When you have a business, it is essential to give it a face. Creating a recognizable, strong, and distinctive brand adds value to your company and represents a differentiator among many competing companies.
There are several steps and information needed to build branding. The process takes into account several factors that require study and attention. To begin to better understand how to do the ideal branding for your company, the first step is to understand the concepts.
What is brand?
The brand is the impression that is left on the consumer, that is, it is the perception that he has of a certain company.
The definition of the mission, the choice of design (logo, colors, fonts, packaging), marketing, website, social networks, customer service, slogan, quality, price, the company’s philosophy and culture are all aspects that influence the formation and consolidation of a brand.
Basically, if you want to ensure that your product or service will be recognized and gain a loyal following, it is indispensable that it has a consistent and well thought-out brand.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos sums it up well: “your brand is what other people talk about when you are not there”. Therefore, your brand is your reputation.
Branding is nothing more than building and managing this brand, analyzing every detail needed to make it strong and more present in the market.
How is the branding process done?
You may be lost when faced with the challenge of putting down on paper everything your company stands for, and making the brand you dream of come out of it. So we first need to analyze and differentiate three points that will help you create something unique, impactful, and compatible with your vision: brand strategy, brand identity, and marketing.
Brand strategy is the foundation, the initial phase that requires you to define and reflect on the particulars of your company: what is your mission, what differentiates you from your competitors, what is your target audience, what is your voice and your story. In this you will make clear to your consumers relevant issues, such as what makes you worthy of their trust or how you will solve problems.
Brand identity is how you present yourself to the public and how they interact with your company, with your values, your message, and the visual elements such as the logo, the color palette, the fonts, the website design, the packaging, etc. All these elements must be consistently present in everything that surrounds the brand to ensure that consumers will recognize it.
Marketing is about communication. You need to understand the best way to bring attention to your product or service, and you must do this while always remembering your values and your target audience. Remember we said that you have to define them? So when you know what you want to communicate and who you want to communicate it to, it is much easier to promote your brand.
But what now? How to put it into practice? Come with us to enumerate the steps:
1. Discovering your mission and purpose
The questions you should ask yourself are: what motivated you to create this brand? What are your goals? What factors differentiate you from others? And why should people trust you?
The truth is that there are several reasons why someone decides to start a business. Understanding what drives you and establishing what you intend to build on that will allow your consumers to connect in a deeper way, understanding what they are buying. You see that the relationship ends up being not merely one of economic interest, but of identification with your brand’s culture and philosophy.
Apple is one of the biggest references when it comes to branding. They have set a mission to “bring the best personal computing products and support to students, educators, designers, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and consumers in more than 140 countries around the world,” and they follow those words to the letter. To do this, they invest heavily in product quality, marketing, and visual identity. They are so good that everywhere you go you find devoted fans of the brand.
2. Doing the research
To build something from scratch or even come up with a new identity for your brand, it is interesting to investigate how other companies in the same business are doing. The intent is not to copy – of course, originality is key! – but rather to assess where they are getting it right and where they are going wrong, so that you can show how you stand out from them.
A good way to do this is to put together spreadsheets with questions to analyze: is your competitor consistent with your message and visual identity? What is the quality of the products and services? What are the customer evaluations? How is the brand promoted, both online and offline?
After answering these questions, it is time to discover their similarities and, mainly, what we have already talked about a few times here: their differential! After all, you need to convince people to choose you. Is your product cheaper? Or does he have a particularity that no other has? Is your story more inspiring? Try to find the elements that can make consumers give you a chance.
3. Defining your target audience
You need to be very specific. There is no way to please all people, nor to meet the needs of all groups. Therefore, you need to conclude what your target audience is. From there, you can shape your brand based on their behaviors, preferences, and lifestyle.
They need to understand and identify with the product or service that is being offered. And how can you meet them? Studying and researching! Some factors must be taken into consideration, such as age, gender, geographical location, purchasing power, motivations, influences, and affinities.
4. Demonstrating its qualities and benefits offered
Up there we told you that you need to find what distinguishes you from other brands. Now you need to let your customers know about it. Try to make it clear what you can offer that no one else can, or at least that no one else will do better than you!
You need to show confidence that those outlined points are indeed your best characteristics and that you are ready to honor them. There is no point in listing qualities that do not reflect reality.
An example of this is Headspace, which has the purpose of teaching meditation. On their website, you can read about the many benefits of the meditation exercises available in their application, such as reduced stress and anxiety, improved sleep quality and mood, and increased concentration, among others. They make a point of emphasizing that all these benefits are based on scientific studies, which gives them credibility.
5. Giving your brand a voice
Finding your voice amidst different businesses trying to achieve some success is crucial. To do this, you need to have stipulated what we have already listed: your mission and your target audience, i.e. know why you are talking and to whom you are talking.
Do you want your brand to be more professional? Or that it be more friendly? Fun? Technique? The possibilities are countless.
Once you have found your voice, you must always reinforce it. Whether on your website, on your blog, or in social media posts, it must be present in a consistent and coherent way. You can even go behind the scenes, tell real stories, describe your products and services in a way that matches your style – all to ensure that your brand personality shines through!
Magazine Luiza has done a great job in embracing the social responsibility that every company should care about. It is a way to define and use its voice as a brand that is aware of the social impacts of its attitudes. Last year they launched a trainee program aimed only at black people, encouraging inclusion and diversity within the labor market.
6. Telling your story
Why did you decide to create your brand? How was this process? What motivated you to take this very important step? Telling your story provides a greater emotional connection with your consumer.
