The Importance of a Focused Brand Identity

I recently watched a lecture from Harvard University Graduate School of Design by the late Virgil Abloh, American fashion designer famously known for being artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear collection and CEO/founder of Italian luxury fashion brand Off-White. In addition to his work as a designer, Abloh was known for his collaborations with notable figures and brands like Serena Williams, Mercedes Benz and Nike. Argued by many to be the “culture-shifter” of the industry, Abloh not only altered the perception of Black creatives in the space, but also reinvented what it means to market a product. Starting off with just a printed t-shirt and advancing to the Paris runways and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago galleries, Abloh knew a thing or two about marketing.

In his lecture, Abloh speaks on the importance of having a focused brand identity and the power of marketing. Holding up an old, dented candlestick, Abloh presents his outlook on marketing: “If I put this candle in an all-white gallery space, it looks like a piece of art. If I put it in a garage, it looks like a piece of trash. I often use this analogy when I market my products—I could either spend a lot of time telling you about the candle, or I could just design the room that it sits in.”

What Abloh gracefully expresses here is a powerful marketing strategy: focusing on the identity of your business rather than what you physically offer. A strong, unique brand image is an essential part of building a loyal customer base. If they feel that you both share the same values, they’ll most likely choose your brand over your competitor.

Let’s circle back to how this relates to public relations. PR folks, me included, are often asked to help clients determine the best outlet for creating awareness around their business. The goal of PR in its simplest form is to effectively build awareness on your values, personality, and ultimately, gain favorable impressions from the public about your company and its offerings. Developing a concise brand identity is essential for this—expressing your values with visual and communicative elements plays a crucial role in the public’s perception of your company. More than just creating a cool logo or catchphrase, a focused brand identity has five key benefits: it differentiates your company from other competitors in the market; builds your brand personality; creates consistency; strengthens customer loyalty; and increases awareness about not only your products, but more importantly what you stand for.

If you are starting a business or trying to grow the one you have, usually the first question that comes to mind is, “How can I create the next best thing?” However, it would be a shame if you invented the newest innovative technology, product or service and the world never got a chance to see it because the foundation of your brand was unclear and unmarketable.

Before taking a deep-dive into presenting the details of the product itself, take a moment to outline how your company values tie in. With the right strategy and a focused narrative, your brand identity can help your business grow exponentially.

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at Oct 14, 2022

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