HOW TO BUILD A BRAND?
How to build a brand is a difficult task with many complicated work that you may not know where to start. These are many questions that inevitably come up when you start trying to connect the bridge between what you’re selling and who you’re trying to reach.
So what exactly is a “brand”?
A brand isn’t just a recognizable name and logo that distinguishes you in a crowded market. In other words, your brand is how people perceive you wherever they interact with your business—both the impressions you can control and the ones you can’t. Actually, each person has a brand too. We each have a name, a face, a style, a way of communicating, different impressions we make on different people, and what they say about us when we’re not in the room. Likewise, businesses have names, products, logos, colors, fonts, voices, and reputations to manage that make up who they are and affect how they’re perceived.
Building a brand needs consistent and maintaining that consistency as you extend your brand to every part of your business. But it all starts with establishing what that consistency is going to look like and the feeling you want it to evoke.
Here are 7 steps to build a brand from the scratch:
Find out your place in the market
Before starting to make any decisions about your business brand, you need to have knowledge about current market: potential customers and current competitors. Here are some ways to do that:
- Google your product or service category and analyze direct and indirect competitors that come up.
- Check subreddits that relate to your customers and eavesdrop on their conversations and product recommendations.
- Talk to people who are part of your target market and ask them what brands they buy from in your space.
- Look at the relevant social media accounts or pages your target audience follows and are receptive to.
- Go shopping online or offline and get a feel for how your customers would browse and buy products.
Besides, make a note when you are doing things above:
- Who your “lowest hanging fruit” customers are—the ones you could most easily sell to.
- Who your top of mind competitors are—the brands that are established and known in the market.
- How your customers speak and what they talk about—the interests they have and the language they express them in.
Define your brand’s focus and personality
In the beginning, your brand has no value to other people. It’s important to find your focus and let that inform all the other parts of your brand as you build it. Here are some questions and branding exercises to get you thinking about the focus and tone of your brand.
- What’s your positioning statement? A positioning statement is one or two lines that stake your claim in the market. Your unique value proposition is the one thing you’re competing on. Find it, go in on it, and make it a part of your brand’s messaging.
In detail, your positioning statement should go something like…
We offer [PRODUCT/SERVICE] for [TARGET MARKET] to [VALUE PROPOSITION].
Unlike [THE ALTERNATIVE], we [KEY DIFFERENTIATOR].
Your unique value proposition is the one thing you’re competing on. Find it, go in on it, and make it a part of your brand’s messaging.
- What words would you associate with your brand?
One way to look at your brand is as if it was a person. What would he or she be like? What kind of personality would your customers be attracted to? You need to focus on how to build a brand personality.
- What metaphors or concepts describe your brand?
Thinking about your brand as a metaphor or personifying it can help you identify the individual qualities you want it to have. This can be a vehicle, an animal, a celebrity, a sports team, anything—as long as it has a prominent reputation in your mind that summons the sort of vibe you want your brand to give off.
Choose a business name
Depending on the kind of business you want to start, you can make the case that your name matters very little or it matters a lot.
As we’ve said before, a brand is so more than a name. The personality, actions, and reputation of your brand are really what give the name meaning in the market. But as a business owner, your company’s name is probably one of the first big commitments you have to make. It’ll impact your logo, your domain, your marketing, and trademark registration if you decide to go that route (it’s harder to trademark generic brand names that literally describe what you sell).
You can use our Business Name Generator to brainstorm some names, or try one (or a combination) of the following approaches:
- Make up a word like Pepsi.
- Reframe an unrelated word like Apple for computers.
- Use a suggestive word or metaphor like Buffer.
- Describe it literally (caution: easy to imitate) like The Shoe Company
- Alter a word by removing letters, adding letters, or using Latin endings like Tumblr (Tumbler) or Activia.
- Use the initials of a longer name like HBO (Home Box Office)
- Combine two words: Pinterest (pin interest) or Facebook (Face + Book)
- Turn a string of words into an acronym: BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke)
It’s also a good idea to run your name by a focus group of close people, if for no other reason than to make sure it doesn’t have an unintended meaning or is too similar to something else that you might’ve missed.
