Identity (Before it’s too late)

You realize you need to put the pedal to the metal on designing your brand personality, but you’re also smart enough to realize that what you think distinguishes your brand might not jive with the current consumer perception. Your brand’s identity is now not only in your stakeholders hands, but also in your consumers. So how do you create an identity that balances your  goals, opportunities and current brand perceptions?

Brand personality development retroactively is no easy task. There is bound to be a pre-existing conversation and already published content. So what do you do?

Here are the 8 Steps To Developing a Brand Identity:

  1. Understand that brand identity documents aren’t written in stone. They are living, breathing documents, just like we all have living, breathing personalities (well..hopefully).
  2.  Research how people view your brand. Create surveys, hold focus groups, do some one-on-one interviews with both brand advocates and neutrals. Figure out what consumers think your brand image already is.
  3.  Determine the general sentiment surrounding your brand (use a combination of social media research and market research). To do this with little budget, you can use tools like Social Mention, that give you a summary of your brand mentions across a wide variety of social networks . Here are some other brand sentiment analysis tools. A brand sentiment analysis will give you an idea of where you stand amongst your competition and it can also shed light on any areas of improvement for the company or areas to highlight when marketing.
  4.  Determine any misconceptions that exist about your brand. Do this by reviewing blog posts, setting up Google Alerts or using an outside measurement company like Radian 6 .
  5. Compromise. Take what you believe to be your brand identity and what your research tells you the public believes and come up with a sensible personality that addresses the public’s concerns and your ideals.
  6.  Develop your brand identity package including: how your brand talks (brand voice), what your brand talks about (brand niche), how your brand looks (brand imagery), how your brand approaches situations, what your brand cares about, who your brand mingles with and even the opposites of all those topics (i.e. how your brand doesn’t talk).
  7. Determine how that identity is to be interpreted through a variety of mediums (twitter, white papers, press releases, website copy, advertisements, facebook updates, questions on quora etc.)
  8. Distribute and teach to all employees.

How do you think social media changes a brand’s story or personality?

1 Comment

Filed under Branding, db&r, Social Media

One Response to 8 Steps to Developing a Brand Identity (Before it’s too late)

  1. I just finished a strategic social media class last term, and your question at the end of this post is a great one. I think it’s what all of us studying and working in advertising and branding are talking about, scratching our heads over, and asking ourselves as we fall asleep at night.

    Social media changes steps 5-8 of your post in my opinion. It forces you to nail down what the brand personality is and how it will be conveyed because that personality is no longer a static thing that gets introduced on a flash site and lives there until the company decides a few years down the road to do another overhaul. Social media forces your brand to talk constantly on multiple platforms with a mass audience without allowing any member of that audience to feel like just a part of the mass. If you don’t know who you are then there can be no authenticity in this voice or in these conversations.

    Basically, social media influences and has to be considered in every part of your step 6 and may even be the determining factor in some of those decisions about voice and image and values because in this day and age it may be where your brand is most visible and where the audience interacts with it most.

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