Nike. Apple. Starbucks. While all very different companies, these hugely successful multi-nationals have one thing in common – a strong brand identity. Their gravitas is bigger than their products; Apple always has queues to buy their latest gadgets; Nike created worldwide headlines with its Colin Kaepernick ad last year, and you only have to look at Starbucks’ tagged Instagram posts to understand how they have turned their coffee into a fashion accessory. When it comes to business success, brand can make or break.
Tiger re-branded in April 2018, with a new logo, website, visuals and messaging. We recognised that after 16 years, a rebrand was needed to better represent our evolution as an innovative business in a contemporary world. Ensuring that your brand is represented in the best light can make a huge difference to your bottom line, so investing in a strong brand identity is essential, regardless of your company size.
What is brand identity?
Brand identity covers everything related to a company, including the name, logo, tone of voice, tagline, visuals – everything that sets your business apart from any other one on the market. It is the DNA of a company, the standard that we apply to everything we do, the commitment we make to every client and candidate, and the pride we take in all our work. Branding expert and founder of StoryLab, Jim Signorelli, says that brands should have a purpose, and that their identity is made up of the belief, philosophy, and associations that the brand stands for.
As Tiger works with such a wide range of clients, including corporate businesses, private individuals, entrepreneurs and creatives, it was vital for us to create a contemporary brand that was befitting of our offering.
How you can create a strong brand identity
There is no secret recipe to creating a distinctive brand. Every company is individual and will have its own personality, but to cultivate a strong brand identity I recommend looking at the below as a starting point.
Create a Brand Strategy
A brand strategy is essentially a plan for how you connect your audience to your company. It should map out exactly what you want to achieve, the purpose you serve, and how you want to share it. Your strategy should cover your brand’s core values, brand voice, and brand positioning. The creative process of building a brand should continually link back to the elements of your strategy.
At Tiger, we started by surveying our candidates, clients and employees, before completing a brainstorming session with our internal staff. This session posed both practical and hypothetical questions from ‘Which celebrity best represents the brand?’ to ‘What are our main challenges at the moment?’ From there, the strategy – and importantly, the unique brand positioning, could be created.
Invest in your brand extension
The brand includes every aesthetic representation of your business. This means:
- Colour palette
- Website Design
A strong brand identity needs to be distinctive, memorable and consistent in its application. Often, we think that a logo is the most important part of a brand, and it does play a huge role (think about the Nike ‘swoosh’ or Apple’s apple); but every other element is just as important. We know it’s a Cadbury’s ad from its distinctive purple, for example, and could recognise Disney’s iconic typography a mile off. By investing in your visual identity and adhering to your brand guidelines, you are adopting a consistent and strong message that audiences can associate with your brand. This brand recognition will ultimately influence your clients’ decision to engage with your products or services.
Establish a Tone of Voice
There’s no point working on your visuals and strategy to then not use them effectively. If your target audience is teenagers, and your brand is fun and quirky, your language and vocabulary across your newsletters, website and social media channels need to reflect that.
Tone of voice not only covers the language but also your company initiatives. Think about the brand partnerships you form, or the CSR initiatives you invest in. For McDonald’s, for example, sponsoring a football team is a great partnership for them to promote a healthy and active message.
Your staff are your best brand ambassadors. By nurturing them, they will become powerful weapons in your arsenal. It is so important that every single one of your employees delivers the same consistent message to your audience. Lack of consistency will result in mixed messages and create confusion among your target audience, leading them to question the integrity of what you stand for. By investing in internal brand training early on, and for every new recruit, your team will become pivotal in promoting your brand and key messaging.
What we did at Tiger
Our updated brand identity sought to represent the ways in which we stand out from our competitors. Over a year-long project, spearheaded by our marketing team and an external branding agency, we developed a completely new look and feel that represents what we offer as a business.
The logo and supporting brand extension needed to represent our evolution as an innovative business in a contemporary working world. We wanted to demonstrate a focus on quality, integrity, innovation and culture, and the feedback we’ve received so far assures me that we succeeded.
In fact, within a few weeks of launching, we received incredibly positive reactions. People reached out to me to see if they could work with (and for) us; clients and candidates have, unprompted, expressed glowing feedback, stating that they wanted to work with us because they loved the brand. Our experience is by no means an anomaly and it’s not unachievable – while it may require an investment of finances and time from your team, the end result will do wonders for your business.
David Morel, Founder and CEO, Tiger Recruitment
David Morel is the CEO/Founder of Tiger Recruitment, London’s leading recruitment agency for business, private, and virtual support, and hospitality recruitment. David founded Tiger in 2001 and has written extensively in the press and wider media advising both employers and job seekers on best recruitment practice.
 The message is abundantly clear; to ensure consistent professional success, businesses must establish, maintain, and continually invest in their brand identity. Signorelli, J. (2014). Storybranding 2.0. 2nd ed.
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Kizzi Nkwocha is the editor of Business Game Changer Magazine and publisher of The UK Newspaper, Money and Finance Magazine, the net’s fastest growing wealth creation publication. Kizzi Nkwocha is chair of The Ethical Publishers Association and co-chair of The Logistics Association. Kizzi made his mark in the UK as a publicist, journalist and social media pioneer. As a widely respected and successful media consultant he has represented a diverse range of clients including the King of Uganda, and Amnesty International. Nkwocha has also become a well-known personality on both radio and television. He has been the focus of a Channel 4 documentary on publicity and has hosted his own talk show, London Line, on Sky TV. He has also produced and presented both radio and TV shows in Cyprus and Spain.