Branding should be at the heart of your business. It tells people who you are, what you stand for and what problem you solve. Your brand is your identity in the market place and it’s what will attract your target audience, make them recognise and remember you.
Most of the branding advice you’ll find online is focused on making sure that your brand remains consistent in your marketing efforts. For those just starting out, it can be difficult to know where to start. New businesses can find themselves torn between trying to get their branding together themselves with little to no information or having to pay thousands of pounds to a branding agency. Neither of those options are ideal.
If you’re in this very position with your start-up then this post is ideal for you. Our in-house experts have put together their top tips to help you get thinking about building your new brand from scratch. Let’s talk you through the main considerations.
Know your target audience
Before you do anything, you need to know who your brand’s target audience are. It’s vital that you can map out their demographics. It may sound like a good idea to try to reach anyone and everyone. You might find yourself wondering, if my brand appeals to everyone then surely, I’ll be able to have an enormous customer base. The truth is, without a clearly identified target market, you risk your brand not really attracting anyone. You should start out with one or two key demographics and slowly expand from there. Think critically about these demographics: Who are they? What do they need? What do they want? How do they act? How do they like to be spoken to? Once you know this, you’ll be able to start curating a brand identity which really resonates with your target audience.
Know the market
The next step is to start evaluating the competitors’ branding. It’s easy to learn a lot about marketing in your industry by studying the already established brands operating in your market. Evaluate their logos, how are they similar to one another? Then consider their customer bases, do they share these and if so, how? It’s crucial that you don’t take any of these qualities and copy them for your brand. That wouldn’t be beneficial for anyone. Instead, look at the motivations behind your competitors’ choices and use those qualities for the next step of your process.
Hone in on your USP
Your unique selling points are the things that will make your brand second to none. These key differentiators could stem from your business plan, for example, if you’re offering lower prices than your competitors’, you could emphasize that in your branding. Otherwise, you will need to find a way to make yourself stand out. Are most of your competitors older and more conservative? Try for something more cutting-edge, with a younger vibe. Are your competitors’ brands elitist? Position yourself as something more down to earth.
One way which brand experts approach putting together a new brand is by defining it as a person, rather than simply as a logo or through copy. If your start-up were a person, what type of person would that be? What age, dress sense, voice would it be? It can seem like a strange exercise but it will help you come up with a more precise feel for your brand, it’ll make you know your brand inside out.
Apply your brand personality
Think about how these personality qualities might relate to more tangible, practical areas of your brand. What colours will be associated with your brand? What might your logo look like? How will your voice come across in your content and other marketing materials? Try to imagine your brand personality engaging with individual members of your target demographic. How would your brand approach them and speak to them? How can your brand gain their loyalty? These aren’t straight forward questions to answer but they’re critical for establishing the core of your brand. Once you feel that your branding ideas are solidifying, these tasks should become easier to complete.
You could hire a creative director to work with you in-house or outsource your work to an agency. Whichever you chose doesn’t matter as long as you remain a part of the process and keep your entire team in line with your new brand. The expertise of a dedicated professional can go a long way in securing quality brand for your company.
Once you’ve established your brand’s look and personality, you’ll really be getting somewhere. You’ll then need to ensure that your team is on board with the brand and are using it correctly in every application. Branding guidelines and workshops with professionals will help you to do this.