A brand is a promise. It’s the credibility or trust that a customer has in your product, company and the experience associated with it.
Branding encompasses the look, feel and experience of using your product.
- Does it resonate with you and your needs?
- Does it promote something valuable to you?
- Is there an emotional connection?
In essence, branding is about building a relationship between you and your customer. In this article, we’ll explore what a brand is, how brands are created and why they are important to your business.
How To Develop Your Brand
What Is Brand Development?
Brand development is an important process that includes many essential tasks. It involves creating a unique brand identity, determining the target audience and designing effective marketing strategies.
The whole process of brand development takes time, dedication and lots of hard work. If your goal is to attract new customers and expand your customer base, then you need to develop a strong brand identity.
Brand development is the process of creating and nurturing a brand to increase its positive impact on your business.
Your brand is the core message you communicate to your customers. It’s more than just your logo, colors, and typeface — your brand represents the perception that people have of your company and how they feel about it.
What Is A Brand?
Branding is essentially a repeatable process that creates an emotional connection with customers through consistency in the visual language and messaging across all touchpoints.
The consumer will then associate this feeling with your product or service; this forms a positive brand association that causes them to purchase again.
The term brand comes from the Old Norse word brand, which was used to describe marks burned into animals (and later people) during the Dark Ages for easy identification. Brands are developed over time; they’re not something you can create overnight.
It takes consistency in messaging, the use of common visual language, and continued reinforcement to create a lasting impression on customers and build their trust in your company.
How To Develop Your Brand?
Developing a brand is a process that takes time, creativity, imagination, and professionalism. And if you are looking at the results of your business – whether it’s local or online – you will want to know the steps involved in developing a brand.
You may even want to ask yourself how much do you need to spend on developing my brand?
- TIP 1: Think about what your business stands for, what you are selling, and who your audience is so that you can focus your marketing efforts on this particular target audience.
- TIP 2: Create a logo or design for your business that reflects the tone and style of your branding personality.
- TIP 3: Create an overall theme for your website design and make sure that it ties into the color scheme and overall look of your logo.
- TIP 4: Make sure that you have consistency between all of the social media platforms that you use to create an integrated brand experience.
- TIP 5: Make sure that everything that is used to represent your business stays consistent with your established theme and design schemes. This includes things like packaging, advertisements and more.
- TIP 6: Have a plan in place with regards to how to continue maintaining your brand image as well as how to expand upon it in future years as you continue to develop.
CrowdSpring has a great infographic that shows the various personal branding archetypes:
Here are some steps to help you develop your brand effectively:
1. Create a logo
A logo is like your business card in the digital world. It helps customers remember you and builds trust with new clients.
Create a simple logo that represents your business well and make sure it’s easily recognizable.
2. Create your website
Your website is another way to represent your company online and showcase your products or services to potential clients.
Build an informative site that makes it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for on your site and contact you if they’re interested in learning more about what you offer.
Make sure that it’s easy to navigate on every device, including mobile phones and tablets, so everyone can enjoy their experience with you on the go!
3. Diversify social media platforms
Social media is a great way to build relationships with potential clients, especially if you run websites for small businesses or local companies.
Why Develop A Brand?
Having a strong brand helps you stand out from competitors because customers will remember your business as soon as they see or hear it mentioned.
It makes marketing easier because everyone instantly recognizes the name of your company, so it’s easy to get the word out about new products and services without having to spend money on advertising every time something new comes along.
Is Personal Branding For Me?
There’s lots of advice out there about personal branding. The consensus is that it’s a good idea for everyone, but it’s not always easy to figure out how to get started.
The first thing you have to do is decide if personal branding is really something you need to do.
Being able to explain what you do and why should be second nature if you’re a freelancer or entrepreneur, but even employees at all kinds of companies have to have a certain level of self-promotion. Personal branding is about establishing your authority in your field so that people will come to you for information, products, and services whenever they need them.
You want people to think of you when they think of your industry or profession.
The benefits of personal branding include:
Establishing yourself as an expert
When people know who you are and what experience you have, they’ll approach you with opportunities instead of the other way around.
Getting ahead in your career
Companies and organizations will seek out experts in their fields because they’ll bring value to their organizations.
Professionals in every industry are always looking for new opportunities, whether it’s a new job or a new consulting gig, and being known as an expert gives you lots of opportunities that might otherwise be closed off.
What Is Small Business Branding?
Small business branding isn’t about creating a logo or a tagline. It’s about creating a system that helps you achieve your ideal customer profile, so that anyone who is looking for your product or service finds you.
The first step is to define everything you can think of that’s related to the business: target market, product, service and industry. Then create an ideal customer profile based on demographics and psychographics (personality traits).
The next step is to identify the channels in which you want to market — say, social media, search engine optimization, and local newspaper ads. Finally, create an action plan to earn your ideal customer profile through specific tactics like blog posts and SEO keywords.
Here’s what you need to know before starting small business branding:
- Identify your audience. One of the most important steps in this process is researching the audience you are trying to reach.
- This can be done by creating buyer personas. A buyer persona is a composite sketch of the type of person who would buy your product or service. You don’t have to flesh out these sketches with names and stories, just give them enough information about their age, income level, interests, and geographic location.
How To Create A Brand Identity
Before you can create a brand identity, you have to know your brand’s story. Your brand story is the foundation of your brand identity — it’s what you stand for and it’s what people will remember about you.
