Your brand may be defined simply as the image and impression customers have of your business.
Perception, in this case, is reality.
But building a brand involves much more than that.
Your brand is comprised of features that identify not only who you are as a business, but what sets you apart from everyone else.
Giants like Nike, Amazon, Gatorade, Coca-Cola and Budweiser have become branding masters over the decades. Even if you’ve never used one of their products or services, you’d likely still recognize their logos and know what they do. And if you have, then you’ve also probably had the experience in mind that they designed for you.
So how do you define your own brand and differentiate it experientially from your competitors? Here are a few tips to jumpstart your brand-building efforts.
1.) Start planning
Great execution often results from careful planning. It’s crucial that you take the time to consider some key facets: your logo, color scheme, tagline and initial message(s) – to define the who, what, how and why of the brand you’re wanting to build.
2.) Create your mission statement
Begin at the beginning of your endeavor. Ask yourself: “Why am I doing this?” Today’s customers find more value in the “how” and “why” of a business than the “what” and “where.” If you can clearly answer the “why,” you’re well on your way to understanding your purpose and how to reflect it in your brand’s mission statement. Customers tend to connect with that.
3.) Identify it
Brand identity is vital to your overall plan. It contains your designs and logos, but there’s more to it than that. You must define what your brand is, and who it’s for; this establishes your communication style and vision. This helps you identify that one thing that nobody else has or does – your differentiator – and what people will associate with on an emotional level. It will also help them mirror your visuals with those values. Again, look at Nike. One cursory glance at the swoosh and you instantly know what they’re about, and you may even mumble to yourself, “just do it.”
4.) Brand management
Once your brand’s mission statement and identity are in place, you must manage and protect them. It helps to build a style guide to set rules and guidelines for all your assets, colors, fonts, logos, etc. This will help you establish and maintain consistency not just in the messaging itself but how the messaging looks and feels. You’ll also want to create relevant workflows and conceive what you want your customers’ experience to be when they encounter your brand.
5.) Develop your voice and style
You’ve probably heard something described as being “on-brand” (or “off-brand”) when people talk about a business, perhaps in reference to an ad, video, or online content. This means that even if the content is especially creative, serious, or humorous, it’s still on-brand if the message remains in that brand’s established voice and style and aligns with its mission and values. Veering too far away from any of those can confuse your audience or turn them off altogether.
As you can see, there are a lot of moving parts to good branding, big and small. But with these guidelines, you’ll be ahead of the game when it comes to building, maintaining or improving any brand and its purpose.
For more tips about branding, make sure to check our other recent INSPIRE blogs and podcasts: