Brand and Identity

The challenges of brand and identity.  Ktllc received a new account where the client was a law firm specializing in intellectual property.  When we sat down with the customer they insisted on having the home page read, “Trademarks, Patents, and Copyright.”  We stated that this is what they do but asked what were they?  I.e., how do they want to be “known” and under what name?

Once understood, the website home page read: “Intellectual Property Law Firm” followed by “Trademarks, Patents, and Copyrights.”  The customer realized that people had to first understand what they were visiting and could then navigate their service pages: Trademarks, Patents, and Copyright.

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Why do I even need a brand identity?

[taq]“If your definition of brand identity means ‘lowest price', you are setting yourself up for serious competition and maybe even an early exit.”[/taq]

It may seem obvious but pin pointing your business identity correctly is the foundation from which everything else will build on.  You can then begin the (actually) easier work of branding.  Why?  Because branding is nothing more than getting you past “Who are you?” syndrome.

Too many businesses mistakenly focus on advertising the brand “name” without realizing that their identity is the brand.  Its just a matter of defining it and letting customer consideration nurture it for you.  For example, driving past your local retail center you'll see that the signage says LAUNDRY instead of say, Mavel's Washing Laundromat Service.  It may say that on the door, but not on the signage.  And that is because the identity, the what, is laundry.  If Mavel focuses on service control and a quality service experience, people will start referring to it as Mavel's despite the huge identity sign out front.  We shop at Best Buy, not ELECTRONICS store for a reason.  The identity is that Best Buy is electronics.  The brand is Best Buy.

If the identity is lowest price as in the case of Wal-Mart, then be prepared to have the infrastructure to support it!  Your identity will help you cement yourself in your niche, and as the business blossoms, you can use a part of that revenue to support your value proposition and not give it away — turning your service or product into a cheap commodity — remembering  that [taq]“people love bargains, not cheap things.”[/taq]

Media Promotions by Identity not Brand

A local radio station created a marketing campaign around its annual pledge drive.  To sell its promotional spots, they ran radio spots, making sure to say “brand awareness” enough times because they know that this is what small business owners perceive to be what they are supposed to be selling:

“…take part in our annual pledge drive to increase the brand awareness your business needs…”

While this generated profitable event booth sales for the radio station, it was a loss in net advertising dollars for the small business advertisers (unfocused audience, zero relationship etc.)

Why You Need a Brand Not Just a Logo has a great transliteration of what a brand is as it states, [taq]“Brilliant branding takes courage because it is something that is constantly being formed by the public's perception.”[/taq]  They go on further to say, [taq]”Although a designer lays the foundation of a brand visually, the brand's audience is what truly shapes it.”[/taq]  We like these guys because we have been saying this for a long time.

So let branding be nothing more than your customers consideration of what you are doing right.  It will form itself.  But for this to happen you must have a defined, concrete, and solid identity.

We personally can't stand statements like “Stay true to your brand.”  What?  You mean stay true to your identity.

In the example to the right, our customer is a roofing and general contractor.  Their old business card did not reflect that brand identity as seen in the quality of their work and their approach in their trade.  The new logo and brand identity set the stage that they were NOT lowest price, or, just another contractor commodity.  They build matching roofing systems that last decades because of the workmanship and warranties.  And that is the identity they are gaining traction on and the name “CCD” is becoming synonymous with roofing contractor in their market.

Brand and Identity: The First Act of Setup

At the start of Setup service as provided by Ktllc, brand and identity are first, and everything else will stem from that.  It will make selling and relating to the name and business easier over time and even cost less to market (eventually reaching a point where retention marketing is holding up the entire business) at a fraction of what competitors spend.

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