April 19, 2023
By: Kari Amarnani
Building a brand from scratch and having it stand out from the pack is no easy feat. A thousand questions come to mind.
What should my brand look like?
How should it make people feel?
Will it end up resonating with my target audience?
When you get down to it, brands are like people. They have a name, a personality, a face, a communication style, an outward appearance, and an inward mission. With these traits in place, they have different impressions on different people.
You can’t have a perfect brand, just like how there is no such thing as a perfect person. But you can come close to it by personifying who you authentically are by what you do and how you act. There are no perfect brands, but there are likable brands, and likeability can get you pretty far in the business world.
Every brand has a collection of tools that unite to exemplify who they are, such as logos, brand colors, products, voices, fonts, and so much more. These tools come together and affect how the brand is perceived. Like a domino effect, when one aspect crumbles, the others lose their acclaim.
In this complete guide, you are going to navigate every part of the brand-building process from scratch to construct a strong foundation for your business.
Humans are visual creatures. You're more likely to remember a visually attractive message than just words. As you follow this logic, the importance of logos in business branding is hard to underestimate.
Your business logo is a widespread communication tool that appears across all product packaging, website, digital banners, annual report, business cards, and more. It's the face of your brand that's seen by all your key stakeholders, particularly your customers.
Moreover, the design of a logo can have a substantial impact on brand performance and customer behavior. A logo's simplicity or complexity can influence investors' funding decisions, and its symmetry or asymmetry can boost brand equity.
Irrespective of the size of your business, it needs an identity. Your customers should know who you are, and a logo is the best way to achieve that. It can make you stand out and create your own unique space.
Here are three reasons why your business should have a great logo.
You only get one chance to make a great first impression, and your logo is the way to do that. What would you rather have your customer see: plain text on a blank page, or would you rather have an eye-catching logo design?
A well-designed logo is the best way to wow your customers instantly. It builds the right first impression and says all the right things about your business.
In the beginning, a good logo boosts brand recognition. However, as you build your brand, the same symbol can be a robust tool in cultivating brand loyalty. It gives your customer something to remember and cling to.
Depending on your business, it may be possible to distribute promotional brand merchandise that displays your logo and that your customers want to don and show off.
A business needs a logo. Period.
While a logo may not be a significant part of your business's day-to-day operations, it's still a critical brand element. Your customers expect to see a logo--even if it is simply your business name written in a nice font.
The primary goal of a successful long-term brand strategy is to let your users know that your brand exists, know its purpose, and what defines it. A branding strategy is a fluid strategy that often needs to be revisited over time based on its success (or lack thereof).
The success of a brand development strategy is not always very straight and easy to measure. Branding strategies often involve intangible, difficult-to-quantify elements and, when building this kind of strategy, defining how success will be measured should be defined from the beginning.
Every company will approach how to measure success differently, but the results will include similar elements in their strategies.
Having brand strategy templates can guide your business in the right direction. They help you organize and allocate specific business priorities in a way that unifies your brand’s elements. It may sound complicated, but when you take it one step at a time, you achieve so much for your brand.
Follow these steps to create a solid brand from the get-go:
The heart of your brand comprises its history, values, purpose, vision, and mission. Take the time to understand your brand’s belief system. People connect to ideologies that resonate with them, and the heart of your brand can form a bond that shows them why they should invest in you.
The essence of your brand is in its personality. Try thinking of your brand as a person with a distinct personality. Describe them and convey these brand traits in everything you create and do.
Your brand personality is what separates you from the pack. What are the attributes and characteristics of your brand? Is it fun and quirky? Is it formal and professional? Curious? Sophisticated?
The options are endless. And whatever personality is best suited for your brand, it must be consistently shown to the world.
How you communicate with your customers is in your brand voice and tone. The two regularly get mixed up, but their differences are stark. Once you have established your brand personality, figuring out the tone and voice is a simple feat.
Your brand voice is the way you speak to your audience. Every brand voice is unique depending on the personality and industry of a business.
Your brand tone is essentially a depiction of your attitude and disposition. If a brand voice is how you communicate, a brand tone is how your audience perceives this message.
