In a consumer-driven world that has shifted its focus from commercialized product placement, to targeted ads on social media, there is no question as to how important branding has become in recent years. The concept of branding has transformed from a tool used for companies to establish their product line to a notion that extends outside the limitations of “business as usual.” In the age of social media, brand identity has come to encompass far more than a simple logo or name—it has come to represent an emotional and authentic tie between the consumer and the business itself. It is the connection made that makes the customer want to come back to your business time and again.
So, how does a private label business come to establish their own identity through their brand? First, it’s important to understand the difference between “brand personality” and “brand identity.”
Brand personality embodies the human-like characteristics of a brand. If your brand were personified, what would its favorite TV show be? Is it edgy? Happy-go-lucky? Would it smile at a stranger? We all have a personal approach to communication, and your brand’s personality is dependent on how it would communicate to its customers if it were human.
Brand identity is simply a manifestation of those characteristics. The logo, color scheme, and tone of written copy should incorporate that personality to tell a story. Customers crave authenticity. Today more than ever, they tend to gravitate toward brands that fit their moral compass and ethical beliefs. As social media platforms expand and multiply, branding becomes more multifaceted, focusing on visual, auditory, digital, and interactive spaces. The social reach of both brand and consumer has grown far beyond what would have been anticipated in the earliest days of advertising. What was once abstract is now an interactive relationship between the company itself and the people buying the product.
Now, it should come as no surprise that there is a psychology behind all of this. Brand personality traits tend to fall into one of five general categories—Sincerity (tends to be rooted in nostalgia), Excitement (innovative and modern), Competence (reliable and pioneering), Sophistication (glamorous and has longevity), and Ruggedness (rugged in nature and no nonsense). Keep in mind, it is how you manage these qualities within your own business that sets you apart from everyone else in your field.
For instance, it’s easy to assume you are reading this blog because you are interested in how to brand your private label make-up and skin care company. Assuming most of your clientele are people who wear makeup regularly, it is hard to imagine that you would choose the “Ruggedness” psychological mindset when trying to establish your brand identity. Most (perhaps not all, but most) people who wear makeup regularly are not going to relate to a makeup line that focuses solely on outdoorsmanship. Unless you are looking to fit into an incredibly niche market, the two just don’t align without coming off as a bit of a stretch.
Colorlab, at its very essence, is a pioneer in the world of manufacturing private label and custom cosmetics. Branding for a natural-based makeup line that prides itself on using raw ingredients that won’t do harm to or damage the skin is likely going to benefit from creating an identity around “Competence,” “Sophistication,” or “Sincerity.”
The way you would make use of these psychological approaches depends on your target audience. Taking time to narrow in on who your target audience is and what their values may be is going to make a world of difference on the impact you are trying to make through branding and whom it will connect with. Again, personifying your brand will help you to focus in on who your customer is and why. Does your brand speak conventionally or conversationally? Are they a jeans and t-shirt kind of person or are they perpetually in a suit? This will give you an idea of what types of language to use when writing content for your brand and what type of aesthetic you envision when it comes to creating logos and digital media.
Connecting your brand personality to your ideal customer is going to help you naturally create a brand identity. If you envision your brand as a person who loves and cares for the environment, it’s fair to say your clientele is also going to love the environment. Your brand can then start to focus on all the benefits your product has when it comes to be environmentally safe and friendly. Many people would associate that mindset with the color green. Perhaps you then design a logo that incorporates green. Perhaps that logo also has a subtle reference to leaves or trees. Now your logo cleverly implies that your product is environmentally friendly and also uses natural ingredients. These are assumptions the consumer can make before even reading up on your merchandise. Visual references make a world of difference when it comes to branding. Sit with what you would like your brand to convey and to whom and go from there.