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Your brand can be whatever you want it to be, but one of the biggest mistakes businesses make in inbound marketing (and marketing in general) is not sticking to their brand identity.
A brand identity is your brand's outward expression; it's name, logo, communications. It is how your brand wants to be perceived by the public.
Without even knowing it, many fall into a "Brand Identity Crisis", not staying true to what they've established as their brand. At Impact, we strive to make sure our clients take the proper steps to avoid this type of brand confusion.
Is your brand's behavior a little out of the ordinary? Is your logo feeling a little like this?:
Video Produced by: HappyCreators.ca
If you're not sure if you're experiencing a brand identity crisis, ask yourself these 3 questions.
How to Know if You're Having a Brand Identity Crisis
1. Do You Know Your Value Proposition?
One easily avoidable mistake is not knowing your value proposition. Before engaging in inbound marketing your brand needs to define its purpose and know what they are offering. What can your consumer expect from you? What are you putting on the market? Try to summarize what it is that you do in one sentence that is clear and concise and then prove it.
Once you have your value proposition intact, you can better develop relevant content. Relevant content instills your expertise to your audience rather than sending mixed messages -- a common symptom of a brand identity crisis.
2. Do You Know Your Audience?
If the answer is no, then "you've got some 'xplaining to do!" Unless you're a global brand like Coke or McDonald's, it is unlikely that you are marketing to everyone. As a small business or brand, it is important that you know who your ideal prospects are so that you can reach them. If your ideal prospect turns out to be a 50-year old finance executive and you're dropping '"LOLs" or stating you're "not about that life..." in your blog posts, something is clearly amuck.
A main goal of inbound marketing is to attract viable leads and turn them into consumers, but in order to do this you need to narrow down who it is that you are trying to attract.
All of these pitfalls can be avoided with a well-defined buyer persona. According to HubSpot, to develop an effective Buyer Persona, ask the following questions regarding your target audience:
- What are their demographics?
- What is their job and level of seniority?
- What does a day in their life look like?
- What are their pain points?
- What do they value most?
- Where do they go for their information?
- What experience are they looking for when shopping for a product?
- What are their most common objections to your product/service?
- How do I identify this persona?
Answer these questions and you will be able to more successfully communicate and reach your target audience in way they will actually respond to.
Are You Consistent?
The key in avoiding a brand identity crisis is consistency. As mentioned above, you need to know your value proposition and brand identity so that you can stick to them like glue! To avoid confusion, there are several little things that you should keep consistent throughout your content, social media, press, and beyond. Make sure to pay close attention to:
- Your Tone and "Voice" - Use language that your audience is familiar with. You want your content, whether it is visual or written, to "speak" to your target audience.
- Fonts, Colors, and Other Design Elements - Be visually uniform. Not only is this more aesthetically pleasing, but it also helps your audience identify you. Just like when you think Dunkin Donuts, you think orange and magenta, you want certain images to come to mind when your name is brought up.
- Messaging - As HubSpot would say, "How do you message your core products and services? What's the value proposition you assert?"
- Positioning - Just like in politics, it's better not to flip flop. Know where your brand stands on industry issues and its values in doing business.
The bottom line is know who you are. Once you know what it is you are trying to do and what you stand for your brand can exude it in everything it does.