Differentiation and the ability to connect and charge more...
These are the main reasons for branding. But where do you begin? In my experience, most entrepreneurs like to begin with their name, logo, and maybe a tagline. While these are the “fun” tasks of branding, they aren’t the most important. Rather, establish your brand identity first. Done well, you’re on your way to achieving brand equity – the value of your brand in the eyes of your consumers. Only then are you able to achieve your business goals whether that be to increase awareness, recall, image, market share, or revenue.
So, what is brand identity? Yes, it’s the visual components of your brand like logo, color palette, fonts, and packaging; but it’s also the what and how you communicate your brand’s positioning. The “what” should convey your core values and the “how” should make your customers feel emotionally connected. All of these elements must be delivered in such a way that the customer journey creates a strong brand image – how consumers perceive your brand based on their experiences and associations. (FYI, we’ll cover brand image in our next blog post!)
So, how do you develop a strong brand identity? You must determine each of the following:
- Core values
Let’s apply these to the Fenty Beauty brand!
Core values reflect what your brand stands for, it’s the guiding beliefs that your company follows. According to the Branding Journal, they must be honest and implemented throughout every part of your brand strategy- from building your identity to delivering your marketing mix to improving the customer experience to enhancing your brand image. For example, Fenty’s core values are simple – “Exclude no one”.
What adjectives or personality traits resonate with your brand? Is it competent, trustworthy, safe, rugged, friendly? Or something else? Decide how you want to be perceived by your audience (i.e., customers and all stakeholders), and then make it appealing to them through visuals and written communication.
For example, Fenty’s brand personality is portrayed as inclusive, daring, and fun, which is evident throughout their digital media. In fact, their “Beauty for All” campaign illustrates their personality, further solidifying their identity and allowing consumers to connect on a deeper level.
Your brand tone is your voice or how you choose to communicate with your audience. Think about your choice of words, your communication style like humor, and emotions you want to elicit. It’s what you say and how you say it!
HubSpot says that Fenty Beauty’s tone is “bold, direct, and poetic”. Language like ‘transfixed by her mother's lipstick’ and ‘her weapon of choice for self-expression’ are descriptive examples that align with their voice. However, their tone is also “undeniably casual, the way you might talk to your best friend.” A positive tone cuts through all the clutter, making the brand memorable and relatable.
A brand promise is what you’re promising to the customer every time they purchase your product or service. It’s something that remains constant as your brand grows. The more you follow through with what you say you’re going to do, the more valuable and trustworthy your brand is to your customers. This can be shown through the products you sell or how you convey your message through your social media, even your tagline. A classic example is Nike: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world”, which extends beyond their tagline “Just do it”.
"Makeup is there for you to play with. It’s there for you to have fun with. It should never feel like pressure, and it should never feel like a uniform.”
Now is the time to build or rebuild your brand identity by selecting your core values and developing your personality, tone, and promise. These components not only make up the foundation of your business but are critical for future growth. What’s more, they are fully controlled by you! When crafted to match your target audience and when communicated across all customer touch points, strong brand identities reap brand loyalty, personal growth, brand awareness or recall, and revenue. So get to it, and ensure your audience understands what you stand for and chooses you over your competitors!
Stay tuned for our next post on brand image!