By Robert Nuñez, Social Media Assistant
Identity, in its essence, is a complicated subject. Even on the individual level (as in human identity), it’s often the subject of art pieces, movie plots, literature – you name it – due to its natural ambiguity and people’s desire to make sense of it. These ambiguous qualities seep into the world of brands and companies as well, but in a much more quantifiable way. Undeniably, there is more freedom when creating an identity for your brand than there is when creating an identity for your individual self. However, not many small business owners use that fact to their advantage. There are sooooo many areas that can be used to sculpt the identity of one’s brand that often have immediate impact. Whether it’s visually, in the way a brand advertises their services, lays their website out, packages their goods, etc. Or if it’s socially, in the way a brand voices opinions (or doesn’t), interacts with their customers, structures their copywrite, etc. All of these characteristics – and more – are pieces of the same puzzle.
A brand’s look and voice on social media, I believe, is the ultimate culmination of this puzzle. This is a place where all the brand’s morals, visuals, and personality melt in the same pot. Speaking from personal experience, the first place I “legit-check” a local restaurant, for example, (other than the reviews of course) is the restaurant’s social media channels. If their feed is riddled with pixelated graphics, outdated memes, empty comment sections, no consistency in the posts or all of the above – I tend to be more hesitant on eating there, even though the food might be great. I’m pretty confident that I’m not the only crazy person that feels this way either! As a matter of a fact, the same goes for any service-providing business. A social media account without intention and purpose, might as well should not exist.
On the corporate or larger company level, it’s interesting to examine the variety of directions that brands choose to take. For example, as strange as it may sound, the Wendy’s social channels have fully committed to the way of the meme, but in a very efficient way. They’ve found a way to incorporate their brand into funny and shareable posts. Whether it’s through using the Wendy’s color palette to create the memes themselves or making memes about their baconator burger – their intention is always clear and concise, and it sure makes me want to go get a frosty.
To completely take a U-turn, another interesting case study is Unilever. One of the world’s largest consumer goods companies, yet no selling whatsoever on their accounts. Instead, their social media is packed with environmental activism, as Unilever’s global mission is to create a better world through climate action. On top of that, Unilever’s brand marks and colors are present throughout every post. Both of these case studies cover all the checkpoints for what brand identity should look like on social media: visual consistency that is in line with the brand, voice with intent – whether it’s to make people laugh and then buy burgers or to make people aware of social issues and then call them to action, and most important of all – no pixelated photos!