Before you can come up with your brand identity you need to establish your brand’s essence first.
Brand essence refers to the core ideas that define your brand and make it unique when compared to others in the market. It typically consists of only two to three words or adjectives that best describes what you want your brand to stand for. Once you’ve found your brand essence, you can then start developing your brand identity using its core ideas as a guide.
For example, when you think of Disney, you associate it with ‘family entertainment’. When you think of Volvo, you think of ‘safety’. When you think of Nike, you think of ‘athletic performance and style’.
Developing these brands took decades and required lots of consistency throughout the years. They all stuck with the basic ideas of their brand essence to continuously develop their brand identity.
In order to define your firm’s brand essence, here are a few tips you can follow.
Make Sure It’s Unique
The benefit of having a well-defined brand essence is it makes you stand out among your competitors. When it comes to being a financial advisor, you might come up with words like ‘reliable’, ‘trustworthy’, or ‘client-focused’. But aren’t these the same things that other financial advisors also offer?
Try to innovate around these tired old ideas and come up with fresh new ways to define your firm so that people will take notice.
Is it Authentic and Sustainable?
If you’re having a hard time finding the right words to define your brand essence, you may be looking in the wrong direction. Remember that your brand essence isn’t something that you can just make up. It should already be the driving force behind how you run your business and your firm. So it shouldn’t be too hard to define what your brand stands for in a non-generic way.
Once you’ve come up with a few ideas, you should check if you can sustain it for the entire duration of your firm’s lifespan. You can change your brand identity over time, but your brand essence should remain the same unless you want to completely revamp your branding and throw away all the awareness and brand equity you’ve built up.
Does it Mean Something to Your Target Market?
Your brand essence may mean something to you, but will it resonate with your target market? Is it something that they’re looking for? Does it address their current issues and pain points?
Coming up with a brand essence shouldn’t be an exercise in vanity. You have to look at it both ways and understand what type of feelings and emotions your branding will evoke when people interact with your firm.
Use Brand Archetypes to Develop a Story for Your Brand
You can also use brand archetypes or Jungian archetypes to guide you in your journey of coming up with your firm’s brand essence. This should help you identify who you are in the market and what kind of persona you want to represent with your brand essence.