Pick your brand’s colors and fonts
When you’ve got a name down, you’ll need to think about how you’ll visually represent your brand, namely your colors and typography.
- Choosing your colors
Colors don’t just define the look of your brand; they also convey the feeling you want to communicate and help you make it consistent across your entire brand. Also help you distinguish with your competitor.
- Choosing your fonts
After choosing color, pick two fonts at most to avoid unnecessarily confusing visitors: one for headings and one for body text (this doesn’t include the font you might use in your logo).
Furthermore, you can use Font Pair to browse from a wide selection of fonts that go well together and download them if necessary.
Write a slogan
A catchy slogan is a nice-to-have asset—something brief and descriptive that you can put in your Twitter bio, website headline, business card, and anywhere else where you’ve got very few words to make a big impact. Always remember that you can always change your slogan as you find new angles for marketing—Pepsi has gone through over 30 slogans in the past few decades.
Specifically, a good slogan is short, catchy, and makes a strong impression. For example:
- Stake your claim: Death Wish Coffee—”The World’s Strongest Coffee”
- Make it a Metaphor: Redbull—”Redbull gives you wings.”
- Adopt your customers’ attitude: Nike—”Just do it.”
- Leverage labels: Cards Against Humanity—”A party game for horrible people”.
- Write a rhyme: Folgers Coffee: “The best part of wakin’ up is Folgers in your cup.”
- Describe it literally: Aritzia—”Women’s fashion boutique”
Design your logo
A company logo is probably one of the first things that come to mind when you think about building a brand. And for good reason. It’s the face of your company after all, and could potentially be everywhere that your brand exists.
Ideally, you’ll want a logo that’s unique, identifiable, and that’s scalable to work at all sizes (which is often overlooked). Consider all the places where your brand’s logo needs to exist. To make your life easier, get a square version of your logo that has an icon element that remains recognizable even at smaller sizes.
The following are some of the different logo types you can take as references. Keep the colors and fonts you chose in mind to make sure they work together with your logo to convey your brand.
- Abstract: Google Chrome logo
An abstract logo has no explicit meaning. It’s just a shape and colors that you can’t easily tie back to anything in the real world.
- Mascot: Wendy’s logo
These logos are often represented by the face of a character. They may humanize your brand, but be aware that they are an antiquated style now and only recommended in certain contexts (e.g. you’re deliberately going for a retro look).
- Emblem: Starbucks logo
Emblem logos are often circular and combine text with an emblem for a bold and regal look. If the design is too complicated, however, they can lose their impact when you shrink them down. But done right, they can make for a memorable style of logo.
- Lettermark: IBM logo
Lettermark logos turn the initials of your full business name into a logo. If you chose a business name with 3 or more words, this might be a style you’d want to consider, especially if the initialism is catchy.
- Icon: Twitter logo
An icon logo is your brand represented as a visual metaphor. Unlike an abstract logo, an icon logo suggests something about the product (Twitter’s bird is suggestive of the frequent short “tweets” on the platform).
- Wordmark: Facebook logo
Wordmark logos turn your brand name, colors, and font into a visual identity. The problem with wordmarks is that they’re often hard to create in a scalable square design and easily lose their legibility when shrunk.
However, you can fix this problem by simply getting an accompanying icon logo or turning the first letter of the wordmark into a separate-but-connected logo, like what Facebook does with the F.
- Combination: McDonald’s logo
Because of the limitations that exist for each logo type, many logos are a combination of styles.
Apply, extend, and evolve your brand as you grow
Your brand needs to exist and remain consistent wherever your customers interact with you. From the theme you choose to the marketing you do to customer service and to the way you package, ship your products. In other words, you’ll continue to shape and evolve your brand as you expose more customers to it and learn more about who they are and how to speak to them.
After that, you can tug customers in the right direction, make a great first impression, and manage your reputation. But you can’t control the individual perceptions that exists in each person’s mind
All you can do is move your best forward and try to resonate with your core audience. But hopefully, at this point, you have the tools, knowledge, and resources to start. So that how you can build a brand.