Building a brand from scratch is not an easy task. As a small business your focus should be on standing out from the crowd. You must develop your own ideas and process that will eventually help you compete with established businesses with unlimited marketing budgets. ‘How to Start a Brand in 7 Simple Steps’ will enable you to form unique ideas that will truly set your brand apart from the crowd.
Have you ever wondered how great brands set themselves apart? What is it about brands that instantly attract you? Why do you remember great brands? Why do you repeatedly buy products from them? Well, I have only one word for you, SCIENCE! You don’t believe me? The fact is great brands have a lot of science and psychology involved. What, science and psychology? What do you mean? You might ask. Well read on, I promise by the time you have finished reading this article, you will know exactly what I am talking about!
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What is a brand?
A brand is not just its name or the logo; it is how customers perceive your brand in its totality. Let us understand this with an example; how do you remember your friends? Their names, looks, way of communicating and different impressions lead you to form a perception about them.
Similarly, brands have names, logos, products, voices and many other elements coming together to form the way they are perceived by people.
The key to building a memorable brand is by being consistent. Once you evoke a certain feeling about your brand, it should maintain the consistency across all applications which include:
- Stores and offices
- Print and packaging
- Content publishing
- Sales and customer experience
Building a brand does not happen overnight; it is a continuous process and has to go through many trials and errors. Building a brand is truly a process which requires various strategies.
How to build a brand
As you can see, building a brand is not a piece of cake and requires proper planning and execution. I have simplified the brand building process into 7 simple steps. Following these steps will help you successfully start your brand. So, let’s quickly have a look at these simplified steps created just for you:
1. The purpose behind your brand
The greatest and the most successful brands on the planet have a purpose. The purpose will give you a reason to exist. A brand without a purpose is destined to fall in no time. The purpose gives you goals to achieve. Well, I know you are a bit confused about how to set a purpose! Four points or four essential questions will help you develop a powerful purpose behind your brand.
- Why does your brand exist?
- How is your brand unique?
- Does your brand solve any problem?
- Why should people take your brand seriously?
Think hard, think really hard about the four essential questions and the answers will automatically lead you to find a purpose behind your brand’s existence.
Dove, a globally loved brand, launched a great movement called #speakbeautiful. The movement encourages women to embrace their natural bodies by being kinder to themselves. The campaign takes away the notion of how one views beauty. The campaign uses a lot of unedited images to promote their movement. Videos related to the movement on YouTube had almost 35 million views in the first two weeks and generated over $150 million in unpaid exposure.
2. Research target audience and competitors
I know you are eager to set up and grow your brand as fast as possible; but, before you go top gear it is best to analyze the road ahead. Analyzing the current market scenario will allow you to position your brand strategically so that you get the desired visibility. Understanding who your customers and competitors are will go a long way in starting your brand in 2021. Below are some ways to conduct your research:
- Conducting online research based on your products and services will enable you to draw a list of your direct and indirect customers.
- Talk to various people about which brands they buy from.
- Look at pages or social media accounts your target audience follows.
- Rate your competitors and your brands
Apart from these, conducting SWOT analysis will help you grow your brand.
A technique that enables one to identify the Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of one’s competitors is termed as SWOT analysis. SWOT researches are not only beneficial in analyzing your competitors or potential customers, but also in understanding your brand’s internal setup. You can create your own SWOT analysis form, like the one below, to conduct your research.
3. Define your personality
A mark of a great brand is its focus and personality and just like creating a purpose for your brand, defining the focus and personality is a time consuming affair. The key here is to find the focus which would guide other elements of your brand as you grow it.
Here are few questions you can work on to define your personality:
What is your positioning statement?
The positioning statement allows your brand to claim its stake in the market. Positioning is not something you put in your logo or website or business card but it is more of an answer about what your brand exactly does. Your positioning statement should contain the following:
- Product and service
- Target market
- The value
- The alternative
- Key differentiator
Example: We make PENCILS (product) for CHILDREN (target market) USING NATURAL SUBSTANCES (the value). Unlike OTHER PENCIL BRANDS (the alternative), WE PLANT A TREE (the differentiator) for every pack of pencils you buy.
What are the words you’d associate with your brand?
A very interesting and unique way of looking at your brand is to look at it as though it were a real person. What would be she or he like? A very good exercise in building your brand would be to pick 5-6 adjectives that would describe your brand. Words like, charming, artistic, party animal, caring, funny or serious would add to the overall personality of your brand.
What concepts describe your brand?
Just like the words you’d choose to describe your brand, personifying it would help in identifying the individual qualities. You can choose an animal, a celebrity or a vehicle to describe your brand. You could choose a lion to describe your brand as majestic and royal. You could also choose a raccoon to describe your brand because of their ability to thrive in almost any condition if you are targeting entrepreneurs.
4. Choose your business name and mission statement
A brand truly is no more than its name! The coming together of all the elements such as the personality and the actions give meaning to the brand name in the market. The name is one of the most important elements that really must be thought out since it will impact every aspect of your business such as the logo, trademark registration, marketing and branding.
The mission statement is the reason you go to work every day. It is the value your business provides. The mission statement defines why the business exists and informs all the other elements in the brand building process. It is what you tell people when they ask what you do.
5. Outline the benefits of your brand
Outlining the key benefits your business offers could work wonders while starting your brand in 2021. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you providing a solution to a serious problem?
- Are you offering something no one else is?
- Why should customers choose your brand over others providing similar products and services?
Outlining the benefits your brand offers is not a laundry list of your products and services. The value your brand brings to people is the real benefit your business provides.
6. Design your logo
Logo is the face of your company. It is the first thing that people notice about your brand. Your logo must be unique and identifiable. Your logo should also be available in various sizes to work with.
From banners and billboards to leaflets and business cards and from websites and social networking sites to TV ads and shop signage, your logo will be everywhere; therefore, it is really important that your logo sets your brand apart from the crowd.
7. Evolve as your brand grows
Building a brand does not stop with the logo or identifying the purpose behind your brand or even the launch of your company. Your brand must be consistent everywhere and in everything you do! As your brand is exposed to more customers, your brand will take shape and continue to grow. Building a brand is like a relationship between two people; it takes continuous efforts and loads of love!
If you are serious about starting your brand and giving it the desired visibility then these 7 simple steps can guide you to become victorious.
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.