10 Best Branding Tips
Branding has grown in recent years, due to the advent of the internet and the growing use of social media by companies.
Most people online are building their own brands to sell something, whether it’s a product, an idea, or a movement. Thus, developing a brand can make or break a business, so we will be identifying the best methods to build a brand that attracts a faithful audience.
What is a brand?
A brand is more than a colorful, tastefully made logo; rather, it’s your audience’s idea of who you are.
Businessman, billionaire, and former CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz said it best, “If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the band.” Your brand is your values, how you come across when you communicate, and how your audience experiences your company – how your employees speak to your customers, the kind of environment you set your company in (e.g. brick and mortar store or an online business), the type of content you publish on your company – and whether that experience is good or bad determines if they will accept or reject what your company has to offer.
Deciding upon all these factors that determine your brand is an extensive, long process. But you have time to make it great.
What is your brand?
There are three questions you must ask yourself to understand your brand identity: what does your brand offer to the world; why is it appealing; what makes your brand stand out?
Answering these four questions will be the first step towards building a story and a marketing strategy for your brand.
Who are your competitors?
Now that you know what your brand is, you can determine who your competitors are. Knowing who your competitors are and understanding how they failed or succeeded will better inform you on the following steps in this list.
Find three to four competitors and fill out a spreadsheet or even a notebook on your competitors:
Once you have gathered this information, answer such questions as:
- Who are your competitors’ target audiences, which audience can your brand best identify with, and how can curate your products to this audience?
- Has their position statement evolved over the years, and if so, why?
- What is their marketing strategy, and how can you make one that is of better quality?
Answering these questions will better help you develop your brand identity.
Who is your target audience?
Drawing back on the last step will help you recognize your target audience. For example, the question asked previously: which audience can your brand best identify with will help you understand who your target audience will be. If you’re selling shoes that’s user-friendly for disabled people, your target audience will be people suffering from multiple sclerosis, ALS, Alzheimer’s, and more.
Thus, your brand will be The brand for people with limited abilities.
Don’t make the mistake of saying you’re trying to reach everyone. You can’t please everyone, and it’s a waste of time trying to do so.
What position will your brand take?
Recognizing your target audience is a critical step in building a brand as it guides you on the choices you’ll make in the future. One of those choices will be your brand position.
Determining whether you’re going to be an elite, high-priced brand or a brand that’s of simpler quality and affordable will all be a part of your position.
Developing a brand statement will be a great way to easily grasp your brand position. Included in your statement should be:
- What you’re offering
- Who you’re offering it to
- Ethics of your brand
Ex: “We’re an affordable shoe company that sells products for all abilities.”
This statement will go on to inform you on how you sell your brand and how your brand speaks to your audience.
The key to brand position though is consistency. Consistently presenting your brand on all media platforms will determine if your brand will be as relevant as Nike and Adidas or as irrelevant as their off-brand versions.
What is your name?
Coke, Band-aid, Nike, etc. What do you think of when you think of these companies? What feelings does these names inspire in you? These may all be names of different companies, but when it comes down to it, the most successful companies have names that tell a story and provoke us to buy from them.
When coming up with a name for your company think of:
- Alliterative names e.g. Dunkin Donuts and Bed Bath & Beyond
- Founder names e.g. Jordans and Fenty
- Evocative names e.g. Disney and Marvel
The name that’ll work for you will depend on your brand identity, target audience, and position. However, to streamline this process, you can always infer the types of names your competitors adopted and what worked for them may work for you.
Make sure to also create a name that’s available for online use and trademarking.
What’s your look?
Now that you’ve made it this far, it’s easy to jump ahead and start making a logo and begin advertising your company. However, you first need to establish a look for your brand. Will it be dark and powerful like Nike’s or bubbly and friendly like Sketchers?
What you decide will influence packaging, the uniforms your employees will wear, and how you’ll depict your company on all media platforms.
How do you want to design your logo?
Now the real fun begins! Designing the logo is essentially designing the face of the brand; it’s the thing that people use to identify your company. Nike has its check mark, Adidas has its pyramid, and Puma has its puma, so a logo can be a symbol, a geometrical shape, or even an animal. Think long and hard about what you want your logo to be, because it can be hard to and even detrimental to change, and it will just as important as your name and found everywhere your brand is, including packaging, websites, and advertisements.
Present your brand to the world.
You now have a solid foundation for your brand, so the only thing left is to show it to the world. Be sure to broadcast your brand everywhere, not just online, but even the places you wouldn’t think of like in your customer service. Minding how your employees represent your brand is essential to retaining your customer base.
Keep track of your brand guidelines.
Once your company is up and running is can be difficult to keep track of what’s what, so be mindful of documenting everything you’ve done so far: your brand identity, how you’ll stand out from the crowd, your demographic, your position, your name, your look, and your logo.
Google sheets will be your best friend when it comes to this, so researching the best ways to draft up your documents and spreadsheets will save you time and energy in the future.