What is a Brand?The place to start when branding your business is at the basics of brand understanding. What makes a brand and why is it important? Primarily, branding is what identifies you and your business. It is how your customers and clients immediately recognise, identify, or find you in a sea of other products and services. Weak brands will stop here, assuming that a good logo is sufficient. In fact, branding incorporates much more:
- The environment of your business, whether that’s your offices or physical storefront
- All printed and physical media including letterheads, packaging, signage, business cards, and flyers
- Online presence such as your website and any online advertising. This also includes your social media presence
- Content Publishing
- The way sales and customer services are handled, aftercare and support also play a large role here
- Internal activities with your colleagues or employees
What is Brand Identity?Identity is how your customers and clients see you. Immediately this will include any visuals you associate with your brand such as fonts, logos, slogans, and images. Beyond the visual though, brand identity also informs business choices. Customer service, communication, marketing, team building, staff morale, and even how you dispose of office waste can all be informed by brand identity. Your brand identity is what you know your brand to be and what it is marketed as – this in turn informs customers and clients of your brand image. Remember that your brand is your reputation. What you build into your brand now is often how people will see it for a long time to come and it can be difficult and costly to regain reputation once lost. Larger businesses and corporations will spend millions to rebrand because they understand the importance of brand identity and how their reputation as a business can affect their bottom line.
What is Brand Image?Brand image is how your brand is perceived. All the associations that the public and your potential business contacts make between your business and its ideals, values, and message make up brand image. Consistency is key in building a brand. You can’t expect to build a recognisable brand if any part of it is constantly changing. Knowing what you want your brand to be from the outset is important. You need to have a clear vision for how you want to portray your business as well as how you want people to interact with your business. You also need to realise that most brands take time to get established. If you are just starting out, your brand may take a while to build a presence, to gain a following, and to cultivate an image. There are a few tricks you can use to build your brand faster though, and gaining momentum right from the start can be a powerful tool in business development.
How do you build a brand quickly?If you plan to build a brand in a short amount of time, there are two things you need to understand intricately from the start:
- Who you are as a business
- Who your customer or client is
- Who are your most likely customers or clients?
- Where do they live?
- What do they value?
- How much money do they spend on your product or service?
- Are they brand loyal?
- What are the basic demographics (including background, culture, language, age, and gender)
- What excites them?
- What makes them angry?
- What brands or companies do they currently frequent and why?
- What is the next market up?
- Who are the clients or customers you would like to win over but who will be harder to reach?
- Why will this market be harder to reach?
- How does this market differ from the first?
- What time scale do you think is appropriate for reaching this market?
- Who are you as a business?
- What does your business value?
- How seriously does your business take itself?
- What makes your business unique?
- Does your business have a cause behind it or unique drive that can be used to bolster sales?
- What thoughts, words, or images do you want people to associate your business with?
What are the 4 steps of branding?Branding can feel like an overwhelming job, especially if you sit down with such a big task and no clear starting point. We’ve broken down branding into four easy-to-follow steps to help you handle your branding and get your business recognised and established. Creating your brand strategy should involve these four steps:
- Define who your business is and what you do
- Define your audience
- Create an official and professional brand resource pack
- Communicate, market, and stay on message
Define who your business is and what you do
Define your audience
Create an Official and Professional Brand Resource Pack
- Colours (with their specific codes for matching later on)
- Style of image (for example, cartoons or photos)
- Placement of slogan in relation to logo
- Aesthetic – especially if you have a storefront, website, or social media presence.
Communicate, Market, and Stay on Message
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