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Defining Your Brand Identity

What does brand identity really mean? As you may know, a business is often treated as a separate entity in itself by law and in the way consumers and other people perceive it. Companies are often described with personal attributes like ‘honest’, ‘reliable’, or ‘dull’.

Your company’s brand identity is simply your own way of defining the company in the best way possible.

When you define your brand identity, you essentially define a series of human characteristics associated with your company or a product/service you offer. You get to define your business in ‘young’ and ‘stylish’ or ‘refined’ and ‘experienced’ terms, but you cannot just pick and choose any characteristic you want. It has to be in line with the industry in which you function, the way your business works, the products/services you offer and the kind of consumers you cater to. Here are some approaches to guide you through defining your brand identity.

What if your organization was a car?

The car analogy is a very popular exercise for defining your brand identity. In this approach, think of your organization as a car, and define what kind of car it would be. Get as specific as possible and define each parameter, including the year, model, make, color, type, and so on. Is it a safe, trusted and conservative car or something young and fast? Depending on the kind of car you use to define your brand, you will be able to identify at least some broad parameters for your company.

What kind of animal would your organization be?

Another great way to identify your brand’s characteristics is to think about your organization as an animal. What kind of animal would your organization be? Would it be proud and alert like an eagle? Would it be fast and smooth like a leopard? Would it be strong and aggressive like a lion? Would it be tenacious and energetic like a badger? As you can see, each animal has its own personality, and using the animal analogy will help you get closer to a personality for your business.

The archetypical approach

The approach of building a brand through archetypes consists of two dimensions: order versus change and group versus self-oriented. For instance, a business that focuses on exercising control would likely fall under the archetypes of ‘ruler’ or ‘creator’. Companies that are group-oriented and more focused on change would be ‘rebels’ or ‘magicians’. Virgin and Harley Davidson are great examples of rebels under this archetypical approach. Of course, you need to know more about the archetype model to fully understand and identify your brand character. You could learn the model yourself or consult a branding expert to help you in this.

What if your business were a person?

Think about your business as a human being and define the kind of values that would best define that person. Would the person be a male or female? How old would he or she be? What would their qualifications be? How would they dress and act in different situations? All these questions help you define your brand more closely. Remember that your brand may have some negative attributes as well, and it is normal and okay if it does. Businesses like people can’t be expected to be perfect however like in people you can look for areas to improve upon and that would be difficult if you aren’t willing to identify and embrace all of the qualities of your business. Understanding and defining who your business is will help you as you define as a business who you want to become.

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