Updated: Oct 16
What is your brand identity? How can you tell if it's successful? Learn how to answer these 10 brand identity questions and kickstart your content strategy.
How well do you know your brand? If I asked you 10 simple brand identity questions about how customers perceive your brand image, design and message, could you answer them?
What if I told you that the answers to those 10 questions would increase the average lifetime revenue you gain from every customer by 10%? (They do.)
By the end of this article, you'll have 4 valuable branding tools in your arsenal:
A clear understanding of what brand identity is;
A simple way to define your branding goals;
The 6 keys to effective brand strategy; and
The 10 questions that will launch your business into public recognition.
Your brand is more than a name, a logo and the product or service you offer. It's a personality and a promise you make to every person your message reaches.
Define who and what your brand is, and you'll develop a strong brand identity that increases customer loyalty, brand recognition and perceived value.
Before we jump into the brand identity questionnaire that's going to boost your content strategy, there's one simple question we have to answer: what is brand identity, anyway?
Already working on your brand identity and looking for some expert feedback? Let’s have a free conversation about your content strategy.
What is Brand Identity?
Brand identity refers to every visible element of your brand. Most people think of brand identity as the logo, color scheme, font and design of a company — but it's much more than that.
Brand identity also includes most of your content marketing strategy — your taglines, branded content, articles, website copy, social media copy, and audio and visual marketing pieces. The way you speak about your brand is every bit as important to brand identity as the way your brand looks.
79% of customers say user-generated content highly impacts their purchasing decisions (Stackla). Digital consumers care as much about what you say as how you look — that makes your content marketing strategy a key part of your overall brand identity.
“The way a company brands itself is everything,” says Sir Richard Branson. “It will ultimately decide whether a business survives.”
The 3 Goals of Brand Identity
There are 3 primary goals of brand identity:
To raise brand awareness and heighten brand recognition;
To create an emotional connection with your ideal customer; and
To develop customer loyalty through a sense of increased brand value.
Awareness. Connection. Loyalty. These 3 brand identity goals tie directly to each aspect of your sales funnel.
Awareness generates new leads and brings them to your brand. Connection nurtures those leads and offers them a reason to become potential customers. Loyalty turns those first-time customers into long-term clients and fans of your brand.
Hopefully, each new customer journey will span years — the longer it lasts, your business stands to make more money. Marq reports that 2/3rds of businesses say consistent branding has increased their revenue by 10% or more.
So how do you develop a consistent brand identity? I use six simple “P” words to outline a successful branding strategy.
What Are the 6 P's of Brand Identity?
The 6 P's of brand identity are:
Perspective. How does your brand voice differ from your competitors? What do you have to offer, and what makes that offer stand out from the pack? Why are you different from the “brand next door”?
People. This encompasses your ideal client and target market. Who are the people you aim to serve? Know your people, learn what they want from you, and deliver it to them with quality and passion.
Promise. What does your brand promise its customers? A brand promise is the value or experience that your company makes to its leads, followers and customers. Make sure it's a promise you can keep with every customer interaction — keeping your word is crucial to cultivating brand loyalty and value.
Personality. How do you talk to your target audience? What does your brand voice sound like? Are you casual or authoritative? Serious or tongue-in-cheek? Solid market research into your core consumer base helps inform your brand personality — ultimately, it will also inform the kind of people you hire.
Positioning. Where does your brand stand in its industry? What is your stated competitive advantage? Are you building your position around price, quality, social awareness, or another trait?
Presentation. A strong brand identity has instantly recognizable presentation traits. The Nike “Swoosh”. The Google font and color scheme. From logo design to tagline to typeface, how does your brand present itself?
The 6 P’s of brand identity flow from one to the next in logical order. Think of them like a good GPS — they create a simplified set of directions to your brand strategy destination.
Identify your unique perspective, and you’ll know the people you can best serve.
Understand those ideal customers, and you’ll know the promises they crave from your brand.
Make your brand promise, then build your personality around that commitment to your audience.
Create content infused with your brand personality, and you’ll naturally position yourself in a unique niche within your industry.
Identify advantages you gain from that position to determine the best way to present your brand to the masses.
Use the 6 P’s of brand identity as a starting point in your content creation and overall marketing strategy.
Now that you understand what brand identity is and how to clarify what it means to your business, it’s time to dive into our brand identity questionnaire!
Want to skip the Q&A and get right to some brand strategy solutions? Click here to schedule a free conversation with me!
