A Student-Run Agency's Guide to Finding Your Company's Brand Identity

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

Personality, beliefs, appearance, passions, and values. These are the attributes that make individuals individual. They define who you are, what you do, who is in your life, the decisions you make, and countless other things.

These characteristics are also what defines a brand.

Your company’s brand is encompassed by everything it produces and stands for. By defining your brand’s values, you give consumers insights into why your company was established and what directs your company’s behavior and product offerings. The visual appearance of your company’s colors, logo, social media aesthetic all give a personality to your business. This brand identity establishes trustworthiness between you and your customers and sets your business up for long-term loyal consumers that are sure to advocate on behalf of your business.

In the age where there are countless businesses, building a personality and brand identity is essential to differentiate your business from competitors. As a student-run advertising agency, we’ve had our fair share of experiences building companies’ brands. Here are a few broad steps from our business to yours.

What does your brand stand for at its core?

This is the first (and, in my opinion, the most important) element of your brand identity. Establishing what your company stands for, and determining its philosophy, beliefs, and purpose will help to define your company’s purpose. This purpose will be the foundation of your company, and every other aspect should be built upon it.

Ask yourself these questions to help refine your brand’s purpose:

  • Why did I start my business?

  • What problem is my business trying to solve that wasn’t being met previously?

  • What sets you apart from your competitors?

You’ve already established the “what” of your business, and now the answers to these questions will help find your company’s “why.” From your responses, you should develop a short and strong mission statement that will guide you when building your brand identity.

Who is your target audience really?

Determining your target audience is absolutely mandatory before establishing your brand identity.

A student-run agency like Roxo can offer a data-driven approach in identifying this audience. But if you want to get a general idea, here are some ideas of where to start:

  • Take notes of the commonalities between consumers. What are the typical ages? Occupations? Interests?

  • When do most people come into the store? Why at that time? Does this tell you anything about their lifestyle?

  • What products are most popular? Why are people buying them? What need are they fulfilling that the customer can’t find elsewhere?

  • Talk to your consumers! Learn their name and ask them how they heard about your business.

Answering these questions can give you a better understanding of your business and overall goals for targeting consumers. By observing the audience you are trying to reach, you can narrow the “who” of your business. Getting in the mindset of your consumer can help you understand their desires and habits, which can help you can tailor your business to fulfill them.

Specifying your brand identity

Now that you’ve determined the “who,” “what,” “why” of your business -- you must determine the “how.” Specifically, how can you show your target audience who your business is?

This may be the part where you want to call upon some professionals. For us at Roxo, we will pinpoint your brand identity through a branding style guide. In this guide, we create your company’s visual identity, including your company logo, color palette, tone of voice, fonts, and so much more.

This guide will allow you to establish and maintain a consistent image that consumers will recognize and associate with your business. Using this style guide, a digital advertising agency can also revamp your company’s website, social media page, and so on to align with this new brand identity. This will leave you with a distinct, well-rounded company image that is unique in the minds of your consumers.

Establishing a brand identity is a long and challenging undertaking, and significantly more complicated than this article leads on. Building a brand identity requires a lot of experience and research that creative agencies or student-run agencies can help make a lot more manageable.

But, this undertaking is well worth the investment. These values and personality help give a face to your company and allow your target audience to build a relationship and brand loyalty to your product or service. Over time, you’ll see consumers associating certain attributes with your company, and most importantly, building a long-term favorability toward your businesses’ products or services.

Emmaline Huels is a senior Strategic Communication major at Texas Christian University. She is a Project Manager for the student-run agency, Roxo, Texas Christian University’s advertising and public relations agency located in the Bob Schieffer College of Communication. In her free time, Emma enjoys being active, spending quality time with friends, and Facetiming her family back in her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.

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