- What do you want your customers to say about your business?
- What do you want them to remember?
- Does your company focus on a high-quality product or service?
- Is it eco-friendly?
- Are your employees passionate about their work and their customers?
- Do they have fun at work?
These are all things that should be reflected in your brand story.
The biggest mistake that businesses make when it comes to branding is creating a company image that clashes with their core business values and beliefs.
For example, if you run a family-friendly restaurant you shouldn’t be promoting raunchy humor like many fast food chains do
What are some examples of great brand stories:
Ethos water is a good example of a company reflecting its values into its products.
Ethos water is bottled by Starbucks and sold in grocery stores nationwide. The water is sourced from the highest quality sources, and every bottle gives back to children in need through the Ethos Water Fund.
With each purchase, Starbucks helps bring clean water closer to children. Modeled after its popular buy one give one campaign, Starbucks has developed this bottle as an extension of its philanthropic mission, which it has been dedicated to since 1971.
How To Brand Your Business
To brand your business, the first thing you need to do is come up with a name for it.
Having the right name for your business goes beyond just choosing a word or phrase.
You probably have an idea of what your business should be called, but you may not realize that there are other factors that go into choosing the perfect name. Here are five things to consider when you’re thinking of naming your business:
Avoid generic words and phrases
If you are looking for something that describes what your business does and you choose a word like “store”, “shop”, or “corporation”, then your name will likely be perceived as generic and forgettable.
Instead, think about the positive associations people have with the words you are thinking about using, then use those words in a way that makes them more descriptive than just a basic noun only.
Make it easy to spell and pronounce
This isn’t so much about making it easy for people to find you on Google (though that’s important, too). Instead, this is about making it easy for people to talk about you without sounding silly or misspelling
How To Build A Brand
The best way to build a brand is by creating something unique. For example, you can create your brand with a unique logo and slogan.
You can create your own product that customers are not able to find anywhere else.
You can also create a service that is so customized it can’t be found anywhere else.
Trying to build a brand off of another company’s success is risky because you could be seen as a competitor and lose credibility with consumers. You want to make sure that your brand is one that will last, so it’s important to create something that no one else has, or at least take steps to ensure that you are the only one who provides this service or product.
Some tips on how to build your own brand include:
Invest in yourself
By purchasing your own equipment or paying for your own services, you are showing people that you are confident in what you do and care about doing it well.
Create a website
People want to feel special when they visit your site, so give them an experience they won’t find anywhere else.
Offer videos, podcasts or other content that sets you apart from others in the industry and will keep people coming back for more.
What Words Would You Associate With Your Brand?
Your brand story is the foundation of all your promotion, marketing, and communication. It’s what customers and clients think of when they hear your name or see your logo.
It’s what they think of when they interact with you on social media. It’s what they think of when they read your articles and check out your website.
Telling the story behind your company (or product) is essential to making it stand out in an increasingly competitive market.
So how do you tell the story? You start by asking yourself some questions.
- What words would you use to describe your company?
- Do you want to be inspirational? Motivational? Fun? Hipster? Vintage? Geeky?
- What words would you use to describe your products or services?
- What qualities do you want your customers to associate with your products or services? Quality? Luxury? Affordability? Trendiness?
- What does success mean for you and your brand? Is it about financial gain, fame, fortune, or just being a good person in the world?
Now write down some answers to these questions and start compiling them into a document that will become a sort of mission statement for your brand. Be sure to include concrete examples that illustrate why people would choose to associate themselves with your brand.
What Metaphors Or Concepts Describe Your Brand?
A metaphor is a comparison between two unlike objects.
So what are you comparing your business to?
The best metaphors are more than just comparisons, they are characteristics that embody the essence of what your company is.
Trying to brainstorm the perfect metaphor can be difficult and stressful. Okay, maybe not that stressful, but it can feel like a lot of pressure to come up with the perfect metaphor.
But, do you really need that perfect metaphor? At first glance, it may seem so.
After all, you want your customers to understand exactly what your brand represents and a metaphor is an effective way to do that.
However, when crafting your brand’s message around a metaphor or concept, it’s important to not get too hung up on the details. Your customers don’t need all the details about your metaphorical choice, just enough to “get it.”
To help you in this process of choosing your brand’s ideal metaphor or concept, here are some questions for you to ask yourself:
- What does my brand stand for?
- What is at the heart of my business?
- How do I want my customers to feel when they interact with my brand?
- What problem am I solving for them?
- Do I have more than one solution?
What Is In A Brand Kit?
Designers are always being asked to create a new brand. But what exactly is a brand and how do you go about creating one?
A brand is the collection of all aspects of your business identity. This includes your logo, colors, fonts, tone of voice and style guides.
It also includes things like who works for you, your mission statement, your business cards, and even the way you answer the phone when someone calls.
The idea behind branding is that it helps to differentiate yourself from other businesses in your market, by helping people recognize you as an expert in your field who will carry out their project or supply their products with ease.
Treating a brand as a living document means that you can change it over time in response to customer feedback or changing trends in the market. It ensures that you never become stale.
Some designers get nervous about designing for a living document because it feels risky.
But if you’re following a process like the one I describe below, then this process becomes much easier to manage because it’s not something that happens in isolation and has no structure to fall back on should it go wrong.