Now that you have your brand’s heart, essence, and communication, it’s time to translate all those branding characteristics into your designs. The visual identity of your brand comprises the logo, brand colors, different types of fonts, and typography of your business.
Did you know that 65% of the global population are visual learners? People respond to designs because it is more easily digestible than content that requires effort to be perceived. In fact, people form first impressions in a matter of seconds. This is why the visual identity of your brand is fundamental in developing a bond with your audience.
What is a slogan, and why do you need it? A slogan is a catchphrase representing a product and a company, communicating the key message you want consumers to associate with your brand.
This paves the way to its key trait: slogans must be memorable. They give people an insight into what your business stands for and how your products or services will benefit them.
Naturally, a slogan must relate to your brand, but it must also paint an invisible picture of what your brand stands for. A great slogan is one that represents the essence of your business—its mission, vision, and goals. Though slogans are often just a few words, they can take hours, weeks, even months to perfect.
Here are four tips to keep in mind when creating a slogan:
What makes your business unique? How is it different from the competition? You must know your unique selling point to create an effective slogan. Once you do, you may repeat the saying in flyers, brochures, basically any marketing communication.
Instill in customers' minds that there is no business like yours, and achieve that with a memorable and impactful slogan.
You can have the best slogan in the whole world, but it won't make a difference if it does not resonate with and reaches your target market. Ideally, your customers should feel like you are talking to them directly.
Regardless of the industry, a great slogan helps you stand out from the crowd and attract the right audience. A good rule of thumb is to keep it short and straightforward— remember what you aim to accomplish with it.
Your slogan is a success once it stands the test of time. However, there is no way of knowing that now. To ensure its timelessness, try to create one that will remain relevant for the years to come. Avoid phrases or words stuck in a temporary trend that nobody would understand ten years from now.
Are you humorous, formal, abstract, sophisticated? Make sure your slogan is aligned with your brand voice to establish consistency. A specific tone across will help your branding stay consistent and speak effectively to your target audience.
Catchy and memorable slogans are vital in any marketing setting. The best company slogans are instantly recognizable, ultimately, because people remember them. And you, as the brand, should create a slogan that people want to remember.
Understanding the psychology of color can help you choose the most suitable and relevant hues for your brand. Brand colors aid in building trust and eliciting certain emotions that customers can associate with your new business.
Have you noticed that most popular brands have strong associations with their logo? This is because their brand colors (which almost always feature in their logo) strongly reflect their business principles. Some are so established that they don’t need to involve text.
Your brand colors should completely align with the emotions and impressions you want to instill in customers and prospects. Every color evokes a different response in users, but there are core symbolisms that create a subconscious connection.
Blue is a popular choice among brands because of its association with security, trust, and confidence. Blue puts people at ease with an air of calmness and serenity. Some of the top brands in the world utilize blue as a brand color because it suggests integrity and dependability.
Red is a brand color that has been gaining traction in the last couple of years. One of the benefits of using red is its ability for attention-grabbing, leading to a boost of memorability. Red evokes a fiery and visceral response that creates an atmosphere of excitement, easily capturing the attention of anyone who sees it.
Green evokes feelings of freshness and growth. From a business perspective, green can also symbolize prosperity and transparency. Choosing green as a brand color shows that you are dedicated to business growth and success.
Purple is the color of sophistication and mystery. From a business perspective, purple takes on a different light, one of luxury and royalty. Many brands use purple for their high-end products due to its association with elegance.
Yellow is a popular choice for businesses that want to exude positivity and mental stimulation. Yellow is a representation of the sun, a symbolism of optimism and hope. Similar to red, yellow can easily catch one’s attention due to its bright element.
If you want the positivity of yellow and the power of red in one combined color, orange is precisely that. Orange represents a unique blend of motivation, friendliness, and adventure. Businesses that use orange as a brand color portray an outgoing and lively zest for life to their customers.
Black is a popular favorite among many brands, and there’s a reason for it: it’s a timeless classic. Black’s sophistication effortlessly makes businesses stand out. It is a versatile choice as the color can be used for both the basic and the luxurious. Black is a powerful element that can easily mix with other colors yet always retains its appeal.
