“In Penny Lane there is a barber showing photographs
Of every head he’s had the pleasure to have known..”
Those lyrics are immediately recognizable. So recognizable, in fact, that I can hear the music as I type them.
Talk about some powerful brand identity right there.
But what made the Beatles so much more successful than other bands during that time?
No-one can really put their finger on exactly what caused Beatlemania, I mean girls were peeing in their pants over these guys ffs.
Which is kind of weird.
Actually… it’s really weird.
I don’t have the ultra-super-secret formula for creating a make-your-audience-pee-their-pants-over-your-brand effect, but I can share with you the 21 questions you need to ask yourself to develop a powerful brand identity.
By the end of this post, you’ll know what brand identity is and how to develop the 4 essential parts you need to make a powerful impact.
So grab a notebook, and let’s get this started!
What is Brand Identity?
Brand identity is more than just colors, fonts and logos. It’s the body and the soul of the entire brand.
Your brand identity is both the outward appearance and the deeper purpose and personality of your brand. It’s your voice and how you communicate with your audience.
Think of it like this:
The logo, fonts, color scheme, images and style is the body.
The writing style, marketing language (copy), purpose, and communication is the soul.
It’s important to start building your brand from the inside out so the design, logos, graphics and even your personal branding photography truly reflect what you’re saying and representing.
You don’t want a “mid-life” brand identity crisis to happen down the road, so it’s crucial to get to the guts of your brand now.
Your colors and fonts are a visual representation of the experience you give your audience every time they read your blog post, watch your video, or listen to your podcast.
The experience is the important part and something you should keep in mind throughout this process and every time you do anything to communicate with your audience.
So, using the Beatles as an example, think of their lyrics and the way they communicated with people, their styles and tone, as their brand personality and identity. Sure, their hairstyles were such a distinguishing feature that it was like wearing a logo attached to their heads, but that still took a backseat to the music and lyrics that everyone wanted to hear.
I’m going to show you step-by-step how to develop your brand identity through a series of questions.
This is perfect for those wanting to tweak their current brand, or if you’re just starting out and building your brand from the very beginning.
You have to develop the reason your brand exists first.
Step 1: Write your mission and purpose
Successful businesses are driven by a bigger purpose. They have a clear reason for why they do what they do. It makes them stand out.
And here’s the best part about this…
They don’t even have to have the best product to be the most successful. They just have more meaning behind their brand than the competition. They are more clear about the reason their business exists.
So step 1 is to write down your mission and purpose. It doesn’t have to be a super unique reason, it just needs to be a reason that you are passionate about.
This is the most important step out of all of them because this is creating your “why” and you’re going to build everything else off of your “why.”
Here are some questions to answer to get your gears going:
1. Why are you starting your business, blog, youtube, podcast etc?
2. How is this going to impact your life?
3. How can you impact others with your business?
4. What are 5 things you strongly believe in and ways you can show that through your work?
It’s so important to remember your “why” and that is what’s going to give you your unique edge.
Step 2: Decide who your audience is
Figuring out your target audience is another crucial step in building your brand identity. It makes everything so much easier when you have a clear picture of who you’re communicating to.
Here’s some questions to help you design your ideal target audience. When you answer these questions, answer them like it’s just one particular person.
Even if you feel like some of these questions aren’t important, trust me, they are! Knowing your ideal target audience like they’re your best friend makes everything else SO MUCH EASIER.
5. How old are they?
6. What are their hobbies?
7. What kind of music do they listen to?
8. What is one major problem they need to solve?
9. What keeps them up at night?
10. What’s their favorite tv show?
11. What does their daily routine look like?
Set a timer and continuously write through these questions for at least 15 minutes.
Any time you sit down to make an opt-in magnet, pitch a sale, make a video, or write a blog post, picture this person and imagine you are talking directly with them. How can you solve their problem?
This is going to draw in the audience that is right for you, and it’s going to make them feel like you are talking directly to them. It’s a win-win and will really give your brand your own personal touch.
