A strong brand identity is essential for any business to succeed. Still, it can be challenging for newer companies and entrepreneurs to go about identifying and building their own brands from scratch.
In this article, we attempt to explain how to build your brand identity in 8 steps. If your business needs Professional Branding support, whether it’s Logo designs, Package Design and Product Branding, New Brand or Brand Refresh, Yasmeen Creative, a specialised Branding Agency focusing on Business, is ready to help.
Branding isn’t just about logos, colours or catchy slogans. Instead, branding relates to every facet of the business. Everything from the products or services you sell, your packaging, your tone of voice, employee uniforms, and even how your employees meet and greet customers.
Some mistakenly think their business doesn’t have a brand, and some think their business doesn’t need one. To understand why this is wrong, we must first understand what a Brand is. According to the American Marketing Association, “a Brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or any feature that identifies one seller’s goods or services as distinct from those of another seller”. In other words, a Brand is a set of attributes and features that distinguish you from other companies, i.e. it’s the people’s perception of your products, services or business.
Whether you are a solo entrepreneur, a freelancer, the owner of a small business or the head of marketing for a multinational corporation, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to take control of your brand or let others shape it for you.
Building your brand can seem daunting if you’ve never given it much thought before. So, here, we’ll go over a step-by-step guide on how you can get started.
Step 1: Consider Your Purpose
Most businesses know what they sell, but how many know why? Of course, the cynical answer is to make money, but this is neither inspiring nor is it often all that true. After all, there are an infinite number of ways people can make money, yet many people are particular about their careers or business. So, what is it that gets you (and your employees) up in the morning?
Let’s consider someone who chooses to open a coffee house; what might lead them to embark on such a venture? Maybe it comes from a place of passion for coffee, or perhaps this person set out to provide customers with a more ethically sourced alternative to what is currently available. On the other hand, maybe it is simply a case that coffee is what this business owner knows best, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with having your purpose defined by expertise.
As you can see, there are many reasons why someone may invest their time and effort into a particular venture. Of course, your motives will be unique to you. But whatever your reasons, people want to see purpose and emotional investment from the people they do business with, and good branding starts there. So don’t hide away from sharing your vision and mission statement with the world.
Step 2: Identify Your Audience
Establishing what you want for your brand is a good start, but you must consider what your target audience wants as well. But first, you’ll need to know who you are trying to reach. What demographics make up your target audience? Are they generally younger or older? Create a customer persona to help you narrow in on these considerations.
You’ll also need to consider your ideal customer’s preferred method of communication and where they can be found and communicated with online (if at all). You’ll probably need to conduct some market research to answer these questions. That might seem like a lot of effort, but how do you plan to communicate with them if you don’t know who your customers are?
Step 3: Uncover Your “Hero” Story
Once you know who your ideal customer is, you can hone in on what problems your products or services solve for them. But, more importantly, from a brand marketing perspective, you can identify how you will show your audience that you are capable of doing so.
Often, the best way to show customers what you can do for them is to show what you’ve done for others through the medium of storytelling. Case studies are one way of doing this. But whichever way you choose to tell your success story, the point here is to make your customer the Hero of the story and show how your product or service helped them overcome the challenge(s) they’re facing. Doing this will show your customers that your brand has their needs and desires at heart.
Step 4: Identify Your Brand’s Characteristics
If your brand were a person, what would you have to say about them? Are they techy? Professional? Fun-loving? Write a few words or phrases down on a piece of paper that you think would describe your brand. Try to be as specific as possible without making your list too long.
It might seem like a silly exercise at first, but defining your brand in this way is near-essential for tailoring your overall marketing strategy. For instance, when you come to make your logo, you can reference your characteristics to create something that fits. Perhaps something colourful and bright for a fun-loving brand or something minimalistic if your brand is more serious.
Step 5: Establish Continuity
Once you’ve established your brand characteristics, it’s vital to realize that these don’t just pertain to your marketing. Instead, every aspect of your business should reflect these characteristics. After all, it’s no good declaring yourself to be minimalistic through your branding if your storefront is chaotic. Nor is it any use portraying your brand as serious and professional if the appearance and actions of your employees suggest otherwise.
If any aspect of what you do is off-brand in your customer’s eyes, you’re quickly going to find yourself losing their trust. So, consider ways you can manifest your branding characteristics into reality. If you find that you can’t change certain things to fit, it might be the case that that characteristic is true for your brand.
Step 6: Highlight Your Differentials
What is it that makes your brand unique and special? More importantly, what does your brand do better than anyone else? Is there something about your service or products that makes you stand out from the crowd, or is there something different about your brand’s character? Chances are, you won’t be able to be better at your competition at everything, but you must be better at something.
The best brands can survive despite their inferiorities by highlighting their superior aspects. For example, McDonald’s burgers are hardly up to the standard of those from a gourmet restaurant, but they’ve thrived because they focus on consistency, convenience, and price.
Sometimes the thing that makes you distinct is something more intangible. Small bookstores, for instance, struggle to compete with Amazon or high-street retailers on selection and service. Still, many survive because the more prominent brands can’t match the local feel and experience they offer.
Step 7: Sum It All up With a Unique Value Proposition or Unique Selling Point
Also known as a unique selling point, a unique value proposition (UVP) is a feature or a characteristic that elevates and distinguishes your product or service from that of your competition. Brands generally create UVP statements that are concise and summarise all the benefits they offer to the user. UVP statements are generally found on website landing pages for the benefit of customers as well as social media and are used heavily in marketing and sales, and the act of creating one is also a great way of summing up your brand’s identity for your own sake as well.
Creating a UVP shouldn’t be tricky if you’ve gone through all the previous steps we’ve gone over here. But if you’re struggling to define your brand in short and simple terms, it might signify that something is amiss. If that’s the case, it might be worth reviewing and checking what aspect of your brand’s identity you are struggling to define. One very important point to remember, your UVP must be scalable and sustainable, or else your UVP will put you out of business as you grow.
Step 8: Consider the Future
Change is an inevitable part of any business venture. A good brand is one that can adapt to change. A great brand can adapt to these changes without needing significant alterations.
Consider what kind of changes your brand might experience in the future. For example, you might be local now, but what happens if you expand? How might that change the characteristics and core message behind your marketing? Is your purpose universal enough to be understood in new and different markets? How will you remain unique if someone copies what you’re doing? The future can be hard to predict, but it always pays to prepare.
A strong brand identity is not something you can force into existence. Nor is it something that you can develop overnight. But, the more proactive you are in identifying and building your brand, the more control you will have over how it appears to others. The result will be more control over your professional and business life.
Professional Branding Agency in London
Your brand is one of the ways your business can rise above the competition. Having an effective brand is critical to achieving your business goals. We at Yasmeen Creative have experience and a great track record in helping businesses develop tailored branding solutions that connect with their target audience and elevate them from the competition.
We are a full-service London branding agency focusing on start-ups and small businesses with big ambitions. We offer value, experience, free support, and a personal team that adjusts its approach according to your preferences.
Whether you need new branding, complete rebranding, or a simple brand strategy, turn to Yasmeen Creative today. Contact us at +44 20 451 90 900 for your FREE one-hour consultation.