What is branding and how can you create a successful brand for your business?
So, what is branding? Branding is the process of connecting good strategy with good creativity. Branding consists of not just a logo, but the entire outward perception of your business/product. Logo, Typography, Colour Palette, Imagery, Illustrations, Tone of Voice, Personality and Story. A good brand strategy will help you create the right visual image for your brand. Developing a brand strategy can feel like climbing Everest for many people. We all know it is so important to get it right, that our business depends on this to survive. The process can feel stressful and we often lose sleep getting tied up in knots by thinking about it all too much. But it doesn’t need to feel this way. You have to keep it simple. If you break it down into stages and stay true to your purpose and personality it will develop naturally into something that makes you feel great. Easy to say you might think but let’s look at the stages of creating a brand strategy. Initially you need to do some research so you’ve got some direction. You obviously (hopefully) have some idea by now about what your aim is, i.e. what your business is providing or selling. So, now do some research on these three components:
- Your target customers or clients – who is most likely to want what you are offering?
- Who is your competition – other businesses offering similar services?
- What is it that makes you stand out from the competition – your unique selling proposition?
This does not have to be difficult and can mostly be done online but it is also useful to speak to people. You could spend a day doing some market research i.e. go out on the street and ask the general public questions about what they think about certain aspects of your type of business. How could it be improved? What do they like about it? What do they hate about it? It’s all invaluable information to help you get your strategy right. So here’s six simple steps to get your brand strategy going:
1. How to emotionally connect with your customers
You’ve done the research so hopefully now you’ve got a good idea about the people that you are targeting or that are most likely to want your product or service. Now, you need to establish how you can make an emotional impact on your customers or clients. Just like AirBnb (see previous brand blog), emotion is what helps customers connect with you. Your brand strategy will help to develop that emotion. You are selling to human beings, just like you and I. It’s not rocket science. What do people want from you and how do you want them to feel when they get it.
2. What is your brand’s style, personality and tone of voice?
Are you going to have everything in primary colours and all your marketing communications in comic sans peppered with teen-friendly acronyms – innit? Or are you going for something more formal or sophisticated? Or maybe it will be down to earth and straight-talking? This depends on who you are, what you are trying to offer to people and who those customers are. Whatever tone you decide ensure it is consistent across all your marketing and communications.
3. Be clear about your brand values
What does your brand stand for? Is it organic, environmentally friendly, incredibly indulgent or perhaps just good quality and value for money? Once you have worked out what the key values are, you have to communicate them to your customers. Eeeeek, ok how do we do that…..? See point 4.
4. Get expert advice from a specialist
Gaining advice from a professional business coach can simplify the whole process greatly by helping guide you through the whole process. They will also have an external perspective on your business and will be able to challenge and question you during this process. Brainstorming with an external expert often makes you consider ideas or details you may not have even thought about. It does not need to cost a fortune to work with a professional but it could be the best money ever spent when setting up your business. It will fill you with confidence in what you are doing and motivation to make you a success.
5. Commission a professional brand designer who knows your market
A skilled designer and brand specialist will be able to create a relevant and professional logo and brand identity that will attract your target market. Make sure you chose a designer that has an understanding of your target market – it’s no good getting a designer in the US or India to produce your brand identity, since they are unlikely to know your target market. Local designers or ideally designers that sit within your customer base will create a brand that really resonates with your customers because they understand who you are targeting and how you want to do it.
6. Blog regularly
Once you are up and running with an incredible logo and eye-catching website you need to keep it active. Regular blogs are massively important in your brand strategy and SEO. If you don’t have time to do them each week, outsource it to a professional copywriter. Again, this doesn’t need to cost a fortune and it will be an investment for your business. The majority of people surfing the web read blogs more than anything else. Plus when updated regularly your website will be viewed more favourably by Google and so will appear higher in web searches. Make sure the blog contains things that matter to your customers; topics they may have questions about or that can enhance their lives in some way. Keep them concise, conversational and engaging and you will have people regularly visiting your site to see your next article. Staying active online is essential to making your business continually engage with people and one of the most effective ways of reaching people that may have never thought about what you offer and suddenly you have another new customer. So, hopefully I have answered the “What is Branding” question and given a little bit of advice on how to build your brand to attract your ideal clients and customers. Any more questions about what is branding or anything else, feel free to drop me an email and I’ll be sure to get back to you. Here’s some of our recent brand work, which should help explain what makes a good brand.
What is Branding By Angela Zeballos at az.design