As a business owner, you have a head start in creating your brand. And that head start is you! You have a story and heritage as to why you launched the business. This brings with it authenticity and credibility. And then there’s the vision against which you deliver your finished product or service, which is something that your customers can also buy into. This vision, credibility and personality are just a few of the factors that make for a strong brand and building such a brand has become a key factor in achieving commercial success in a busy and visual world.
Your brand is your baby, it has your DNA, it will embody your personality and every aspect of its existence needs your love and attention. Also, like a baby, in the early days, the amount that needs to be done is equal parts exhilarating and exhausting. Your brand, your brand story, your visual brand and the brand experience are fundamental to your success.
Great brands are clear across all forms of communication and a great brand is consistent. Your brand matters – it acts as a signpost to help customers find you, it helps them like you and it provides a reason for them to talk about you and even better…recommend you to others.
Customers are faced with increasing options as to where and how to buy and on coming face to face with your brand, they’ll make a decision in seconds as to whether to make a purchase.
You only have one chance to make a great first impression and you only have seconds to get your brand across!
Below you will find our 5 Steps to building a brand which will cover
Know Your Brand
In the early days of your company, so much of the brand is inspired by you as the founder and visionary. Over time, customers will have more of a role to play in defining how the brand develops. Be open to their feedback across all the steps outlined!
The first step to building your brand is defining the kind of brand you want to build. This will largely be based on what you offer, and to whom. For example, a company selling professional services to large corporate companies will be looking for a professional, reliable and sturdy image and brand.
A drinks company selling smoothies could instead be looking to build a more humorous, health-oriented, and fresh brand.
To determine the kind of brand you want to build, ask yourself these three questions:
• Who are my customers and from which brands do they currently buy?
• What kind of feelings do I want to evoke in my customers when they interact with the brand? Happiness, peace of mind, desire, reliability etc.
• How do I want people to describe my brand?
The answers will guide you in the direction of devising the look and feel of the brand as well as a natural tone of voice.
If you think of the best-known brands in the world, most people would have the same response in describing the brand:
• Nike – action oriented
• Virgin – bold adventure
• Apple – clean innovation
• Red Bull – energetic lifestyle
Determine how you would like your brand to be perceived and then deliver on this consistently so customers get the same feeling, whether interacting with your brand
What is the Tone?
With brand ambitions clarified, adopt a tone of voice to suit the brand and to which customers will respond.
Although there is no voice to your images it can still convey a tone of message that can be understood clearly.
What colours work best for your brand, what font will work best and match the tone you are looking for. If it is a fun brand you may want more fun colours and fun fonts. For a more professional and serious brand you will want to convey this through the message.
The Power of Imagery
When images speak a thousand words, you can save your talking and let the camera do the work!
Customers are increasingly influenced to buy from viewing images of products and services and, as a business; you’ll want to respond by having a portfolio of top quality imagery to display. This includes photography and video; content that will build your brand and, critically, build sales too.
Engaging visuals will not only communicate something useful about your product but it also lets your audience know you want to communicate with them, and care about their opinions.
Whether its statistics graphed in simple and colourful diagrams or a how-to photo series showing products in action, customers love useful, visual information.
If you’re selling food processors, communicate how easy your product is to use by making a video of someone making salsa with your product.
If you’re selling software consulting services, make a chart of past clients and the products you’ve helped them develop. Keep it simple but informative to be most effective.
Customers like messages they can relate to – and that help them relate to something that’s meaningful to them. For example, say you’re selling a product that is for children, think of how more effective a picture of two kids playing with your product or service is than just the product or service on its own.
While the individual images are important for practical purposes, the meaningfulness of the photo – and what it conveys is what makes people fall in love with what your business offers.
Write It & Refresh It
Your brand is developing and it’s time to write it down!
Draft a set of guidelines to help ensure that your brand maintains consistency as it grows and evolves. These guidelines should describe your company values and spirit, tone of voice, typography style, photographic or illustrative style, colour palette, layouts and so on. Setting these guidelines up front and implementing them across all visual communications will help you avoid ending up with an amateur-looking site or company brochure, that doesn’t properly reflect the brand.
Developing and displaying brand guidelines shows just how seriously you take your brand – and this will encourage others to do the same.
Seeking Support & Advice
It is important for businesses to realise that a brand is not a static entity that you can lock away in a brand guideline document or a marketing plan. Your brand is the environment and experiences around your business which continually develop through your actions and other stakeholder (employees, customers, clients, suppliers, etc) actions and interactions, and so it’s important to be constantly aware of your brand.
Contact us if you want to discuss how to update or create your brand and how to ensure that it is consistently and effectively developed throughout all your marketing communications and check out our details on Branding work we have done for other companies