Every company needs a strong brand identity to present themselves to their potential customers. That said, many businesses fail to clearly define the attributes, narrative, and goals of their identity, leading to missed opportunities to connect with your target audience. Others think too much about themselves or their product and fail to present a compelling message to customers. Here are some key principles to help you develop your brand’s voice to speak to people effectively.

Understand Why Your Customers Buy Products in Your Category

An effective brand identity needs to be customer-focused. That sounds obvious, but it goes beyond the idea of knowing who your target audience is demographically. You need to analyze what makes customers buy products in your category. Sometimes it’s easy. People buy cold medicine during cold season, or they buy paper towels to clean up spills. But think about electronics, sports cars, or jewelry. What are people’s motivations to buy? Aspiring to higher social status? Impressing their friends or members of the opposite sex? These conversations, and their answers, can help you build a narrative to speak to these customers’ mindsets.

Define Your Positioning Internally

Key stakeholders need to discuss and agree on components that shape their brand identity. To begin, they must identify where they stand in their category. Are you the market leader? Do you have a niche narrative where you offer a distinct difference from your competition? Or, like most, are you a challenger, needing to make a more aesthetic case for their dollars?

Build Emotional Connections with Your Messaging

Regardless of your positioning, building emotional connections with your customers is important. Market leaders must show they don’t take their loyal customers for granted. Niche businesses need to constantly remind potential customers the features and benefits that set them apart. Challengers need to create an identity that builds awareness and convinces people to purchase based on how they feel about them, rather than their products. This can be done through design, and clever writing.

Track Your Progress

Once you’ve committed to a narrative and messaging, you are in the process of presenting your identity. Like any strategy, however, you need to monitor your progress. Beyond sales and inquiries, pay close attention to what followers are saying about you on social media, and keep an eye on search engines. You want to stay the course, but always be open to tweaking elements that aren’t working.

Your brand is how people perceive your company. Craft its identity carefully and thoughtfully.