After nine months of pain and suffering, a mother gives birth to a beautiful child. The mother feeds the baby and looks after her needs until she has grown to become a woman who can look after herself and face the world on her own.
Building a brand from scratch is exactly like growing a child. A brand must be taken care of, looked after and given nourishments at the right times till the brand is up on its feet and ready to take on the world. Brand development is a time consuming process and has many stages. Each stage must be carefully handled just like a delicate child.
What is a brand?
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon says, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
A brand is a name that takes on an identity and depending on how it is marketed; it could stand for trust, faith and loyalty. In other words, brand is reputation!
The power of a brand name
One of the most valuable assets a company possesses is its brand name. A brand name is associated with reliability and credibility. A brand name takes years to build and that is exactly the reason, older brands can promote new products easily as opposed to new brands trying to find its way in the market. Brand recognition is indeed a key factor in countries like the USA and Latin America when consumers look to buy new products.
A study conducted by Nielsen’s Global New Products Innovation Survey found that consumers in North America and Latin America value brand recognition more than any other regions in the world. The study also found that apart from people buying products from brands they knew, likeability of a brand too played a huge role in consumers deciding to buy a particular product
What does this mean for new brands trying to establish itself?
The key word here is ‘Likeability’. Though it was found in the study that 59% of the consumers were attracted to older brands for new products, 21% of the consumers bought products from brands they liked. This leaves a huge gap for newer brands trying to evolve itself as a key player in the market. Newer brands must have the ‘likeability’ quotient if they wish to get a strong footing in the market.
What is brand building?
The process of generating a perception or awareness through various marketing campaigns with the aim of creating a lasting image in the market is brand building.
Branding can be broken down into three main phases:
- Brand Blueprint
- Brand Identity
- Brand Marketing
Brand Blueprint is your very first step towards brand building. The brand blueprint is the brand strategy and helps the target audience understand what the brand is all about. The blueprint helps the brand standout from the crowd. It helps the target audience understand how trustworthy, dependable, likeable and different you are as a brand.
What should an effective brand blueprint contain?
The brand blueprint is the foundation on which the brand would stand; hence, it must be strong to stand the test of time. The brand blueprint must have the following components:
- Target audience
- Brand voice
- Competitor investigation
- Brand narrative
- Brand discovery
Brand Identity is the visual component of a brand. The brand identity is also the way by which the brand blueprint is conveyed to the consumers and may well go beyond the visual elements to messaging and experience.
The components of brand identity must be consistent across all channels so that the business is easily recognizable. The elements of brand identity include the following:
- Fonts and colors
- Print or packaging
- and more
Brand Marketing is the approach by which businesses highlight and differentiate their products or services to the target audience through various strategic communications.
Brand marketing in 2021 has gone a whole level up due to the pandemic. Digital marketing has gained more prominence across the world and is here to stay. Though conventional forms of advertising in radio, TV and prints will not completely disappear in the near future but be completely overshadowed by following digital marketing activities:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Content Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
- Voice Search Optimization
- Video marketing
The process of brand building can be both complex and time consuming. A simplified version of a very complex process is given below. If you are just starting to build your brand or are in the in the process of building one then the following simple steps for brand building process can help you gain a loyal following:
1. What is the purpose of your brand?
Keep in mind: knowing your purpose will decide your journey!
What is the purpose of your brand? This is the first and probably the most important question you must ask before starting on the brand building process. The purpose of your brand will dictate how your brand will turn out.
Four questions will follow once you try to find an answer to the purpose of your brand. The four questions are as follows:
- Why does your brand exist?
- What sets you apart from other brands?
- What problems does your brand solve?
- Why should people take your brand seriously?
The answers to the above questions will act as an idea for your company’s branding. The ideas generated from the answers may be used for taglines, logo design, stories, marketing and so on.
The Golden Circle
British-American author and inspirational speaker Simon Sinek has developed an impactful model called The Golden Circle. The Golden Circle is a concept that can help identify the purpose behind a business.
The Golden Circle is divided into 3 parts:
What – do you offer to your customers?
How – are you different from the others?
Why – do you exist?
The Golden Circle propagates the theory that “people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” Sinek believes that most people start talking about the “what” they do aspect first followed by the “how” and “why” aspects of what they do. This indeed is an interesting theory which can well be applied while analyzing the purpose of the brand.
