Who Do You Think You Are?
And Why Should Anyone Care?
“So, what do you do?”
As copywriters, this can sometimes be tricky to answer.
“Effectively, we write stuff for other people.” This used to be my first answer. A bad answer, it turns out.
A good answer is one that sums you up in a sentence or two. To achieve this, you need to truly understand your brand identity. You need to recite as if you are counting to ten. It needs to be an automatic and clear response, as natural and straightforward as making your morning cup of tea.
So, what do you do?
If an immediate answer is difficult, it might be worth taking some time to figure it out.
An identity is essentially the personality to a business, and it’s paramount to its success. Website content, social media presence and general PR all contribute to sending key messages to the public about what you as a brand represents. A company is given a tone, a 3D element, a face.
With every piece of information a consumer relates to your brand, an accumulation of ideas begins to build. If they are positive associations, that has a direct impact on consumer buying behaviour. A solid brand identity conveys stability and assurance, making you memorable and keeping you in the customer’s mind.
When you think of hugely successful companies, such as eBay, Nike, Olympics, WWF or Disney, they all instil a cemented impression. You immediately understand who they are and what they stand for, without having to jump through too many hoops to get there.
So how did they do it?
To crystallise your identity, there are three questions to ask:
What is the purpose of your business?
Once you have established your long-term goals, your target audience, and your ideal customer, you can then use this information to create your image. How you want to be seen will be dependent on who you want to see you.
What values are central to your business?
Are you a company focussed on sustainability? On using local resources? Maybe your business is primarily concerned with safety, or health and fitness? Advertising your values makes your business relatable to consumers, and begins a relationship based on a common ground which they can trust.
What personality is most associated with your business?
Maybe you’re a fun business like Innocent, with bright colours and cheery animations. Or perhaps you’re sleek and stylish like Apple. Again, giving a personality to your brand creates a stronger impression. A personality behind the logo, a face to the faceless corporation.
Once you’ve answered these three questions, you need to tell the world. Let your purpose, values, and personality shine through every part of your published content.
Here’s where content marketing comes in
Marketed content should always reflect your identity. From reading your blog posts, investigating your social media channels, and browsing your website pages, consumers must get an instant feel for who you are. The job is then half done. Once a consumer understands your character, you become far more relatable. This is crucial for a successful business, as emotional connotations can often override other decision leading processes.
A good example is a marketing campaign delivered by Pepsi in 1983. Pepsi asked members of the public who claimed to prefer Coke to blind taste both soft drinks. The public chose their favourite of the two, and the advert ended with the big reveal that they had chosen Pepsi. It was hugely successful. Unfortunately for Pepsi though, it is more of a testament to the strength of Coke’s identity. Consumers assumed they preferred it even before tasting, due to the work that the brand had put in to building its identity. They were so successful in designing an impression of themselves through content marketing, customers were primed to prefer it before tasting.
It can be difficult to recognise when you’re struggling to assert your identity. When you’re so involved in a project, it becomes part of you. You know it so well, it’s easy to forget that others don’t, and may be having trouble interpreting it your message.
Help them. Establish your identity and market it. People buy into a brand before a product or service. Carve yourself a section of the market and allow for customers to begin that relationship based on the impression you have created.
Written by: Nancy Wilkinson