You’ve likely heard of branding before. But what does branding do? What are the steps to achieving a successful one? We’ll walk you through the branding process and the importance of brand strategy.
Where do you begin? First things first, you need to do some research. What does the market look like for your business? How are your competitors branded? How does your management envision your company?
To answer these questions, you’ll need to look both inside and outside of your own structure. Within the team, it’s time to clarify the overall vision. Go over goals you have and strategies that can make them a reality. Do you all agree on the values of your business? Interview key management positions to find out.
Outside of your team, you’ll need market research. Look at your competitors. Conduct marketing, technology, legal, and language audits. What makes up these existing brands and how does their architecture work?
Now that you know more about the landscape, dig deeper into your own brand. Where do you want to be positioned in a customers mind? Are you the business that offers quality products, the affordable option compared to competitors, or the luxurious high-end brand? When positioning your brand, make sure it aligns with other aspects of your branding. If you don’t have a name already, pulling one from this step is not a bad idea.
It’s time to clarify the main values of your business. Nail down your values, as well as the attributes that fall beneath that. Think of the value as the guiding principle. The attributes, then, are the tangible examples of how those values are acted on. For example, say you determined one of your brand values is integrity. From there, some of your business attributes may be approachable, genuine, and stability. Keep in mind, it pays off to decide and communicate your values, as 89% of shoppers stay loyal to brands that share their values.
In this stage, it’s important to determine what you have in mind for the future. Creatively and strategically, get an idea of what you envision for the future. Sometimes it helps to check out case studies on how to represent a brand. If you’re having a hard time seeing these more abstract ideas translate into a finished business idea, check out how Target did it.
Here is where the visuals begin. Think big picture first. Now is not the time to design business cards—instead think of the look and feel of the entire brand. Continuing with Target as example, when you think of them you have a strong sense of their company visually. The bold red, the bullseye motif, their simplicity, and their boldness all spell out who they are. What does your company look like? If you do not have a designer on the team, now is an essential time to get one involved.
An identity goes past just a logo. To have a strong, cohesive brand, you’ll want to develop your design, imagery, sensory inputs, color palettes, and typography. Overall, you’re giving a voice and personality to your business.
The next steps are finalizing your identity and utilizing it in applications. Once the look and feel is determined, touchpoints are the next consideration. A touchpoint is any point of interaction with a customer or potential customer at any stage of the customer journey. Touchpoints serve many purposes. They help unite a brand, connect big picture strategy with the details, and interact with the customer’s experience.
Some examples of touchpoints are a website, letterheads, print materials (think brochures and more), packaging, advertising and the store environment. These are all opportunities to solidify who your business is. In turn, it’s also an opportunity to confuse customers. This is why its crucial to develop a cohesive brand identity first.
The last stop in the process includes involving others. If applicable, share your development with employees not a part of the decisions. Launch internally first to work out any kinks. After making needed tweaks to any touchpoints or restructuring strategy, it’s time to launch externally. Make sure everyone is on the same page about how and when this step happens.
For continued future use, you can develop brand standards and guidelines. Think of this like a map of your brand that employees can use for future applications. This can be made up of color palette, type usage, powerpoint templates, a copywriting voice, and anything else that ensures cohesion in the future. In fact, if you consistently present your brand the same, regardless of the platform, it can increase revenue by up to 23%.
The Branding Process
How important is branding? It’s true, you don’t technically need to complete all of these steps to create a business. But for a business to see longterm success, it’s vital for them to understand and communicate who they are. Figuring out your brand process helps strongly position you in your customers mind. There are many great products and services out there, likely within your segment of the market. Branding can help you figure out and spread awareness on why you’re different than others. In turn, you can convert more people into customers. Don’t overlook the the importance of a strong brand.
Need help figuring it all out? We’re the brand experts at Expert Media Design. Whether you’re an established company who skipped this step or are branding a new business, we can help.