“The goal is not to do business with everybody that needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”— Simon Sinek
2. Research competitors within your industry
Keep in mind: Research will help you stand out from the crowd!
Researching competitor brands within your industry will help in market positioning of your brand. This is a very important step for building your brand yet startups tend to ignore or miss this very important brand development process. Only 5 steps within this process will allow you to effectively build your brand:
- Discover who your direct competitors are
- Discover who your indirect competitors are
- Analysis of potential future competitors
- SWOT analysis
- Rate your competitors and your brand
Discovering who your direct competitors are will allow you to focus on the various strategies they follow since you will mostly be working with similar target audiences and similar products or services. This will allow you to set unique marketing strategies and stand out from similar brands.
SWOT analysis is a strategic planning technique which helps brands identify Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats related to business competition.
A SWOT form can help you better understand how your competitors look when compared with you. You can use this form to create your SWOT analysis:
Once you have compiled a list of direct, indirect and a SWOT analysis report, you could begin rating your competitors. Rating your competitors based on SWOT analysis reports could help you in ideating unique marketing strategies which could help you leapfrog over other competitors on the list.
Researching your competitors gives you an edge over other brands in terms of market strategy and brand positioning. So, if you are looking to build a brand that would truly stand the test of time, never overlook the importance of researching your competitors.
3. Target audience of your brand
Keep in mind: Your consumers make your brand
The next part in the brand building process is to determine who your brand will serve. Once you have identified your target audience, you can customize your mission and message to meet their exact needs.
According to a research by Databox, target audience research was most helpful with content marketing and closely followed by social media marketing and SEO strategies. It is not a hard-written rule, but you’ll hear that digital marketing folks like to start from on-page SEO, laying the groundwork for everything else that will come on top of it – content, social, ppc, or any other strategy you’d like to employ.
Conduct market research
A SWOT analysis while conducting a market research to identify your target audience may be extremely useful. This type of market research will allow you to recognize.
- Market trends
- Demographics (gender, age, income level)
- Buying habits of the customers
- Personality and pain points
Understanding purchase path for brand development
Understanding the purchase path is crucial to branding. It is not only important to identify your target audience, but equally important it is to consider their purchase path and pain points. The best way to go about realization of your customer’s purchase path is to understand the goals of your customers. Upon realizing your customer’s goals, you could create tailored marketing strategies for them.
Know your existing customers
Understanding your current customers is one of the best methods to realize who your target audience is. The best way to learn about your existing customers is through social media and website analytics. Using tools like Google Analytics or Facebook insights could prove extremely beneficial.
The multi-segment marketing approach will allow your company to appeal to various customer segments. The same product may be sold to various target audiences through customized marketing messages for segments.
Go for niche marketing
Casting a net for a broader reach may end up being more damaging for a brand. One of the best methods while building a brand is niche marketing. You as a brand must identify the few who would go for your brand and then build it on their trust and loyalty. Niche marketing will give you a competitive edge over others since you will be focused and your target audience would know exactly what you will be delivering. Identifying the target audience will ensure that you benefit in all areas of your brand building process.
4. Brand mission statement: a key brand development strategy
Keep in mind: the reason you go to work everyday
A brand’s mission statement allows the people to understand what a brand is all about. It clearly communicates a brand’s objectives, purpose and how it plans to execute it. The mission statement defines the purpose of the brand’s existence. Everything from your tagline to your logo, personality and massage should reflect your brand’s mission. The Golden Circle exercise may be used to create an impactful brand mission statement.
The key here really is to understand what purpose your brand serves. It is best to start small while branding and then you can start building on the trust you have gathered from your target niche audience first.
5. Outline the benefits of your brand
Keep in mind: your products and services make your brand
One of the most important things you can do as a brand is to be unique. Assuming you know who your consumers are, give them a reason to choose you over others. Remember, there will be bigger brands with greater market penetration and that exactly is the reason you must offer something that no one else is offering. Your uniqueness is your biggest asset!
Here are a few things to keep in mind while outlining your brand’s benefits:
- Are you solving a problem?
- Are you providing a service that no one else is?
- How is your product different?
The answers to these questions will help in conveying the benefits of your brand.
6. Brand Voice
Keep in mind: how you talk matters
People are always attracted to the way you talk. Your brand voice is the way you talk to your customers. Your brand voice can follow any style but it must feel true to your brand values. Your voice is also dependent on your company’s mission and industry. Your brand voice could be
- and more
The list is endless but you must be consistent with your brand voice. A consistent brand voice will help your brand image get recognized in multiple channels.
