Think about your favorite brand--let's use Nike as an example. The sports apparel company is known for its commitment to its athletes and for its famous slogan, "Just Do It." The tagline is simple yet succinct; it maintains a strong association with Nike and captures the brand identity in an easy-to-remember slogan.

There's more to a tagline than an infectious tune and funny commercials. Your company's slogan should represent that brand's mission and it captures a brand's promise in a short phrase. An identity begins with your company's "Why." Whatever your slogan is, it needs to reflect your company's values and provide consumers with an understanding of the brand itself. Your brand identity represents your company's values, its purpose and the emotions you want your customers to associate with your business.

If your employees don't truly understand the brand's identity, chances are your consumer won't understand that identity either. "For those who do," Lenovo's old tagline, was catchy but didn't reveal much about who Lenovo was as a brand. "What I discovered," noted Quinn O'Brien, the brand lead for Lenovo," was it's a good creative tagline but when you dig into it there's nothing in there that helps you understand the brand itself." It wasn't until the CEO of Lenovo, Yang Yuanqing, tweeted how they are a company that "never stands still" that Lenovo claimed this phrase as an internal rallying cry that represented the company's relentlessness in all facets of business.

Lenovo's brand identity evolution was the result of changing their target market demographic and catering to their consumer's needs. Take Meineke for example. "Meineke is convenient, transparent and reliable," notes Artemio Garza, Chief Brand Officer at Driven Brands, parent company of Meineke. "Those are the three main benefits we're trying to get consumers to receive when they do business with us." Meineke went directly to their customer's expectations ofcar care providers in order to solidify their brand identity. From extensive consumer research, the campaign "Taking care of your car shouldn't take over your life" and the slogan "On with life" fell into place. Other businesses might experience their identity due to overall company growth or to the discovery of the company's true "Why".

The "Why" lives in the center of your organization and drives your day-to-day operations. For Mindtree, an IT services and consulting and digital solutions firm, everything they do is around "making digital real". Mindtree's "Y" goes beyond satisfying a client's digital needs; their expertise establishes Mindtree as a thought leader that puts an emphasis on the back end value chain that deploys a digital solution.

"Our 'Why' is 'make digital real'," says Paul Gottsegen, CMO of Mindtree. "So purely from a value proposition to a client, that tagline is what we rally our marketing and sales strategy around, and our soon-to-be media hub." Part of solidifying their brand identity as a leader in the digital solutions industry is building an internal media hub that exists in a sector that isn't known for content creation. "It's nothing about selling Mindtree," notes Gottsegen, referring to their media hub in the works. "But it's to drive people to Mindtree because we're adding value in ways that help customers understand something about their business that they didn't understand before they got to that media hub."

A brand identity should clearly represent your company's values but it should also be flexible and subject to evolve as your business changes. It begins with identifying your brand's "Why", and ensuring your employees understand your company's core mission. Without truly knowing your target consumer or recognizing the one thing that brings your business together, you'd be hard pressed to find your brand's true identity.

Published on: Feb 2, 2016