By Nicole Moody
As we emerge from a world of Covid-19 enforced restrictions, we are facing an inevitably changed world.
Even within our island on an island, people are living differently, communicating differently, buying differently and ultimately thinking differently. This will undoubtably impact the way we all do business and interact with brands.
Simply put, you can’t conduct a pre-Covid business model in post-Covid times!
Findings from Accenture’s report on the impact of COVID-19 on consumer behaviour indicates that new habits formed during the crisis will endure for many years to come and permanently shape the way we do things.
Taking the time now to reassess your brand and develop a strong identity is an important step to ensure your business remains relevant and resilient while the world around us shifts.
Brand identity is the embodiment of everything your business represents and research shared through WPP shows that strong brands are more resilient during difficult times and recover faster.
As a small business owner, and communications specialist, I have been considering the importance of establishing and maintaining a strong brand identity. Here are my top five tips.
1. Develop your unique purpose
An effective brand needs a clear purpose to build and maintain a following; however, this must be reflective of how your brand authentically creates value.
Consider how your brand stands out from the crowd. What is it your brand can offer that your audience can’t obtain elsewhere?
For brands already established, particularly if you’re feeling the impacts of COVID-19 on your business, right now may be a good time to reconsider this purpose. Let’s deem it your ‘essential service’. What can you offer that your audience can’t live without?
Once developed, use this purpose to develop your brand mission statement and ensure it is clearly communicated and underpins everything you do. From the look and feel of your collateral, the people you hire, to the services you offer and the style in which you do so.
2. Consider your audience
It is important to establish who your target audience is to ensure your brand identity appeals to them. Consider factors such as age, gender, professions and interests.
Once you know this, make sure your brand personality, the tone and language used to communicate, appeals to each of these demographics.
For example, at Hunter we partner with a variety of clients from consumer to corporate, NFP to Government. We work hard to ensure the Hunter tone of voice is clear and distinctive, yet versatile enough to adapt depending on who we’re communicating with.
3. Work your best assets & get personable
Focus on existing, inherent brand personality and assets, and build this up to consolidate a meaningful identity.
Even though most businesses aren’t branding as an individual, this doesn’t mean brand image shouldn’t be personable. Use colours, styles and imagery that characterise who the brand is and what it represents, and then use this to create a clear tone of voice and method of communication.
Is the brand highbrow, or is it friendly and approachable? Is it excitable or understated? This personality should feed into all brand communications and public relations.
4. Gain insights into how your brand is perceived
Brand perception is formed by what people are thinking and saying about a brand. It is a vital aspect of establishing a strong identity and provides insights to help keep a brand offering relevant.
During this period of universal change, a smart investment may be to undertake a study of how your brand is perceived by your target audience.
Depending on the desired outcome, this can be achieved via a public or client survey, google analytics, or by analysing conversations about the brand across social media platforms and the media.
By completing this, businesses can better understand what aspects of their brand are contributing to positive or negative perception.
These findings may also reveal that a business’s view of their brand differs from their target audience’s opinion, providing tangible areas for change.
5. Be open to change
While consistency is crucial to establishing a strong brand persona, remaining flexible and adaptable is equally as important.
When assessing your brand identity and its effectiveness, be open to change. The world as we know it has changes and your brand may need to do so too in order to keep up.
Reconsider your purpose and essential services. If brand perception among consumers is not as expected, act on these findings and make changes.
These changes could be as minor as increasing engagement on social media platforms, or as major as creating a new mission statement and altering the tone of voice of your brand.
Flexibility allows for adjustments and modernisation. Humans are not stagnant, and neither should a brand be.