Brand identity is more than a logo or a catch phrase. For business owners, brand identity is a confluence of things. It is the intersection of commerce and psychology, of communication and design, of intent and reality.
In this instance, brand identity can be defined as the outward-facing value and mission a given business promotes through descriptive language, organizational tone and visual illustration. Here are 5 ways brand identity can help your business:
1. Consumer perception
Aside from their own experiences, today’s consumer has the ability to learn about an organization through digital opinions, perceptions and feedback provided by others. Brand identity has never been more important to not only promote and illustrate what the business can offer, but to also show who their employees are, what they do and how the organization as a whole impacts their communities. Without that information, organizations may unknowingly open themselves up for false or negative reputation.
Brand identity can also impact how a company is perceived in terms of employment. The steps a business takes to market their organization can also lead to showing potential employees is not always customer-facing. It should also include marketing around what it may be like to work for the company.
The value of a clearly expressed company culture speaks for itself through the referral process, one of the most popular ways to hire high-quality talent today. In fact, according to one Jobvite survey, referrals have the highest hire conversion rate. Only 7 percent of applicants are referrals, but they represent 40 percent of those actually hired. Referrals are very often the direct result of employee advocacy, workers who love the culture of where they work so much, they can’t help but share its best qualities and try to bring others into the fold. That’s strong brand identity in action.
In industries with competitive talent pools and the need for highly skilled employees, nothing compares to sought-after candidates coming to your doorstep.
2. Competitive differentiation
In a world that offers consumers many choices, differentiation is key. Brand identity gives organizations the ability to separate themselves, enabling them to target, promote and decipher their niche audience.
Given the proper promotion and strategic placement, an organization’s brand can help guide prospective customers toward their goods and services. Branding can also be a crucial component of B2B partnerships, showcasing which suppliers, for example, are relevant and reliable enough to support a multinational supply chain.
According to one study by McKinsey, businesses with clearly defined brand profiles fared significantly better in the market than those that didn’t, especially at times of economic stability.
3. Consumer recognition
A brand identity can help businesses align client expectations with actual experiences. Understanding who the company is and recognizing their brand in a sea of multiple organizations elevates awareness. This level of understanding can foster a relationship between the company and consumer, potentially leading to trust and loyalty. Trust can have a positive impact on profit. According to a study from the British Brands Group, customers of highly trusted brands are more likely to receive recommendations on behalf of their consumer base. Additionally, 1 consumer in 6 is willing to spend a premium on a brand he or she trusts instead of paying less for a competing brand.
This matters a great deal for businesses operating in industries that the public widely distrusts. A recent Harris Poll revealed that while more than one-third of U.S. adults believe health care providers “put patients over profits,” only 9 percent believe the same for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.
4. Ongoing maintenance
The menagerie of brand identities out there all exist in greater commercial and economic contexts: What do consumers want? What are they willing to pay for? What convinces them? How do they build relationships? Generally speaking, these are all questions business leaders should ask. More importantly, they should ensure their answers to these questions actually reflect the prevailing zeitgeist.
In that sense, the establishment and maintenance of a clear brand identity is a commitment to studying all the market factors that might shift or alter that identity. Branding becomes the dipstick by which businesses check their own operational health. If an identity makes sense in the broader industry environment, it likely indicates prosperity for the company that owns it. If not, then it may be time for that business to reassess where it stands in its industry and how it fell out of grace, so to speak.
Working professionals interested in expanding their knowledge of branding and brand identities should consider enrolling in a full-time or part-time online MBA program, particularly one with a concentration in marketing. At Maryville University, graduate-level marketing majors can take classes in the following subjects:
- Consumer Behavior
- Social Networking and Search Engine Optimization
- Integrated Marketing Communications
For more information on Maryville U’s online MBA program, visit our website.
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McKinsey & Company – The three Cs of customer satisfaction: Consistency, consistency, consistency
LinkedIn – Here is Why Employee Referrals are the Best Way to Hire
British Brands Group – Consumer Trust in Brands
Forbes – Study Results: The Top 20 Companies For MBA Marketing Students
McKinsey & Company – The brand is back: Staying relevant in an accelerating age
Brandisty – The Difference Between a Brand and a Brand Identity