Krishen Iyer Wants You to Build Your Brand Identity - Here’s How to Do It

Marketers hold the key to how customers view their brands. At least that's what Krishen Iyer, Founder, and CEO of MAIS Consulting, says.

And he should know.

Since he graduated from college in 2004, Krishen has owned, operated, and sold several companies, including Managed Benefits Services. MBS was a full-service marketing and consultancy company that provided support and marketing opportunities for insurance companies and agencies. Today, Krishen is working in Carlsbad, CA on his latest project: MAIS Consulting. This enterprise specializes in the success of other companies in the insurance distribution industry.

It was a pleasure to speak with Krishen Iyer about how he sees brand building in the marketing industry in 2021. He offered unique insight into the way any company can utilize customer perception to shape its marketing success.

"It all starts with building an authentic personality around your company," says Krishen. "It's always far better if you can take control of how you are perceived, rather than waiting for your customers to define you."

 "First Thing's First: Define Your Company's Personality." - Krishen Iyer

"Who is your brand?"

Not: "What is your brand?"

If the only way an establishment can define its business is by what it sells, how much it sells, and who it sells to, they don't yet have a company personality.

And yes, a brand has to have an actual personality. "Just like a person," says Krishen.

Fortunately, developing a business' personality isn't as difficult as it may seem. It all starts with asking a few questions. Krishen Iyer poses these to start with:

"Is your brand formal and professional or fun and quirky?"

"Is your brand intimate and private or loud and public?"

"Is your brand funny or serious?"

"Is your brand blunt or polite?"

There really are no right answers here. In fact, much of the challenge lies in being honest. If a company can be honest about its personality, there's more room for growth and success.

For example, a brand might actually be blunt, loud, and serious. And while this might sound like a bad thing at first, it doesn't have to be. Some businesses - like insurance companies - need to be blunt. No one would want them to be wishy-washy.

Another company, like a funeral home, might need to be serious and professional. A kid's toy store? They should probably be loud and fun.

Once a business has answered these questions and established a personality of its own, it's time to enhance that development. Krishen Iyer has these five tips for doing so:

The 5 Musts of Developing a Business' Brand, According to Krishen Iyer

As a company fleshes out its brand's identity, it's critical to focus on these key areas.

1. Content, Content, Content

Any brand can cultivate a strong identity by cultivating strong content. This includes text, video, photos, emails, and other messaging. It's everything a company puts out on social media too. And it's also commercials, paper advertisements, billboards, phone calls, T-shirts, and paraphernalia. Basically everything but the kitchen sink.

All of these forms of communication must reinforce a given business's brand identity. It's important to tell people what they need to hear. They've got to hear what it is that's in their best interest to hear (from the company's perspective).

What type of content should businesses focus on?

"Video is critical right now," says Krishen Iyer. "Show don't tell."

Video can be presented directly on a business' websites, on social media pages like Instagram and Facebook, or on YouTube. Ideally, videos should be short and to the point. They should also be useful to customers.

If a leather shoe company wants to gain customers with video, creating a video about shoe polishing is the ticket. If a company that sells cooking spices wants to use video content, they can simply create videos of recipes. Naturally, the recipes should use their own spices.

These videos are useful to customers, and they want them. In addition to video, quality blog content is also crucial. Companies might also choose to use photos, quotes, and step-by-step instructions. Interactive shopping is another great way to push content.

2. Steady Communication Patterns

How a company communicates with its audience - including potential, current, and past customers - is critical. Over-communication (blasting customers with emails, phone calls, and text messages, for example) is not the way to go.

On the other hand, it's not a good idea to stay out of their inbox for too long of a time either. Naturally, a business can be forgotten that way. It's also common for customers to think that businesses that don't email regularly aren't doing well.

A steady, even pace of communication is best. Again, it's important to choose one that matches the business' identity.

If a company sells bedsheets, their customers probably don't want to hear from them every day. They might not even want to hear from them every week. Regular social media posting is fine (say, every few days), but this company will not want to bombard their customers with daily emails.

A company that pedals in news, however, will want to reach out to its customers on a daily basis. They'll be updating their social media pages fairly frantically, in fact. They need to be on top of the news and always putting out information. This is their communication pattern.

3. Personalization

No matter a business' industry, their customers want to feel personally noticed every time the business interacts with them. First or first and last names should be used.

The brand needs to respond in a way that shows they are personally invested in every one of their customers. This personalized experience will help solidify a business' brand identity in the minds of its customers.

4. Confidence and Self-Assurance

Again, no matter what it is a company is selling, confidence is a must. Customers like to know that the businesses they deal with are self-assured and ready for anything.

Should something go wrong, it's critical that they feel like they're in good hands. In this way, all language used by a business should not only fall in line with the business' identity, but it should also carry confidence.

5. Clear Calls to Action

Lastly, communication must state clearly what the brand is looking for from their customers. "Directness is key," says Krishen. Calls to action, therefore, must directly state how a customer can take the next step on their sales journey. It's all about bringing them through the sales funnel, literally showing them step by step how to make the purchase.

This tip goes closely with the importance of confidence. Don't be afraid to sell. While overt, in-your-face selling is never the goal, it's still okay to hand-hold a bit. Speak to customers with a strong command of what it is they need. They should have multiple reasons to buy.

"Be Authentic. Stay the Course." - Krishen Iyer

"Once you've developed a personality for your company," says Krishen, "it's important to keep it faithfully. The good news is, if you've gone through the development process carefully and truthfully, this shouldn't be difficult. That's because now all you have to be is honest and authentic."

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