Building your brand in a way that resonates with a wide audience is more art than science. Some of the best branding experts in the world are paid handsome salaries to work their magic and bring their employers the massive returns that strong, universally-appealing branding can supply.
Not everyone has this deep of coffers, but fortunately, not everyone needs such a wide audience, either. By selectively identifying the people who would value your products and services the most, then using their traits to build out a brand profile, even the smallest business can create an audience that is attentive to their brand message. From these initial steps, brands of any size can begin the process of building (or rebuilding) their brand from the ground up.
Read on to learn the basics of brand building, how to get started and what you can do to ensure a sturdy, resilient brand.
Start with a Brand Profile
The biggest problem people face when starting out their branding is that they go about it the wrong way. They instantly try to come up with a logo or some disjointed qualities, much like designing a car based on how the taillights and front grille will look. Instead, build your brand outward from a set of basic principles you can identify through this process:
- Start with your business model and overall business strategy. How do you plan to make revenue while controlling costs both over the long term and from day-to-day?
- Identify the unique benefits or features you can offer people. What makes you different? What special skills do your top-level staff have?
- Determine your target audiences. Who will be most likely to purchase your product? What groups promise the most consistent revenues?
- Decide on values that:
- Accurately represent your unique skills and benefits.
- Speak effectively to the audience segments you have identified.
- Use these values to form the basis of your brand, including design, marketing message voice and more.
Branding Basics: Emotion
As Entrepreneur notes, “Your brand is your promise to your customer.” These promises are both explicit and implicit. In other words, branding speaks to more than just the goods or service your business can offer. The secondary benefits, usually emotional ones, are in-built within the brand.
Take Visa. “It’s Everywhere You Want to Be.” — this tagline is ingenious because it makes two promises:
- Explicit — Your Visa card will be accepted anywhere you want to buy something.
- Implicit — Having a Visa card is like belonging to a club with members all around you.
Consider your personal brand promises to customers and how they can relate to emotions they feel. Should they feel excited about your brand? Relieved? Emboldened? Titillated? Aim for an emotional impact, and ensure that it can be reinforced in both subtle and overt ways.
Branding works mostly through repetition and reinforcement. Speed the process along by reiterating branding messages and branding images throughout everything you do. With marketing messages or promotional materials, make good use of your color scheme, logo or other branding aspects. Use your logo on all your mailed materials, for instance.
On a larger scale, ensure that every product or service you offer backs up the brand. If it works against the brand, you must either adapt the service, adapt the brand or create a new sub-brand. Never try and conflate two ideas that do not work under one branding umbrella. This maxim includes training employees in ways that go against your brand values, such as encouraging low-key store greetings when you want to be seen as a down-to-earth brand.
Learn More About Building Your Brand in Our Other Branding 101 Posts
This post is part of a series that breaks down the aspects that make a good brand and the best practices that build and reinforce it. Feel free to peruse this list as you develop your brand or refine its image. You can also take a look at our custom envelope art uploader to get an idea about how your branding might translate on a physical surface like an envelope.