The Importance of Establishing a Unique Identity
You can likely think of some of the top brands that you have purchased products from in the past rather easily. Certain companies surely flood your brain immediately when you think of the products they sell. Why is it that these companies make such an impact on you when others might not? It all comes down to their branding strategy and what they have invested in to create a particular connection in your mind. These companies are smart and sophisticated in their approach, and they know that connecting with you on a deep level is a great way to get you to become loyal to them.
Developing a branding strategy is not something that one simply does on their own though. Instead, this is typically the result of extensive collaboration with a branding agency to develop a cohesive strategy.
Why Should You Use a Branding Agency?
The mindset of a small business owner or entrepreneur is often that they should try to go it alone and make their way in this world. It is what has gotten them as far as they are now, and, understandably, some will hesitate when they are told that they need to at least consider the benefits of contracting with a service that can provide them and their business some assistance. However, it is time to put your pride aside and understand that a branding agency is something that can greatly benefit your business. They offer numerous upsides, including:
Expertise With Every Aspect of Branding
There is nothing wrong with turning to the experts when you require assistance with a specific type of project. This is the ideal approach to tackling a problem that your business is currently confronting. TheTeam.co.uk explains:
Your branding agency's team should have cross-industry experience, having surmounted challenges in a variety of sectors – a boon when it comes to thinking laterally about your brand.
Your brand isn't an isolated entity within its industry. An agency with cross-industry experience is therefore vital for positioning your brand within a relevant marketing space.
Indeed, you should work with a team that has extensive experience dealing with every aspect of branding. They ought to offer services that can assist you with:
- Logo design
- Branding refresh services
- Brand audit services
- Brand differentiation services
- Visual identity
- and more
Each one of these unique aspects of your branding project can make or break the branding approach that you are aiming for overall. Come prepared to ask the branding agency you are considering using about their relevant experiences in these areas and anything else that might be useful in your quest to establish your brand image overall.
Virtually anyone can throw together some type of advertising, but that doesn't mean it will be good. The process of creating a strong brand that people relate to means approaching the challenge from a strategic point of view. Don't forget about the following elements when forming your branding strategy:
Understanding the reasons why your business exists and how it serves the public is a great thing to include in any branding approach. Which elements separate the product or service you offer from what your competition offers? Those are the types of things that people need to hear more about if they are going to put their trust in you and your brand.
Not every consumer makes completely rational decisions at all times. It is common for consumers to make choices based on their emotions rather than a rational calculation that considers all available information. Therefore, it is important to include emotion within your branding strategy. It helps connect your brand more intimately with your target audience.
Part of your strategy should be that you are prepared to make changes rapidly if necessary. You likely hope that everything will go swimmingly from the moment you first begin to form your branding strategy, and hopefully, that is the case, but you don't want to assume that the world will remain static for long. We live on a constantly changing and volatile planet, and it is always nice to have a branding strategy that can adapt to those changes when necessary.
All of these elements are necessary to form the kind of branding strategy that will stand the test of time. You might be capable of picturing at least some of the elements of such a strategy in your mind, but there are probably others that don't come as easily to you. Don't rely exclusively on your mental powers to come up with a brand personality, work with experts who know how to do so as well.
Branding agencies employ creative individuals because that is the specific skill set that makes branding work well. This means that hiring a branding agency allows you to tap into some of the most creative minds out there. You can bounce ideas off of each other and see what makes the most sense to you.
Today's customer is not just another person on the street that you can sell a product too. Instead, they are creative individuals who want to see their input and feedback put into action when possible. Harvard Business Review states the following about this:
Everyone likes to talk about being "customer-centric." But too often this means taking better aim with targeted campaigns. Customers today are not just consumers; they are also creators, developing content and ideas — and encountering challenges — right along with you. Creativity in marketing requires working with customers right from the start to weave their experiences with your efforts to expand your company's reach.
Branding agencies can set up a project in such a way that your customers will also have a chance to contribute to your marketing campaigns if they wish to do so. A great example of this from the real world is Coca-Cola's offer to let customers create their custom bottle labels for the drink. Fans of the brand love to see their creativity and fun go onto a bottle of their favorite soft drink, and Coca-Cola offers that to them directly. In the meantime, Coke gets a boost of free advertising from its loyal fans who show off their custom bottles.
Telling a story about your brand is a great way to help people understand what you are all about and why they should trust your brand over other options. Storytelling is an excellent way to do it.
An interesting example of storytelling that you are likely familiar with even if you don't necessarily realize it comes from Netflix. The king of streaming content created an amazing and powerful sound at the beginning of every movie or television show you watch on its platform. If you have ever used Netflix before, you can probably hear the sound in your head now. It became so popular and so connected with the brand that Netflix opted to trademark the sound in December 2021.
Those are the kind of things that you have to think about for your own brand as well. You might not have a special sound associated with your brand, but there is surely something that is unique to your specific brand. Perform a brand audit with the agency you are working for so you can discover which features are unique to your brand and would play well as a story.
What is a Brand Identity?
Simply put, one's brand identity is what customers think about and/or associate with the brand. When a company has a strong brand identity, consumers immediately associate positive feelings and emotions with the brand. Although it takes some time to develop, it is always worthwhile to create a brand identity when possible.
Is Branding Necessary to Improve Your Company?
There are many positive steps that you can choose to take to improve your company, but branding is certainly a big step in the right direction. Without branding, your products or services appear identical to your competition and the battle rests exclusively on price point. However, branding can create strong enough ties within the hearts and minds of customers to make them agree to pay a premium price for your product.
Is Branding Expensive?
Not necessarily. Branding is time-consuming. You have to be willing to plow some of your time into the process of branding, but it doesn't have to be an expensive process from a monetary point of view. Sometimes, the smallest things (such as the Netflix intro music) can become a big deal for your brand. You never know what might catch fire with the public, but you should work with a branding agency regardless to help create the branding strategy that produces outsized results for you.
Establish Your Brand By Telling Your Story
It's crucial for you to become a trusted advisor in the cannabis industry. It sounds easy, but it isn't. Some ways to to become a trusted advisor in your industry are as follows:
Tell Your Story
Telling your story and sharing WHY you are passionate about the cannabis industry, how you became involved, and how you plan to help people is important to your audience.
People appreciate authentic people that can be real. Showcasing your real personality and sharing your story of what mistakes you have made, how you have learned from your mistakes, and how you can help others in the industry be successful.
Prove your Knowledge
Prove your knowledge by volunteering to be a speaker, host webinars, and be on podcasts.
Volunteer at industry associations
Industry Associations are hungry for knowledgeable cannabis professionals that can offer advice and members can learn from experts.
Showing your expertise by writing blogs is a great way to share your knowledge and provide valuable content.
Establish Your Brand Identity Now
Every day that you let pass by without working on creating your brand identity is another day that you are missing out on a golden opportunity. Your competitors will gladly fill the void if you don't, and that can put you at a major disadvantage. You need to pair up with a brand agency that has all of the features mentioned above. That agency can begin working with you right away to create the lasting bonds that will endear your brand to your customers for the long run.