Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither were Coca-Cola or Nike.
Branding is a process that builds on itself overtime. The strongest brands have accumulated years of tiny moments that add up to one extremely valuable brand. Sometimes a brand can even function as a company’s most important asset.
The branding process takes place in three stages.
In this blog, we’ll take you through each stage of the process we undertake to create valuable brands for businesses.
This is the most important stage of the branding process. Without creating a strategy, you have no foundation on which to build the rest of your brand.
Create a strategy for your business that addresses your:
- Core values, or the guiding principles for your business. These can be both an internal tool for your employees and an external tool to communicate out to your customers. (e.g. trust, fun, honesty, etc.)
- Concept, the general idea or abstract meaning behindthe brand, used to give consistency to brand development. Think of it as the first thing you want to pop into your customer's head when they think of your brand.
- Mission, or a statement that says who your company is, what you do, what you stand for, and why you do it.
- Vision, or a statement describing the clear and inspirational long-term desired change resulting from business success. This should be future thinking and aspirational but achievable.
- Target audience, or the group of customers you have decided to serve and direct your marketing activities at.
- Value proposition, a clear statement that explains how your product will solve a customer’s problem or improve their situation (relevancy), deliver specific benefits (quantified value), and tells the ideal customer why they should buy from you and not from the competition (unique differentiation).
After you have determined these important aspects of your brand, move on to your positioning statement. This is the distinctive position your brand adopts in its competitive environment to ensure that your target audience can tell the brand apart from others. For assistance with your positioning statement, you can find helpful tools here.
Garnish your strategy with your messaging. Your messaging consists of all communications you use in your marketing materials, including press releases, articles, advertising, and your website. It’s important that your messaging remains consistent and clearly conveys the key points of your business to the consumer.
Finally, after you have developed your messaging, create a voice with which to deliver the message. Does your brand sound more like 2008 Barack Obama? Or Mike Rowe speaking to the camera on an episode of Dirty Jobs? You be the judge, and then practice writing in your brand voice for optimal execution. Go back, and read and speak aloud your messaging through this new voice and make changes as needed.
Now comes the fun part. Let’s bring your brand to life!
If you don’t already have a professional graphic designer to help you out, now would be a great time to find one! The identity is essentially your visual strategy and is just as important as your messaging when interfacing with your customer.
Enlist your graphic designer to create a logo. Using your strategy especially the brand concept, give them some examples of emotions you’d like your logo to invoke. Start by focusing on what you want your logo to convey and the emotion you want to communicate.
Select a typeface and color that complement your logo. Make sure you specify headline fonts vs. text fonts and choose a legible, aesthetically pleasing font to use consistently on all branded material.
Think: is your brand a lime-green-and-pink fun-loving type of brand? Or is it a stoic corporate blue and white? Choose carefully – the psychology of color can have a bigger impact than you think.
Once you have your logo design, complete with typeface and color, think about how it will be used. Specify some useful but not burdensome #LogoLaws to ensure your branding remains consistent no matter what.
For example, can you put your logo on white, or should you avoid certain color backgrounds? Can you tilt or add effects to your logo? What should your square monogram look like? And how much space do you need around it?
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! The hardest parts are over. Now it’s time to deploy your brand to the masses.
Customize your product packaging and website with your brand and create some marketing materials. Make sure your logo is on all your touchpoints and that it maintains consistency.
Also, make sure you’re putting your logo on things that make sense for your brand. For example, Gander Mountain would put their logo on a knife that they’re going to display at a trade show, but a coffee shop would put their logo on a coffee mug, not a knife.
You want everything in your branding to be consistent because that’s what builds credibility and trust with your audience. Touchpoints with consistent logos help because the more you get your brand out there, the more likely people are to see it and build brand awareness for your company. The more brand awareness you have, the stronger your brand.
Phew! No one said the branding process would be short or easy, but it’s definitely worth it. Your brand can be hugely valuable to your business and at the end of the day a strong brand has huge potential to increase your bottom line.
Now that you’re an expert on the branding process, why not take things a step further? Download our branding 101 eBook below to learn expert tips and tricks for creating an amazing brand!