10 Important Brand Identity Questions You Must Be Able to Answer
I use this branding questionnaire every time I meet a new content marketing client — whether I present it directly or use our initial consultation to complete it myself. It helps me understand their core identity, which allows me to effectively serve their overall brand strategy.
Take some time to answer these 10 questions — share them with your team as you evaluate your existing brand strategy (or create a brand new one!). They're the backbone of a solid brand identity that will serve your business for years to come.
1. Why Does Your Brand Wake Up in the Morning?
You know what drives you to get out of bed every day. But why does your brand wake up in the morning?
You can't answer any other branding questions without figuring out your brand's purpose and what drives it forward.
The answer is deeper than simply “making money”. 8-year-olds can sell lemonade on their front lawns and make money. Heck, even they have a branding strategy — to make people happy on a hot summer day.
Address this question with the first “P” of brand identity in mind — perspective. If this is your personal brand, think about why you started it. How did you hope to serve people? What can you provide to customers, and how do you provide it in a way that's unique to you?
If you came to work for this brand, what excited you about the opportunity? What part of the brand message spoke to you, and how can you share that with your target audience?
Speaking of that target audience…
2. Is Your Target Customer Really Your Target Customer?
Content marketing isn’t about the audience you want. It’s about the audience that wants you.
Take a long, hard look at your current target customer profile — especially if your sales and lead conversions are sluggish. Are you properly identifying the people who really stand to benefit from your brand? Or are you suffering from a case of target audience bias?
A lot of branding strategy articles tell you to emulate the brands you admire. I respectfully reject this idea. The easiest way to lose track of your brand identity is to draw too heavily from someone else's.
So many businesses lose track of who they are by chasing other people's successful marketing campaigns. Invest less time in studying other brands, and more time studying the habits and personalities of your active customers.
Do demographic research. Ask customers for feedback and reviews. Listen to them actively. Find out why they love you — then identify other people who will love you for the same reasons. That's your real target audience.
3. What Question Do You Help Customers Answer?
Now that you've identified your ideal customer, put yourself in their place. You know what they purchase from your business. But do you know why?
Learn why your customers are drawn to your brand — not your products, not your services. You.
I had a wonderful client conversation about this topic about a year ago that led to a real breakthrough in our content marketing strategy. She couldn't get past thinking about her company in terms of its coffee.
“My repeat customers come back because I only sell the best quality,” she kept saying.
“Yes,” I replied, “but what does that say about your brand?”
“…It says that I sell the best quality,” she would repeat. After a few cycles of this back-and-forth, I realized I was asking the wrong question.
“Okay,” I said. “Why do you only sell the best quality?”
She stopped and thought.
“I mean, I could make more money if I sold mid-range coffee,” she said. “And most people couldn't taste the difference.”
“So why don't you do that?” I asked. She paused, for a while this time.
“I couldn't serve anyone something I wouldn't serve my parents," she finally said.
Boom. We had the answer to our “customer's question” — and a fascinating opener for her brand story.
4. What is Your Brand Story?
A brand story is a short, emotionally-driven narrative that explains 3 key things about your business:
The problem that your brand is going to solve;
How you will solve that problem; and
Why this is important to the person reading your story.
These 3 components of a good brand story sound a lot like the 3 goals of brand identity — and that's not a coincidence. A brand story is a company's single best piece of content strategy for establishing brand awareness, emotional connection and customer loyalty.
I'll sing the praises of Warby Parker's story forever. (I wrote an entire article for Medium about it.) In one concise page of text, they communicate 4 powerful things to potential leads:
You have a problem buying quality, comfortable glasses. We had the same problem, so we solved it for everyone.
Here's the simple solution we created, why it works, and how it's helped other people like you.
We provide each buyer a customized version of our product at an affordable price.
Your needs will always be important and personal to us.
Use a powerful story to create a positive brand perception with your target market. As you do so, you'll begin to learn what your brand voice sounds like.
5. Does Your Brand Sound Like Your Target Customer?
Your brand voice is the consistent, distinct personality your brand uses across all forms of communication and customer interaction.
An effective voice resonates with the audience your brand serves. There's a psychological connection between a recognizable tone of voice and social behavior — the NIH reports that an attractive voice leads to stronger social cooperation and connection.
Voice attraction psychology drives strong brand loyalty. The more your brand sounds like its target audience, the more emotionally connected to you they'll feel. It's a core reason why consistent branding increases long-term sales relationships.
So what do your customers resonate with? Do they crave authority, or a casual conversation? Are they looking for a serious tone, or something funnier or off-the-cuff? Don't just write for your consumers — think about how you're delivering your message.