Explaining who you are, what your goals are, and what made you get here will allow the client to understand why they should bet on your brand and, consequently, on what you represent. Do this in a clear and simple way, so that the message gets across satisfactorily.
Do you know how Netflix started? In 1997, when it was founded, it worked with movie rental, but, after a year, it migrated to the service of sending DVDs by mail. With the passage of time and the new demands and habits of society, it began to offer movies and series by streaming, becoming the largest platform in the industry.
7. Including your brand in all aspects with consistency
In everything you do, your brand must be present. Whether in the physical space or online (whether on a website, on a social network, on a business card, or in an office), customers need to recognize you immediately in that environment.
This covers not only the logo, but the color palette, the photos, the fonts, the messages you want to convey – every detail must mirror the brand and its identity. And you may have already read this word several times in this post, but it is worth remembering once again: consistency is the key! Consumers are looking to make associations, and if you confuse them with different visuals and ideas on each platform, you will fail to create a strong identity for your brand.
One company that cares about ensuring a focused experience for its brand is Nespresso. They sell a lifestyle of luxury and elegance to those who consume their products. When entering one of its stores or boutiques, created to offer unique moments to coffee lovers, you can smell the aroma and be inserted in that atmosphere. It is possible to taste the most varied types of coffee. On the capsules, on the machines on display, and even on the chocolate that is offered at the end of the purchase, you can see the Nespresso name printed on them.
8. Defending the brand
You need to believe in your brand! Nobody knows it better than you, so who else could spread it so well? Defend her tooth and nail and show everyone how amazing she is.
Look for employees who are also committed to following your brand’s messages, values, and missions. A team that has ideals aligned with those of your company will be able to maintain the culture you have adopted.
9. Creating the logo and visual identity
The process of creating a logo is complex and requires a lot of attention to detail. It is important to have a lot of creativity and technique to achieve an original result that represents your company well, after all, the logo is the element that will stamp your brand – remember: it must be visible on all platforms and products. Therefore, it is best to have some professional help you.
The logo must be memorable and easy to recognize! A customer must look at it and understand his connection to what the brand symbolizes. Ideally, anyone can identify it as the face of your brand, and as soon as they lay their eyes on it, make an immediate association.
A well thought-out slogan is also a way to make your brand be remembered. Try to imagine a simple, yet impactful phrase that sums up your purpose and values.
Some guidelines should be established that will help maintain the desired uniformity, such as logo size and positioning, color palette, typography, fonts, iconography, photography, and web elements. Define all these points and stick to them when making art and new visual components.
As for the colors, it is best to choose one palette and use it all the time, with the consistency that we have already talked about. It is good to be aware of the differences in light and dark mode (which are options that only affect the virtual plane), where you will need palettes that are specific to each situation, but are similar.
About the font, an interesting idea is to also define a palette. There are two main types of typeface: that of your logo (which may or may not be used elsewhere), and the font(s) used for everything else.
Choosing where to place the logo can be tricky. Good placements are top left or bottom center, but it depends on each case. Try not to make the design polluted. And if you have more than one version of the logo, you must determine when each option will be used.
Both photos and videos can be edited with the same filters, for example, so that the visual style is demarcated. Or they can even be composed in a specific way to reflect the brand’s visual identity.
Other relevant tips that we think are worth mentioning are: repeat graphic elements, that is, choose a specific element to represent something and always use it for the same purpose (try creating vectors for ease of use); observe the scale – guidelines for determining the sizes and formats according to each situation are also recommended; and stay tuned to the writing, silly mistakes can make a bad impression.
For us to realize the impact of a brand’s visual identity in a not-so-common situation, just take a look at the band Gorillaz. Who would have imagined a music band as a brand so visually oriented? The creators have devised four fictional animated members, with a whole universe for these characters. This allows your fans and listeners to have an experience that goes beyond the auditory realm and to interact with the band in a way that is very different from the conventional way.
Joseph Okpako/WireImage on Getty images
10. Investing in marketing
We have previously mentioned marketing as one of the points that deserve care. There are many ways to promote your brand, but online marketing has gained a lot of momentum in recent years.
Your brand’s website is a valuable tool to grow your brand. The customer visits this site to learn about your products, services, values, and history, and needs to have a pleasant experience regarding both aesthetics and functionality. In addition, the content needs to captivate you. Oh, and you must have the domain name registered, the hosting, and a good content management system (WordPress is a great option, and it’s free!).
Social media is the best and most up-to-date way to start a relationship with a consumer. You need to craft original, quality content that encourages the follower to interact. When you form a community that participates and cares about your posts, you can ensure the loyalty and trust of these people. It is basically a way to connect more intimately with your customers.
Email is another pertinent tool for marketing your brand. Set up a list with subscribers via pop ups or sidebars on your site. The messages sent can contain promotions, campaigns, news, blog posts, and any information that might interest the customer. In e-commerce, it is quite common to send e-mails when the consumer puts an item in the cart and does not finish the purchase, for example; it is a way to make him come back to the site and take the product.
There are also paid advertisements. Google ads, Facebook and Instagram are examples of famous platforms for doing this kind of marketing. You should think about your target audience and come up with a structured and organized campaign, with a creative and attractive design and the right keywords.
Regarding online searches, we suggest you pay attention to how the content you are going to produce can be found (look at the words that can make your site appear as a result), what is the best frequency of posts, and on which days to post. Define a clear search engine strategy.
Analyzing the data provided by Google Analytics will help you understand user behaviors and monitor their activities. It is an opportunity to discover your successes and mistakes and, consequently, what can be changed, constantly improving the experience that your brand offers. For the same purpose, you can also make polls, surveys, read comments. It is based on this data that it is possible to delineate a stronger marketing strategy.