Advocacy is driven by brands projecting a strong and clear identity. By being clear about what they stand for, businesses can differentiate themselves within an increasingly competitive market. Creating a defined and identifiable brand identity makes businesses more recognisable to customers and potential advocates.

According to Purely Branded, a brand’s identity ‘lives and evolves in the minds and hearts’ of its customers. Therefore identity is the fundamental essence of a brand and everything else evolves from it. The importance of brand identity can be broken down into five aspects:

1) The face of the brand

Just like people, customers recognise brands from their faces. A business’ logo acts as its ‘face’ as it is what people look at to identify it. For example Coca Cola is synonymous with the cursive, white text on a red background used on its branding.

Over 130 years old, the brand’s identity is now so strong that it is instantly recognisable. As well as looking good, the branding communicates with customers and potential advocates. The brand identity is so strong that it is behind the popular representation of Santa Claus seen today.

2) Credibility and trust

Forming a strong brand identity helps to make a brand recognisable, but also helps to gain the trust of potential customers. Creating a consistent identity gives brands credibility in their industry, which will be recognised by customers. For instance, Casper is instantly recognisable in the bedding and mattress industry thanks to trustworthy identity it has garnered.

3) Advertising impressions

Creating a strong brand identity is vital for making an impression in the industry. Successful advertising relies on making the right impression in print, online or TV. A strong and recognisable identity ensures that brands are perceived positively when they reach customers.

The streaming giant Netflix makes a strong impression in its adverts due to the bold, red ‘N’ which represents the brand’s identity. The simplicity of the symbolism, coupled with consistency in all forms of advertising, makes it a recognisable and strong brand identity.

4) The brand mission

However, brand identity is far more than emotive imagery. It goes right to the centre of what a company stands for, giving it a purpose. We all know that all brands have mission statements, right? Well, without developing values and an identity, brands cannot define their mission.

Once a brand has decided on its identity, it can then work on its mission. Paypal’s 2014 redesign defined its goal as ‘empower[ing] people to exercise…the right to participate fully in the global economy’. This would not be possible without the company’s identity of democratising and simplifying financial services.

5) Generating new customers and delighting existing ones

The preceding aspects of creating a strong brand identity enable brands to constantly delight and expand their customer base. This makes it possible to generate advocates and grow the brand. However, the brand identity must be constantly monitored and developed to facilitate continuous growth.

These five factors encapsulate the importance of building a strong brand identity. Brand identity determines a company’s perception, recognition and direction. Without these fundamental points, growth is impossible.

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Tadiwa Ndlovu

Author Tadiwa Ndlovu

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