Great branding is the essence of any respectable company, but most of the available resources about branding typically involves advice on how to ensure your brand remains consistent throughout your marketing efforts or improving upon an already established brand. All valuable advice, but where should businesses starting from scratch begin when building a brand?
In most instances, it is advisable to enlist the help of a creative director or market agency, but the immediate first steps can certainly be achieved in-house. When it comes to instituting the primary features and qualities of your brand, all you need to do is conduct a bit of research and gain a comprehensive understanding of your business operations.
Nail Down Your Target Audience
Before your brand can come to life on screen or on paper, you must first understand who your ideal customer is. Brand messaging and imagery should be distinctive to a specific target demographic or segment. Instead of casting a wide net that may result in your brand in being less relevant to any individual within that group, it is best to think critically about defining your target demographics:
- Who are they? Take the time identify your target audience by better understanding demographics. For instance, their age range; what age group do the majority of your customers fall into. Gender is also prime example; are there more men or women in the group you’re targeting?
- What do they like? Consider your audiences lifestyle and how they spend their work and leisure time. Are they full-time employees that love to hike on their down time? It is important to understand how your product or service can fit into their daily lives.
- What do they need? Study the challenges or struggles that your target audience may face. Understanding how you can create ease or improve your target audiences’ day-to-day battles will help outline the specific qualities and benefits your brand offers.
The goal is to define specific personas that you can learn from and create a brand identity in which your potential customers can understand and relate to. Pinpointing demographics and segmenting your target audience is an exercise that will benefit all areas of your brand building process, especially marketing efforts.
Evaluate Competitor Brands
You can learn a lot about marketing in your industry by collecting industry-focused secondary research from publications, databases, and associations. This method is an effective way to better understanding current strategies of your competitors, and to further help you differentiate yourself in the marketplace. It’s important to not copy any of your competitors brand qualities, but rather understand the motivations behind their choices to best identify what will make your brand unique. For instance, if your product or service is offered at a lower price than offering than your competitors, you could emphasize that in your branding. Overall, it is vital to find a way to make your brand stand out.
Bringing Your Brand to Life
Visuals are likely the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about to build a brand. While this creating a brand logo and tagline might be among the most exciting steps of the brand building process, and arguably the most important, it may be the step that requires the help of a professional properly execute. It is essential to recognize the importance of a logo as it will appear on everything that relates to your business; it will become the visual identity for your business. For that reason, you should prepare to invest the time and money to creating something extraordinary. Hiring a professional designer or creative agency with branding and identity design experience, will allow you to depend on their expertise to ensure you get a unique and timeless mark for your business.
Test Your Vision
Once your new logo is designed and approved, it may seem like the work is done. Landing on a logo design is certainly an accomplishment, but best practice dictates that one more piece of market research will give you the best chance of rolling out a successful new brand. Test your logo, and possibly your second-choice logo, among customers and potential customers via quantitative or qualitative research methods. The end results will be a brand that prospective and existing customers will embrace, remember, and reward with loyalty.
Brand building can be one of the most significant things you can do for a new business or even an existing business. A solid brand building process can transform your business from a small player into a successful competitor. You’ll discover that your customers will develop a deeper level of trust for your brand and be more likely to purchase what you are selling. Develop a consistent message and visual identity to reinforce your mission. Integrate your brand into every aspect of customer experience: from your storefront to your website, to your personal interactions!