White is a representation of a blank canvas—clean and full of potential. It evokes purity and trust, making it a go-to brand color for many businesses in the healthcare sector.
Though it fits perfectly with some niched industries, white can pretty much be used for any business regardless of the industry. In fact, it’s encouraged. White as a brand color can also be categorized as the ‘space’ that emphasizes the other hues. This is known as white space, and it is a fundamental principle of design.
The ultimate goal in brand marketing is to seamlessly combine your brand’s identity, personality, and values into an effective communication structure curated for your audience.
Think of your brand as the bridge between your product and your customer.
Brand marketing is not just about plastering your name and logo in as many places as possible and expecting an increase in sales. It’s building an undeniable connection with your audience that makes them say, “Hmm, I’d love to learn more about you!”
Below are three essential brand marketing strategies that will surely help in building your brand:
Who is your target market? Who are you trying to reach? If your answer is “everybody,” then it is a rookie mistake. A target market can’t be too broad as you’d just be setting yourself up for a downfall.
Instead, focus on a clearly defined audience—the more narrow the focus, the faster the business growth. If you focus on a vast and diverse target market, your marketing efforts may become diluted and disorganized.
Your business name, slogan, and logo are fundamental key pieces for your brand. They are the elements that people will perceive the most about you, so they need to be solid, relevant, and memorable.
Remember that your business name, logo, and slogan are not your brand. They are significant aspects of your brand identity but your brand as a whole is how you communicate and symbolize these elements in everything you do.
They’re not immediately effective because they exist, they become effective when you take steps to get there.
Content marketing does many things that traditional marketing does with an edge in spreading helpful information and evoking an emotional and meaningful response in your readers. Educational content can attract, nurture, and qualify consumers to grow an inclination towards your brand.
Brand equity refers to a value premium that a company generates from a product with a recognizable name when compared to a generic equivalent.
Companies can create brand equity for their products by making them memorable, easily recognizable, and superior in quality and reliability.
Brand equity is a company’s most valuable asset, yet you won’t find it on a balance sheet. It’s an intangible asset.
Let’s look at four ways to build strong equity for your brand:
If your brand claims to be customer-centric, you need to understand the customer’s needs and values. You then need to fulfill those needs to create a positive sentiment in the customer’s mind.
To understand your customer’s needs, create buyer personas. Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers. They’re semi-fictional because even if the names and faces are fictional, their characteristics, such as demographics and pain points, are based on actual data about your target market.
Once you know the customer’s needs, ensure that your product or service goes above and beyond these needs. Build added value by surprising and delighting the customer with benefits they weren’t expecting.
Brand equity is transferable across a company’s product range. For instance, because Samsung is the market leader for high-end audiovisual products, its brand equity gets transferred to other Samsung products, such as tablets and smartphones.
Brand equity is built by competing against and beating the customer’s expectations. That will help you stand out from the competition in the customer’s eyes. At the same time, differentiating your brand from the competition is an integral part of a healthy brand strategy. Apple does this well!
Being innovative and constantly coming up with new products and services is easy to differentiate yourself from the competition. If you can offer something new, your customers will view you as standing out from the competition.
Your customer’s experience with your products, services, and brand is the most crucial factor in building your brand equity. Brand experience is built on tangible factors like product quality and features. It is also built on intangibles like the quality of your customer service.
Unless you offer your customers a great brand experience, you cannot hope to build brand equity of any significance. Since customer experience is a combination of several factors, you need to seek excellence in all of them before building your brand equity.
Building brand equity starts with a company shifting its internal and external focus to the consumer. Organizations should proactively focus on the brand image. They should also focus on how each action contributes to building awareness and perception.
Truth be told, a brand persona has the potential to impact whether a customer makes purchasing decisions, and in the best-case scenario, becomes a loyal and returning buyer.
The business strategy is reminiscent of organic everyday human interactions, making it an intuitive process with marketing-centered fine-tuning, of course.
