What is branding?
A general definition is: A type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name. I’d say it not only just visual aesthetics but more like lots of little pieces of a puzzle that all need to be connected in order for your brand to be easily recognized and understood by a targeted audience. Creating a brand can seem overwhelming and knowing the best place to start might be the most challenging part.
It’s always best to start internally, no design just yet. You need to start off by getting into the nitty-gritty of who your most potential customer base could be. Looking at similar brands might be the best place to begin defining that: Who’s their core target and how are they portraying their brand? How much are they charging for their good/ services. How is their brand perceived (aspirational, affordable, chic, fun, serious, feminine, edgy)?
Based on your research, it will be clearer as to where your brand should stand among competitors and to who your brand should be talking to and how (demographic market segmentation):
- Family Situation
- Annual Income
There are deeper phases of market and customer segmentation such as “Psychographic segmentation": Personality traits like Values, Attitudes, Interests, Lifestyles, Psychological influences, Subconscious and conscious beliefs, Motivations, Priorities, Behavioral segmentation: Purchasing habits, Spending habits, User status, Brand interactions and Geographical Segmentation: ZIP code, City, Country, Radius around a certain location, Climate, Urban or rural.
There are a couple public online market research tools, a good option if you are just starting off like the U.S. Census Data Tools (link: https://www.census.gov/data/data-tools.html) , SBA’s Office of Entrepreneurship Education Resources (linkhttps://www.sba.gov/offices/headquarters/oee/resources/2836)
After doing some good research, it’s time to roll-out your brand’s aesthetics. Once you have a game plan of who your target consumer is it should be a good guide of your brand’s overall personality and look.Obviously the name of your brand is critical. What should your logo look like aligned to your findings? What could be some of your visual graphics to support your brand such as photography, illustrations, icons and typography, what will your website look and feel like?
When creating a brand you need to make sure that it’s:
Unique - What is different both from the tone of voice and design elements that make it stand-out from other similar products / services out there?
Has a Reason to Believe- In the current marketplace competition is fierce. What makes your brand different, is it better quality? Is it all eco-friendly? More bang for your buck? What will make your audience believe in your brand in order to create more conversions?
Synergistic - Remember what I said about the puzzle pieces? This means that whatever you show, whether it’s POS, social media, your website ect.. it all needs to feel unified, as if a single designer did everything and worked with the same copywriter.. this could well in-fact be the case but once a brand starts growing that is not very likely.
Duplicatable - So let’s say your brand has exploded and grown out a massive speed, you don’t have time to walk every new hire into what your brand stands for and all of it’s design elements ect. Your brand needs to be easy to understand, not only for your customers but for team also.
Once you’ve figured out your logo and design elements as well as tone of voice for your brand, it’s crucial to create a brand guideline. This should be your brand’s “bible”.. anyone who helps build your brand should look at this and clearly understand what your brand is all about and how it should be represented for consistency. A good and affordable online platform for this if you don’t have time to design one is Frontify.
Overall, you need to know that creating a brand is not a quick /easy exercise. A brand is so much more than just a logo or a social media post — it’s a personality for your business, it’s a way of expressing not only your goods and services, but your ethics, reasons, and what it stands for.