It’s time for the big reveal on ‘Identity’, the next in our Good Foundations blog series, which is based on our marketing framework of the same name. Our experience of work as marketing managers, and the projects we have done with a wide range of service-based clients, have repeatedly shown us that there are 6 characteristics that you have to demonstrate in order for prospects to decide to work with you.

In case you are playing catch-up, we covered the first characteristic, Clarity, last week. The second is Identity and that’s the subject of today’s post.

When you are selling your services in a very competitive market (and most of us are) having a strong Identity is how you stand out in a crowd and help your prospect to select you as their chosen service provider.

It’s all about crafting a personality for your business, and making sure that the personality is boldly communicated to your audience.

Think about the brands that our nation loves, the ones that have stood the test of time, and it’s likely that you’ll get ‘feelings’ about these brands. Your personal response may be negative or positive, but the point is that just the mention of these names provokes a response, they don’t tend to leave you feeling ‘neutral’. Try out a few of these: Greggs? Easyjet? Greenpeace? Clarks? Kwikfit? Coutts? Shelter?

Chances are, that for any of those brands, you summon up some kind of mental picture and some feelings, warm, or otherwise – they aren’t without personality.

This is what you are aiming for – but don’t be overwhelmed – it takes a LONG time, to build this kind of recognition (although some brands do it quickly: Uber?).

Companies break down the representation of ‘brand personality’ by selecting ‘brand values’, or attributes that they want their audiences to associate with the company. For example, ‘Enthusiastic’ for Greggs or ‘Pioneering’ for Easyjet.

The next thing to understand, is that even though you could pick a random collection of values (or personality) that you think represent your brand, the smart move is to choose the values that overlap with the ones that your Dream Client is looking for from companies they chose to work with (go back to last week if you aren’t sure what your Dream Client would prioritise).

Once you have researched your target market and established what your ideal customers want from a service provider, you can start to mirror those values back to your audience in the form of Identity. Perhaps in the words that you chose to use to describe your business, perhaps in your strapline, perhaps in your business decisions, perhaps in the way that your brand identity has been designed. Hopefully, via all of those things.

Wondering if your business has a strong enough identity? Test yourself using The Marketing Architect Identity Checklist to find out!

1. Do you have a set of ‘brand values’ that represent the ‘personality’ of your business?

2. Do you have a Key Message Hierarchy that outlines the messages you want to convey to your audience?

3. Do you have a consistent visual identity that represents your brand?

4. Do you have a professionally designed logo for your business?

5. Do you apply this brand identity by using exactly the same fonts, colours and logo in all of your communications?

6. Can you think of three decisions you have made, about the way in which you do business, which communicate your brand values to your audience?

7. Does the tone of voice for your written content match the ‘personality of your business’?

8. Do you use the same brand identity and description for your business across all channels, (e.g, website, social media channels, brochures, etc), so that your prospects can recognise your business wherever they encounter it?

Get all these right and you’ll get a gold star for ‘Identity’. Next week we’ll be outlining the next characteristic in the series: Credibility. Make sure you don’t miss it.