The modern business market has a major problem: oversaturation. Customers deal with an oversaturation of choice, an oversaturation of information, and an oversaturation of need states. In this environment, businesses must fight to earn the attention of customers.
The solution? Create an unforgettable and unique brand identity. Industry titans like Apple and Tesla don’t just skate by on their superior products, they use their brand identities to sell a lifestyle. This concept holds true whether the company sells shoes, beef jerky, or $80,000 cars.
This leads many brands to ask themselves whether or not their brand is truly unique. We will aim to address this issue by discussing brand identity, brand personality, the many ways to differentiate your brand, and much more.
Brand Identity and Brand Personality in the Modern Market
Brand identity can be thought of as anything a brand puts out into the public. The graphic design work on packaging, company logo, and social media presence are all part of brand identity.
Brand personality is a characteristic or set of characteristics which humanize a brand. Examples include competence, sincerity, luxury, toughness, and spirited.
By using traditional branding and developing a brand personality, modern companies inform their customers of who they truly are.
Strong brands like Rolex need no introduction. Rolex’s brand identity includes expensive packaging and understated graphics. Rolex’s brand personality conveys luxury, sophistication, and success.
How to Differentiate Your Brand
Continuing with the example of Rolex, let’s explore how brands differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace. A typical development of a unique brand might look something like this:
- Find your brand identity. Clearly define the intended message about your brand, whether that is sleek, modern, old-fashioned, comforting, colorful, minimalist, etc.
- Find your brand personality. Is your brand rugged, exciting, honest, reliable, or something else?
- Develop a branding strategy to convey your brand identity and brand personality. Marketing materials should never stray far from your intended message.
- Deliver a product which fulfills your brand promises. If your brand is built around excitement, the packaging should show it. If your brand is built around luxury, hiring a teenager to man the twitter page might not be a good idea.
There are no right or wrong answers here so long as you are staying true to the core message. As we will explore in greater detail below, brands do not have to differ dramatically to find their unique place in the market.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Modern Branding
The Good, Nike
We have already established that the pillars of marketing brand personality are sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, and ruggedness. Somehow Nike has managed to convey all five!
Through targeted marketing campaigns, Nike appeals to a wide range of consumers. Energetic and explosive for the younger crowd. No nonsense, high quality products for the more reserved crowd. The product has also gone a long way towards backing up the claims, with huge market shares in shoe, clothing and athletic performance industries.
The Bad, Electronic Arts (EA)
EA has been at or near the top of America’s most hated companies lists for going on a decade. The video game company has lost favor with horrendous public relations, non-existent branding, and consistent drops in product quality.
Unlike Nike, Electronic Arts relies on its IPs to sell its products. There is no brand identity to speak of…beyond being hated by the public that is.
The Ugly, Facebook
Unlike Google and Apple, Facebook has struggled to maintain its level of relevance with its core product. This is partially due to the horrendous data harvesting scandal, but it is also due to a confusing marketing effort.
Facebook has all but lost its brand personality. For an example of a more well maintained social media brand, Facebook can simply turn to one of its subsidiaries: Instagram. The social media platform is youthful, energetic, and carefree. Unlike Facebook, Instagram has conveyed and maintained a strong brand personality and identity.
Is Having a Unique Brand Important?
Having a unique brand identity and personality is vital. Here is where some of us get tripped up:
Unique brands do not necessarily stray from industry norms. To state this differently: having a distinct brand identity may be essential, but having a brand identity which is out of left field is not essential.
Let’s consider Target and Walmart. These two retail giants offer essentially the same services and products. Namely, they provide megastore inventory with additional amenities like pharmacies and photo centers.
Yet none of us would confuse the brand identity of Target for the brand identity of Walmart. Target skews toward quality at a premium while Walmart aims to offer bargain prices. Target prioritizes customer experience while Walmart…aims to offer bargain prices.
The takeaway here is that a clear marketing strategy will always distinguish a brand. Focus on developing and executing your brand message. Be true to your own voice and a unique brand personality will be sure to follow.
Develop Your Brand Identity with Clock Tower Insight
Clock Tower Insight is proud to work with a wide range of B2C and B2B industries, including retail, CPG, food service, and advertising organizations. We believe in using powerful, cutting edge research to offer brand-specific insights.
With this insight, we work with brands to turn the data into actionable information, and eventually into business growth. Our services include brand positioning, customer experience management, and much more.
Learn more about how Clock Tower Insight can help your business today.