7. Build a brand story
Keep in mind: stories make you look real
A brand story is a well knit narrative of the facts and emotions that is created by a brand. Unlike conventional advertising, brand story inspires emotional reaction.
The best way to narrate your brand story is through the brand voice you have chosen. Remember, your brand story is an extremely powerful tool which will take your brand several notches ahead and will go beyond your company logo and tagline. A brand story is one of the most effective ways to connect with your customers which can result in the proper positioning of your brand.
8. Logo and tagline
Keep in mind: first impression has the most powerful impact
The most exciting and arguably the most important part in branding are creating your company logo and the tagline. The logo and tagline are the most important piece of the puzzle since it is your brand’s identity. You will require professional help while building your company logo and the tagline. Remember DesignBro has the best designers to help you out with this most important process in brand building.
9. Integrate your brand
Keep in mind: brand building is a never ending process
One of the most important steps while branding is to integrate your brand into every aspect of your business. Which means your brand must look the same in every platform, be it digital or physical. Your voice, logo, colors, tagline, photos, story and all the other components that make your brand should fall in line. Your consumers should never be confused about your brand, which is the reason you must integrate your brand in every aspect of your business.
10. Stay true to your brand building
Keep in mind: consistency is the key to success
What is brand building worth, if it is inconsistent? Don’t constantly keep changing your branding because it could lead to the brand’s downfall. You may have all the right components of brand building in place, but if you consistently keep changing them you will keep losing customers. Businesses that have stayed true to their brand building have eventually found success.
You must document all the brand guidelines and use as reference so that you remain consistent.
Remember, no one knows your business better than you, so you must ensure that it remains consistent.
Branding does not happen overnight, but following these simple steps would definitely help you to build your brand from scratch.
Well, building and keeping a brand afloat requires time and patience. Let us look at 2 of the greatest brands in the world: Coca-Cola and Nike.
Coca-Cola established itself more than 130 years ago and is a household name globally. What is it doing right? The answer is one short word, BRANDING. You need not look much further than Coca-Cola to study the best branding practices and the reasons are as follows:
Consistency has really been king for the beverage company. Fresh marketing ideas are extremely important for a brand’s survival but it does not override the need for consistent branding. Coca-Cola knows that change in branding may have a detrimental effect on consumers, which is the reason the beverage giant never compromises on the consistency quotient of branding.
Focus on brand over product is what the beverage giant believes in. Coke has always described itself as something that brings the family and friends together rather than a soda.
Keeping it relevant is what Coca-Cola believes in. Though being consistent is important but it is not enough to keep a brand afloat over hundred years. The soda giant has kept itself relevant with changing times. These are some insights from a brand that has thrived for over 100 years. So if you are building a brand remember to be consistent, relevant and focused on the brand.
With a driving growth of more than 10% annually, Nike is one of the biggest brands in the world. Nike, like Coca-Cola, has certain branding strategies that have helped them stand the test of time.
Mission is a key factor in brand development. Nike believes in inspiring people to become athletes as opposed to selling shoes to athletes. Nike looks at what customers aspires to accomplish rather than limiting their identity to current products. Nike’s mission to “bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete” is consistent throughout its marketing strategies.
Nike’s strategy is its “Category Offence.” The Company reorganized operations around individual sports in 2008 and saw a jump of 70% in sales. Nike dominates its closest competitor by 62 percent.
Customer focus has been the key to Nike’s success. Mark Palmer, Nike’s CEO, believes that the reason for the brands success is its focus on the athletes’ needs.
Nike and Coca-Cola have been consistent and relevant which is the reason for their success. If you are in it for the long run and want to keep hitting the target market then you have to follow the steps towards brand building. The simple ten steps for brand building will thoroughly help you in building a great brand quickly and successfully. Your strategy should be to start small with a loyal following. Once your strategy is in line with the positioning statement, half the battle is won!
Building a brand requires some professional help, especially when it comes down to the logo and brand identity. DesignBro has some of the best designers who can guide you through the entire process of brand building.
Besides having grown up in the design Industry, Christiaan has advised some of the world’s largest companies on their branding & packaging designs. Has been the resident judge for design awards, and has spoken at numerous global design & marketing events. Christiaan founded the London office of the award-winning Cartils agency, and has founded the DesignBro.com platform.