How to Use Surveys to Inform Brand Identity Development

March 23, 2018

What is Brand Identity?

A business’ brand identity is determined by how its audience perceives the products and services being offered, and the personality of the company. A brand identity can also be thought of as the face of the business. 

In order for a brand to resonate with consumers it must have a well-defined, intentionally constructed brand identity. 

Without the proper resources allocated towards developing a brand identity, businesses risk consumers not knowing who they are, what they stand for, or what products or services they sell.

Brand Identity vs. Branding

It’s important to not confuse brand identity with branding. 

In order to avoid this confusion, it’s best to think of brand identity as the byproduct of effective branding. 

Elements of branding include: 

  • A company’s name 
  • A company’s logo and font that it uses
  • A company’s primary color palette
  • Other key market differentiators 

Elements of brand identity include:

  • The visual aesthetic of the brand
  • The voice of the brand
  • The brand’s core values 
  • The brand’s personality traits

With these four elements of brand identity working together, a comprehensive look, feel, and general vibe is created. 

While it’s best to determine a brand’s identity in the early stages of the brand’s inception, measuring the effectiveness of brand identity via surveys is a rewarding strategy for businesses in all stages of growth.

Why Your Business Needs a Unique Brand Identity

Brand identities are critical to the success of any business.

Oftentimes, a brand’s personality and reputation, along with its look and feel, are the determining factors for why consumers choose a particular goods or services provider. 

By focusing resources on developing and evolving brand identity over time, a business can set themselves apart from their competition, increase customer loyalty, and establish a consistent way for connections to be made between the company, its audience, and the products or services being provided. 

Building a Brand Identity Starts with Self Reflection

Before asking your customers what they think of your brand, it’s important to ask yourself reflective questions so you can define the foundation of your brand identity. 

Below are some preliminary questions to ask yourself.

"Who is my ideal customer?"

Developing buyer personas is the first step to determining brand identity, as your brand should serve the needs of your customers. By defining various buyer personas, these needs end up surfacing.

"What pain points do my products/services solve?"

As mentioned above, once buyer personas are created the wants and needs of your customers should fall into categories. A brand identity should make it blatantly apparent that the brand will solve the pain points being experienced by customers.

"What type of personality does my brand have?"

Brand personality can be thought of as the human set of characteristics that your brand embodies. 

Brands with strong and definitive personalities often become more likeable to customers. This is because the customers are able to relate to the personality characteristics of the brand.

"What does the competitive landscape look like?"

The most effective brand identity is one that stands out from the competition. That being said, it’s a good use of time to thoroughly evaluate the competing brands in your space, and consider how your brand identity can differentiate from the identities of your competitors. 

By separating yourself from the pack by providing an identity that is new, or objectively better than your competition, consumers will be drawn to your business’ products and services.

"What feelings should my brand inspire in customers?"

How do you want your customers to feel when they interact with your brand? 

Should they feel motivated? Relieved? Energized? Relaxed? 

By determining how you want your customers to feel, you can then leverage characteristics that inspire those emotions while developing your brand identity.

"What’s my brand’s story?"

People connect with stories. Studies have long proven that by weaving information into a story, people have an easier time recalling that information in the future.

Crafting a unique and powerful narrative to tie to your brand is a great way to not only connect and resonate with your audience, but it also enables you to burrow your brand into your audience’s long-term memory. 

If your story is impactful enough, your consumers will empathize and keep you at the top of their mind. 

"What brands do I admire?"

What brands do you admire, and what do you admire about them?

By modeling your brand identity after majorly successful brands, you can customize their template to suit your own brand’s personality. 

Perhaps you appreciate how Uber has marketed themselves as not only a car service, but as a way for customers to use their time more efficiently. If this is the case, maybe you can incorporate this time-saving benefit into your own brand identity. 

"What colors will comprise my brand’s color palette?" 

A brand’s color palette often has more influence on consumers than most people think. Different colors subconsciously communicate very different messages. 

Blue, for example, communicates integrity, trust, loyalty, and intelligence, while red communicates power, strength, and passion.

There’s a plethora of psychological research investigating the impact of colors on a person’s perception. Dig into this research thoroughly before determining your brand’s official color palette.

Brand Identity Effectiveness Surveys

Whether your brand was launched a long time ago, or you are in the development stage, distributing surveys to existing customers or prospects is a valuable method for measuring the effectiveness of your brand identity. 

Below we’ve outlined some questions to include in your brand identity effectiveness surveys.

Ask for the brand name that respondents are referring to.

Your survey should start with a textbox question asking for the brand name that will be addressed in the remainder of the survey. If a respondent enters the name of a brand that you are not specifically interested in, the rest of their responses should be ignored due to irrelevancy.

Ask for the product or service that respondents are referring to.

Similarly to asking for the brand name, you should include a textbox for respondents to enter the product or service that they will be providing information about. If the product or service is not one that you are specifically interested in, the remainder of the respondents answers should be ignored.

Ask if the respondent has purchased from this brand before.

This can come in the form of a simple yes/no question type. By asking this, you’re simply gathering some knowledge as to the respondent’s existing relationship with the brand of interest.

Ask how the respondent feels about this brand.

This question should have answer options that fall on a Likert Scale, ranging from “Very Negative” to “Very Positive,” with options being provided in between. The responses to this question will provide insight into how effective the current brand identity is on evoking emotion in customers.

Determine your NPS (Net Promoter Score)

By including the question “How likely are you to recommend this brand to friend or colleague?” and providing a 1-10 answer option scale, you’ll be able to determine your NPS from the resulting data. 

NPS is a great measurement for the effectiveness of a brand identity. If you have a high NPS, it’s more than likely that your brand identity is effectively resonating with customers. If it is low, you’ll know that there is room for improvement while developing the brand identity. 

Ask respondents to list words they’d use to describe your brand

By including an open text question type, asking respondents to insert words they’d use to describe your brand, you’ll be able to see if any of the responses overlap with words you would use to describe your own brand.

If customers respond with a list of words that are entirely different in meaning from how you would ideally describe your brand, you’ll know there is a disconnect between you and your customers. You can then determine if you should adopt some of the elements being provided by respondents, or if you should simply invest more resources in doubling down on communicating the elements that you’ve failed to do so thus far. 

Now that you have a basic understanding of what brand identity is, and why it’s important to any business, it’s time to start evaluating the effectiveness of your own brand identity via surveys

Distributing brand identity effectiveness surveys will enable you to glean insights that can inform your brand identity. These insights include: 

  • How effective the brand identity is at achieving its primary objective of association 
  • Areas where improvements can be made 
  • What elements of brand identity are working well  

Ultimately, the more your brand identity resonates with your customers, the more they will purchase your goods and services, and recommend your brand to their friends and colleagues.

What strategies have you used to develop your brand identity? Have you had success with brand identity effectiveness surveys? 

If so, we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line in the comments below!

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