A brand is an established identity for a business or organization, used to distinguish that company from other competitors. But more than that, your brand is the vehicle that carries your company’s reputation, and often the core of your marketing and advertising strategy.
Needless to say, much of your success depends on your ability to design a powerful brand identity.
But what is it that makes a brand effective, and how can you develop one from scratch?
Why Your Brand Matters
First, let’s talk about why your brand matters so much for your company’s success.
- Distinctiveness. Your brand is what sets your company apart from your competitors. What is it that makes you unique? A signature logo can instantly make your brand stand out, allowing you to attract more customers. And if you have an all-encompassing identity that blows other companies out of the water, you’ll have an even greater competitive edge.
- Memorability. Branding is also closely tied to memory; we’re much more likely to remember a company with an interesting logo and a signature set of values than a company with a generic name and image. This makes it more likely that your customers will be loyal, and makes your advertising more effective.
- Identity. Building a brand is a way to establish your company’s identity. In other words, what is this company’s personality? What does this company stand for? People won’t know unless you go out of your way to demonstrate it.
- Advertising. Finally, your brand standards will form the basis for most of your marketing and advertising campaigns. Branding serves to unify these campaigns, so your brand can be presented consistently; it’s also a way to elevate your messaging, and ensure it’s received more positively.
Creating a Brand From Scratch
How can you create a brand from scratch?
- Work with a professional. First, don’t try to put together a brand by yourself unless you have significant experience in brand creation. It’s much better to hire a professional, whether it’s a branding agency or an independent contractor. Experienced professionals know what it takes to create an effective brand, and they’ll help you decide which elements and characteristics should be exhibited by your brand.
- Identify your target audience. Your brand should be designed to appeal specifically to your target audience, so to make things work, you’ll need to identify that target audience. Do your market research if you haven’t already, and figure out what types of people will be buying your products and services. What are their values? What’s important to them?
- Research your industry. Take some time to research branding in your industry as well. Look at your competitors, and consider the elements that make their brands unique. How do their brands convey the nature of the industry? What do people like about these brands? Are there certain hallmarks, like colors or shapes, that seem common for brands in this industry? Should you utilize these in some way?
- Establish your brand differentiators. Examine your competition closely and figure out what it is that makes your brand unique. Is it better pricing? Better customer service? A more fun, down-to-earth attitude? Take note of this, and make sure it ends up at the forefront of your brand identity.
- Define your core values. Think about the core values of your brand. What is it that you’re hoping to achieve, and how are you going to achieve it? How are you and your employees going to work in a typical day? Are some core values more important than others? How do they play into your brand overall?
- Produce your main assets. At this point, you’ll have enough information to start creating your brand from scratch (or your professional designer will). You can start producing the central assets of your brand, including your brand name, your logo, and the central colors of your identity. These will help shape the rest of your brand and your future marketing materials.
- Develop your tone and secondary characteristics. You’ll also want to spend time crafting the “tone” of your brand—in other words, the voice you’ll use in your messaging. If this brand had a personality, what would it be like? Can you use traits and characteristics to describe it?
- Get feedback and evolve. Finally, work on getting feedback, and make tweaks to evolve the brand. What do your current or prospective customers think about your brand? Are there things that are missing, or is your branding confusing in any way?
You won’t be able to create your brand overnight, especially if you want it to have lasting power. This is usually a process that takes weeks of research, experimentation, and fine-tuning. Be patient and keep your brand goals as your top priority. With the right brand established, everything else will fall into place.