Why the Right Brand Attributes are Essential for Creating an Effective Brand Identity

Why the Right Brand Attributes are Essential for Creating an Effective Brand Identity

With a strong brand identity, you can build brand loyalty and emotional connections that keep your customers coming back.

When it comes to building a compelling brand identity, there are few factors more important than your brand attributes.

But what exactly are strong brand attributes? And how do they inform your brand personality, brand strategy, company culture, and customer experience?

In this article, we're taking a deep dive into these essential brand attributes questions—and more!—so your brand stands out in today's overcrowded market.

Ready to learn how to build a memorable brand and a distinctive competitive edge? Let's begin!

Why are brand attributes important?

Brand attributes help businesses establish a unique and strong brand that sticks in the minds of their target audience. It takes a lot to make a brand stand out, and your specific brand attributes list is one way to make sure your customers remember you when a need arises.

Here are a few examples of brand attributes:

  • Compassionate
  • Reputable
  • Formal
  • Authentic
  • Natural
  • Easy-to-use
  • Tasty

As you can see from this list, brand attributes define how your business is meant to make customers feel, what your customers perceive, and the purpose of your brand's products.

When used together, these traits describe your brand culture, your core values, and (hopefully!) generate an emotional response from your target customers. Because if you've leveraged a proper positioning strategy, these should be the same attributes your customers value too!

So why are brand attributes important? Because with proper positioning, clear brand attributes, and a consistent visual identity, you'll build the kind of brand loyalty and deep emotional connections that keep your best customers around for years!

Is your brand perfectly positioned to reach your target customer? Read our guide: How to Establish Strong Brand Positioning to find out!

How to define brand attributes for your business

Brand attributes can be broadly classified into three distinct categories: Functional, emotional, and symbolic.

how to define brand attributes

Let's take a closer look at each set of brand characteristics:

Functional Attributes

These are the tangible, practical benefits (also called hard brand attributes) that describe what your brand offers customers.

Take a look at these brand attributes examples:

  • Durability
  • Reliability
  • Quality
  • Convenience
  • Affordability
  • User-friendliness

When communicated through your marketing campaigns, ad campaigns, and online, these brand personality traits tell your new customers exactly what they can expect to receive when they buy from you.

Emotional Attributes

These are the intangible, soft attributes of your business that evoke certain emotions in your target market.

Here are a few examples of brand attributes that your customers can relate to on an emotional level:

  • Trustworthiness
  • Authenticity
  • Excitement
  • Nostalgia
  • Belonging

By choosing an attribute or two from this list, you can build a meaningful emotional connection with your audience.

Symbolic Attributes

These brand attributes are the abstract, aspirational qualities that your brand represents. They're often characteristics related to your brand's personality, your brand culture, and the human embodiment of your brand.

Symbolic brand attributes examples include:

  • Innovation
  • Creativity
  • Environmentalism
  • Social responsibility
  • Individuality

You'll often find symbolic attributes found in a company's mission statement, their compelling vision statement, and in the headlines of their marketing material.

Is one brand attribute more important than another?

As long as your small business avoids demonstrating the same characteristics as your competitors, there's no magical combination of brand attributes.

The best brand attributes for your business vary by the target audience you're hoping to reach, the brand personality you want to embody, the desired emotions you wish to stir, and the other brands in your market. But as you can see from this brand attributes list, any company in any industry can use these traits to build a relevant and relatable brand.

How to develop your key brand attributes

Now that you understand the characteristics that work together to build your brand, let's explore how your own business can weave attributes into your brand strategy.

1. Start with research

Many brands jump straight into branding without developing a clear understanding of what their customers really value.

Instead of building your brand, then studying your customers, start by getting inside their heads. Because the best brand strategy for your company is one uniquely tailored to the consumers you most want to reach!

That means every aspect of your brand, from your attributes and assets to your marketing and message, should be strategically planned to speak directly to that group.

2. Study your competitors

One of the biggest benefits of defining your brand's attributes is that it helps you develop unique brand positioning—and solidify your place in the market.

Before you decide on your core brand attributes, take a look at what your competitors are up to. Are they focused on quality and trustworthiness, or affordability and creativity? Then maybe you want to position your business as a sustainable brand built on innovation.

A USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is critical to the success of every brand. Here's why!

3. Compare brand attributes

Take a look at this list of attributes, then choose a handful of brand attributes from just one or two categories from the three we listed above (functional, emotional, and symbolic).

Consider which characteristics from the list best fit your customers, differentiate you from your competitors, and are true to your brand voice. Then highlight the 3-5 attributes that stand out to you.

4. Narrow down your choices

Finally, narrow down your chosen brand attributes to just 2-3 characteristics that are the truest to your company. Think about what your customers will relate to, what soft attributes you want to communicate, and how each quality works together.

brand attributes

Why using strong brand attributes supports your brand identity

Once you've selected your favorite brand attributes, it's important to use them to build a comprehensive brand identity your company can leverage across every channel.

As a reminder, your identity consists of the characteristics, traits, visual assets, marketing, and message that work together to tell consumers who you are.

A memorable identity helps your customers recognize and remember your brand, no matter where they see it. That's why you want your brand attributes to be a key part of your overall brand strategy and identity.

Follow these tips to use your brand attributes to create a consistent brand, from your website and social media channels to print materials and products:

  1. Make your visual brand reflect your core attributes.
  2. Communicate your brand attributes clearly through your company emails, social media posts, marketing collateral, and website.
  3. Train your team on your brand attributes, and make sure these characteristics inform their customer interactions.

As your business grows, don't forget to keep your brand's attributes up-to-date

Brand attributes, like your brand strategy framework, shouldn't be set in stone. After all, business growth has a way of changing the attributes and characteristics of even the most stable brands in the world!

That's why it's important to regularly review and update your list of key brand attributes as your focus, customers, and company goals change. In that way, you can maintain brand consistency while remaining relevant, competitive, and positioned for continued growth.