A Guide to Branding
Before we jump in to building a brand, let’s start with what a brand is.
A brand typically comprises a fundamental design style, colours, typography and a logo that will be used across all of your marketing material.
What is branding?
The idea of Branding is setting out to attach a fundamental design style and set of features to your company or organisation. We want users and consumers to associate your brand with your service or product.
Branding goes beyond your service or product, it should be something that the customer relates to, a sense of identity. Something we can backward rationalise to relate to the customer.
In a 2015 survey by Nielsen, around 60% of shoppers said they regularly buy from brands they’re familiar with. 21% said they bought a product because they liked or related to the brand.
This article on branding gives you some ideas on how you can create a new brand or how you might undertake re-branding your current one.
Branding is the face of your business which helps consumers to easily recognise your business across all online platforms such as websites, social media accounts and offline promotional material such as business cards or promotional posters.
A branding promotion pack might include using tools such as colours, fonts, logos, straplines and much more besides, to add an impactful punch to all the marketing and advertising efforts in play.
When you brand your business and are giving a consistent message, not only are you giving the business an identity, you are also creating something that is relatable in an environment that both employees and prospective employees can understand and could feel pride for.
This article gives you some ideas on how you can create a new brand or how you might undertake rebranding your current one.
Build and follow a brand strategy
A brand strategy is more than your brand guidelines; it’s a plan with specific, long-term goals that can be achieved as your brand evolves. These goals typically revolve around your brand’s purpose, emotion, flexibility, competitive awareness, and employee involvement.
A brand strategy can help you turn that process into a well-oiled practice that keeps your brand moving toward success and recognition.
Find Your Target Audience
Before we start the process of creating a brand and diving into creating your brand assets, we must define a target audience. Who is the ideal customer? What customer did you have in mind when creating the business? What purpose does our product serve and who is it serving? We must answer these questions before going any further. What we learn about our target audience will influence major branding decisions in future so spend plenty of time narrowing down your target audience.
Define what makes you a company and what sets you apart from others
With access to any kind of information at our fingertips and endless resources and solutions for creating a business, there are probably countless competitors in your niche. With this in mind, it is vital that we create a brand that helps you break out of the noise and represent what makes you a company. We need to define what your product does and how it improves the lives of customers. When building a brand, we need to consider what benefits, values, and qualities make your company stand out.
Create your brand assets
Now for the most exciting part of the process in our eyes, building and developing the creative assets. It is important to note that without the first two steps being followed, this step can easily fall apart. Without understanding what our product is and who we are targeting, we will end up with an inconsistent brand message that does not resonate with your niche. We recommend working with a designer at this juncture. Start by building a colour palette that suits your company and product and go from there. A mix of colour and typography that fits your company is the best place to start.
What we mean by resonating with your niche is, say your company specialises in baby food, you’re not looking to use world war propaganda typography in your marketing material. This is an extreme example but focus on figuring out what kind of typography fits your product. Once we narrow down the colour palette and typography, work with your designer to find the ideal logo for your company. Take your time in getting this right, your logo is going to be on every single piece of marketing material that your company produces. From your website, to invoices, letterheads, brochures, and social media posts.
Find your brand voice and message
The next question is a bit of an abstract one. What would your brand sound like if you had a conversation with it? Spend some time having a bit of fun here. Figure out how your brand should when communicating with your target audience. Find a tone that resonates with the target audience and use this consistently. Consistency is key here. You will have multiple social platforms to juggle, blog posts and marketing campaigns and often will have multiple people working together. It is vital that they are all singing to the tone of your brand voice.
Implement your brand
An effective brand needs to be put to work. Once we have gone through the above process it’s time to saturate. Put your brand on anything that the customer interacts with. Display it on your website, social profiles, blog posts and any marketing material that comes into touch with the customer.
Your website is one of the largest parts of your company identity. Use it as an opportunity to show off your brand assets. For brand consistency, only use your predefined brand assets on your website. Your logo, typography, brand voice and colour palette should be prevalent across your website. It is vital that your website reflects your brand.
Everything you post on social media should reflect your brand. From using your logo as your profile picture, to your cover art, branded imagery in posts and top and tailed videos, this will help customers recognise your business. It is important that each post and any page information should capture your brand voice. Often brand voice is lost when multiple employees are working on social media profiles. Keep an eye out for this and make sure that you’re singing from the same hymn sheet.
If you have a physical products business, your product is probably the most tangible way that customers interact with your brand. For that reason, your packaging should reflect your new branding — in its design, colors, size, and feel.
Inconsistency is the number one branding mistake that companies make. Inconsistency diminishes your brand and confuses your customers. Recognisable and valuable brands put an emphasis on consistency and consequently they reap the benefits. When your brand is a unified presence across many platforms, customers are familiar with, recognise, and come to prefer your brand over time. Brand guidelines can help with this initiative.