Want to read more about creating a successful brand voice? Click here to master your voice, tone and personality.
6. How Do Customers Feel When They Interact With Your Brand?
“A brand is a voice, and a product is a souvenir,” says Lisa Ganksy.
What a brilliant way to think about brand identity. What you sell, offer or provide is just a memento for your customers to hold temporarily. Their perception of who you are is what they'll hold forever.
Much like your brand's tone of voice, brand perception drives a customer's feelings towards your business. How do you want someone to feel when they walk into your place of business, consume your content, and speak to your staff?
Find ways to streamline the emotional experience of customers across all these channels. If you've curated a peaceful storefront that inspires relaxation, that's how your marketing pieces and customer service staff should express themselves as well.
7. Does Your Brand Message Connect With Leads and Active Customers?
Business owners spend a great deal of time generating and nurturing new leads. But take care not to ignore your current customers in the process!
Good marketing strategy involves branded content that speaks to new faces and loyal customers with equal time and attention. For every piece of lead generation copy you create in a branding project, deliver one that cares for your existing buyers.
8. What Colors, Fonts and Visuals Best Represent Your Brand Personality?
Color strategy plays a pivotal role in brand image. Did you know most fast food chains use red and yellow in their logo design because those colors create an enhanced appetite in humans?
Find colors that reflect the personality of your business. Do you prefer a sturdy blue, flashy and attractive red, or a vibrant, intriguing purple?
Font choice also plays a vital role in visual strategy. Serif fonts indicate authority, professionalism and long-standing businesses — think the New York Times, Rolex, and Tiffany & Co.
Sans serif fonts are modern, sleek and slim. They indicate efficiency, structure and practicality — think Intel, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
I chose to associate Perk Copywriting with the color green. Green symbolizes freshness, balance, innovation and creativity — 4 traits I use to define my work and my service offerings. I prefer sans serif fonts for their modern, friendly and approachable nature.
I use a simple wordmark as my logo because — well, my entire job is using clean, effective words to deliver a highly visible impact.
Combine a great graphic designer and content marketing expert for an optimized visual branding strategy.
9. Does Your Brand Image Reflect How Customers Truly See You?
Before we move on to the final question, let's stop to make sure our refreshed brand strategy is consistent. Does the way you visually represent your brand match the way people think about it?
Example: You love the flashy pink logo, sans serif font family, and casual tone of voice that's in development for your new branding rollout. But your marketing data and customer feedback tell a different story. Your customers see you as a refined, trustworthy company that has served their community for 3 generations.
As stunning as your new brand design may be, it will be disastrous to your overall branding strategy. Loyal customers will be confused by the sudden switch in tone and presentation. Interested leads won't quite know who they're about to deal with.
Brand perception is reality. Align your brand image with the way customers see you.
An updated brand identity doesn't mean a total reinvention of your business. It's a chance to clearly define and curate what your brand stands for and intends to deliver. Make sure your new strategy makes your identity clearer — don't muddy the waters.
10. Can You Describe Your Brand in 10 Words or Less?
Every business owner should be able to describe their brand in 10 words or less. It's a bigger challenge than you think!
Use what you've learned in this branding questionnaire to develop a concise definition of your new brand identity. Here are 3 tips to get you started:
Don't talk about what you do. Talk about why you do it.
Use 1-2 emotionally powerful words to describe your brand's “reason for being”.
Keep it positive, and use your established tone of voice (serious vs. relaxed, authoritative vs. casual).
Need some inspiration to define your brand in 10 words or less? Here are 8 notable examples I happen to love:
GE: Inspiration at Work
Hallmark: When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best
The New York Times: All The News That's Fit To Print
Mercedes-Benz: The Best or Nothing
Honkamp Krueger: We're In The Business… Of Helping Yours
The Bonadio Group: Big Firm Capability. Small Firm Mentality.
Heidi Harris: We Do the Hustle So You Don't Have the Hassle
Harris Beach: Lawyers You'll Swear By. Not At.
Start Elevating Your Current Brand Identity For Free
Develop your answers to this branding questionnaire, and you'll see a dramatic improvement in your overall brand recognition.
A strong brand identity is the backbone of every successful content marketing campaign. With time and consistent strategy, your brand name will begin to evoke an emotional connection on its own.
Lean on the experience of a content marketing strategist to get started. I'll walk you through each step of your new brand identity journey, or create a fresh update for your existing brand.
I'm excited when a company invests in its brand development — and I'd like to offer you a fully free consultation to learn about your specific needs. No strings attached!
Let's talk about how to write your brand's next chapter together.