For example, if you talk to a child, you would naturally engage with them in a fun, light-hearted yet authoritative way. If you are conversing with a senior citizen, you would communicate in a soft, gentle, and clear manner.
The same goes for brand personas—what are the attributes and qualities you need to embody to reach your audience?
So, what are some simple steps you can take to start developing your brand persona? Consider these four steps as a strong jumping-off point.
This step is essentially the research phase, and your goal is to gather as much information about your market audience to create the most accurate brand personas.
Even if you have solid and lasting relationships with your customers, it would still do you well to remove the guesswork from the equation and go straight to the source.
Get information (via chats, calls, emails, feedback forms, surveys, etc.) from your existing customers. Keep your questions as simple as possible. You may also want to consider asking them how your products and services impacted them and solved their problems.
You have all your information, and now it’s time to organize and categorize every entry. Gather your team and start listing out the customers’ ages, pain points, etc. It doesn’t need to be perfect right away. You can always refine your list later. Right now, the goal is to see the bigger picture and get a good grasp of your target audience.
Set aside an hour or two with your team because you are now at the core of the process. First, come to an agreement on how many brand personas you need for your business.
Second, identify your audiences and create drafts. Follow this format:
By the end of this process, you should ideally have a distinct set of specific brand personas. Take note that this step does not have to be finished right away. Take as much time as you need. Consider using project documentation tools to keep you rooted in your overarching goal as you go through this process.
Once you have your draft personas, it’s time to test them out. Feedback is one of the most critical aspects of managing a business and its branding structures. You don’t truly know if something works until you see it happen before your eyes.
Give out and circulate your brand personas for feedback and critique from suitable people, such as your branding team, sales team, consumers that fit these demographics, etc. Receive their feedback, and refine as needed.
At the end of the day, a brand persona is about wanting your customers to feel like they know you and are a part of your experiences as a business.
A friend, a guide, a mentor—your brand persona is the bridge to long-lasting relationships that build your business to its fruition.
Best fonts for a logo? A simple question with a complex answer.
Choosing logo fonts can be tricky. The beauty and complexity of type, combined with an exhaustive supply of options and innumerable combinations, can make the decision difficult.
While there’s no easy-to-follow formula, there are rules and tried and tested principles that can help you with how to choose a font for your logo.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when choosing a font for your brand's logo.
If you don't have typography expertise, you may not be familiar with all the different font categories. Knowing what a particular type of font communicates can be good when thinking about how to choose a font. This will ensure that the font you pick aligns well with your brand personality.
The chances that another designer has already gone through similar dilemmas to yours and found a solution is high. Designers in the past may have experimented with the fonts that you’re considering now.
Websites such as Fonts In Use are great resources to see fonts and typographic choices made by designers across different industries. See what they’ve done and how they’ve deployed different fonts in their design. Oftentimes, simple, boring, and familiar fonts do the job well.
There are good reasons why some fonts get used a lot over others for specific purposes--they work exceptionally well.
The desire to do the obvious is highest when you’re starting with a logo design project. Work through it and move forward to see how different fonts can be used in ways others might not have imagined. This is where true creativity and design skills kick in.
Avoid choosing something so blatantly obvious that it hides your critical thinking and design skills. The best fonts for logos are choosing and adapting to the design to meet the criteria mentioned above.
Start breaking rules only after you’ve understood them thoroughly. Knowing the basics will help you make intelligent choices with your logo design. It’ll also help you identify the rules made to break and how to transcend conventional choices.
You might have to go through a hundred and one ideas before you find the winner, but focus on the process more than the result and you’ll have fun. Good knowledge of type and fonts gives you the ammunition to be creative.
Learning about building a brand properly is arguably the most powerful marketing strategy in the world. Understanding your business in its entirety brings you closer to success and away from mediocrity.
Everyone wants to find brands they can wholeheartedly trust, and though you may have the willingness to provide, that is unfortunately not enough. You need to secure your branding requirements for your audience to perceive you as a business worth trusting. Why? Because it shows you care enough about your business to put in the effort.
Establish a successful brand that stands the test of time, and you’ll have everything you need.