Let’s start with a very simple discussion about what a brand is (and what a brand isn’t!).
Simply put, a brand is how your company looks, feels and behaves. Every interaction your company has, both internal and external, is a representation of your brand.
It’s far too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that a brand is what your company’s logo is or that sticking that logo on something means it’s ‘on-brand’. Don’t get me wrong, this is a vitally important part of your brand, but it is just one part.
Often, it’s better to think of your brand as a person and think about what makes up that personality.
Here are 5 simple ways to get your brand started
1. Who are you targeting?
This is where it all starts, with your customer. In order to define your brand, it has to be right for your audience. Do some research into who those people are and how they might interact with your brand. Understanding what those people are like and how they work is key to building a brand that will be able to connect and resonate with them.
Try and build some personas (there’ll be more than one!) of your audience and then you can keep these in mind to ensure your content and marketing efforts fit with that persona. Be as specific as you can and think about all of the different people in your audience.
2. Brand Mission
Next up is your brand mission statement. This is a simple way of explaining what your company does to the outside world and focusses thinking internally.
In its most basic form, a mission statement should tell people what your company does, how, and why.
Below are some mission statements from famous brands to help get you started
IKEA: To create a better everyday life for the many people.
Starbucks: To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time.
Nike: To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world.
*If you have a body, you are an athlete
3. Personality and Voice
We discussed at the start of this article that part of what your brand is, is how it behaves and how people feel when they interact with you. This is your brand personality. Try and think of some words and phrases here that you would want users to feel or think about you when they come into contact with your brand.
Are you bold? Positive? Progressive? Easy to deal with? Creative? Formal? Casual?
All of these words and phrases mean different things for your brand in both the way it speaks and acts. As an example, if you choose to say your brand is easy to deal with, but then your website makes it difficult to get in touch with someone. Or your communications are overly complicated, your audience isn’t going to get the impression that you’re easy to work with. Pick a few values you think are important and make sure they resonate throughout your brand.
4. Logo and Appearance
So far we’ve mainly been working behind the scenes to get your brand up and running and now we get to the visual part. Your appearance.
As with all of this work, it’s not quite as simple as ‘things that look nice’. Is has to reflect your personality and all that work you’ve just done on your brand. Here are some elements you need to consider in your brand appearance:
- Typography – The fonts you use in your branding and communications. Think about how easy they are to read, do they show your personality? E.g. Think about how Times New Roman might feel a lot more formal and strict than Comic Sans!
- Colours – Think about what colours mean to you and what portrays your brand best. Are you picking bold, strong colours, or soft pastels and what does this say about your company? You might associate green with outdoors and the environment. Or red with bold, daring companies.
- Logo – This is the face of your brand and it has to be recognisable and fit with your personality. It should communicate who you are and what you do and hopefully have some kind of lasting impressions on your audience.
The final step is to put all of that into practice. A brand should feel consistent no matter how someone interacts with you or where. It should also be consistent internally. Are your staff living up to the brand and behaving in a way that matches the personality you’ve crafted.
Do your communications feel like they’ve been written by the same voice?
It’s a good idea to create some brand guidelines so that anyone who joins your company or any agencies that work with your company can get that same feel and can make sure that the work they’re producing reflects them.
So that a whistle-stop tour to brand building to get you started – Good Luck!