I have spent the past couple months talking to and working with a group of small business owners who are working hard getting their new businesses up and running or to re-tool as the result of difficult economic times. It has been a great time talking with them and hearing their views on a variety of subjects associated with business growth.
The one area that has fascinated me the most that of creating your business identity. Now, most people when they think of business identity are immediately drawn to the word “branding.” However, in this case branding only makes up a small part of a businesses identity.
1. What is the company’s personality? It is easy to see that a company like Zappos has a different personality than one like, say …. Merrill Lynch.
2. How does a company interact with current and potential customers? Again, the inference here is that some companies prefer a more casual approach while others prefer a more formal one.
3. In what way does a company share its successes with the community? Some companies use press releases and public relations to get their message, some companies sponsor local events to benefit the community in some way, and some companies actively serve the communities from which they derive their successes.
As you can see, identity is much more than branding. Identity is the very heart and soul of the business, while branding is how that identity is seen and understood.
Creating an identity should take place in the planning stages of a business, but is often not considered until much later. But, no matter when, having an identity is the key to long term success or failure.
What do you think about the necessity of a company identity?