Step 3: Give your brand personality
It’s important to remember that you’re not writing a college paper every time you write a blog post or pitch a product.
Most of us speak day-to-day pretty casually so i’m going to go ahead and assume this applies to you too. Casual tones and short sentences is the way to go when it comes to grabbing attention and keeping it.
Remember, people have poor attention spans and you are writing to skimmers.
So how do you write in a way that sounds like you?
Here’s some questions to help:
12. What are your quirks? Favorites things (even if they are random)?
13. What are your catch-phrases?
14. What is your theme song?
15. Is your tone more bubbly or cynical?
16. Do you take things seriously or are you more laid back?
16. Do you talk like a know-it-all? (not a bad thing in the blogging world, people love authority, so OWN IT).
17. What part of yourself annoys you and how can you use that to your advantage?
18. What gets you angry or fired up in excitement that you can’t stop talking about it?
Remember, the things you don’t like about yourself is exactly what your ideal audience will love! If they don’t, they aren’t your audience so say good riddance and keep doing you. (I’m talking about blatant trolling on your personality, not constructive criticism).
you may also like: 7 free resources to make you write better headlines
One method that can really help is using text-to-talk. Google Docs has that feature and it’s a pretty good one. Don’t worry about how something sounds. Just get your ideas down and edit later.
Another thing that REALLY helps (probably the most) is writing in batches.
You know how sometimes you get in that zone where you can easily talk to people, you have witty comebacks, and you’re firing jokes left and right and you think “oh man, am I on fire, or what?!” Those are the moments when your personality really shines and you feel comfortable and confident.
THAT is when you need to write.
There are a lot of times I don’t convey my personality in my writing and I get writer’s block. Some days i can be funny and witty and come up with cute analogies (my favorite way to add humor in my writing. I can’t help it, I’m a huge Family Guy fan.)
So when I get struck with some massive inspirational thunderbolt, I write as much as I can and I ONLY focus on writing during that time.
That’s when I find myself writing in my most authentic voice.
Step 4: develop your story
Ahhhh stories, stories and more stories! That is the buzz these days. People love stories and it really gets them connected to you.
Not to mention it deepens your brand personality.
The more connection you have with your audience means the easier it is to sell your product or service. They need to feel like they can trust you if they’re going to give you money.
This takes us back to the first step in a way because it reminds your audience of your “why.”
People buy the why. Not the what.
Your mission and purpose is about how your “why” makes an impact on your audience, so now let’s figure out…
Your brand’s origin story.
Everyone loves a good origin story.
There are 4 main parts that need to be included in your story.
19. The beginning -What is the current situation or what’s considered “the norm” aka the status quo?
20. The middle – What is the problem to solve, emotional struggle, or adversity? Be transparency about shortcomings.
21. The end – What is the solution to the problem, the turning point, and the transformation?
Tie the “ending” to your story with the excitement over the success of your product or service to make it the beginning of your audience’s story.
Here’s some ideas to spark your creativity so you can come up with your own brand origin story.
- Childhood memories that ignited your passion
- A difficult situation or continuous struggle that inspired you to solve a problem
- An “aha!” moment that gave you momentum
Once you craft your story, it’s a good idea to come up with a super short version you can sum up in about 3-5 sentences as well as a longer one with all the details.
Get out your journal and start writing down anything and everything you can think of that you can put in your story. Once you get down your ideas, start to refine it so it has a clear beginning, middle and end. Don’t forget to tie in your ending to your audience’s beginning to get them amped up about your offer.
put it all together
Now, maybe your brand doesn’t make girls pee all over themselves, but you can make people excited to hear from you.
Use your unique voice and personality to communicate with your audience consistently across your blog and any other platform you market yourself.
How can you refine your About page to better convey your brand identity? Same goes for any social media posts, blog posts, or email campaigns.
Which part of your brand identity needs the most work? Leave me a comment and let me know!
Until next time,