Have you ever felt a deep voice inside telling you that it was time for a change, but you didn’t know how? In this article we go through a quick journey of building a brand from scratch, free resources and tools for brands in their earliest phases.
Depending on where you are in your re-branding process, you may want to skip some of the steps.
Disclaimer: this is not a Bible or the Holy Grail of branding
︎ STEP ONE: I always start any branding process with the positioning strategy. This is one of the most underrated aspects of brand building and one that is most often ignored by entrepreneurs and managers.
Imagine you want to go for a vacation to Bali in Indonesia. From the day you thought of doing this trip till the day you complete the trip and head back home, you would need to think about, research and plan to make the trip great.
The same goes for creating a successful brand. Without a strategy, it would be like heading to Denpasar airport on a random day, buying a flight ticket to Bali – if it is available and then jumping on a plane with no idea of where you are going to stay, what you are going to see and experience and how and when you are getting back.
To create a robust positioning and brand strategy, you would need to do the following things, at the very least:
︎ Do some market research Understanding your market segment is critical to your brand success. You may think you know a lot about your market, but a proper analysis is required to make sure you really understand it.
︎Competitors analysis Understanding your competitors is another important step of the brand success. A lot of entrepreneurs believe that they know who their core competition is but are very vague when it comes to their overall competitive landscape. It is very important to know who all your competitors are.
︎Analyze your audience Understanding and segmenting your customers is very important. Creating buyer personas that accurately represent your customer segments would enable you to offer the right services/products and become successful.
︎Brand differentiation What makes you different? This can be done through constructing your brand core values, mission and vision statements and finding your brand value proposition.
︎Storytelling Armed with all the above items, it is time to create the brand story that will communicate your value proposition to the world and help create the right kind of perception.
︎Here is a link to a Business Model Canvas, a strategic management and lean startup template for developing new or documenting existing business models.
︎ STEP TWO: Once you have created the positioning and brand strategy, the next step is the naming. Although it may appear to be a simple task, coming up with the right brand name can be a challenging task. Do not underestimate the importance of having the right brand name in a world which is so noisy and saturated that nothing but the most creative and meaningful will gain traction.
︎ STEP THREE: After creating the perfect brand name, it is time to design the visual language of your brand. Ideally you must aim to create the complete brand identity system but at the very least start off by creating the perfect primary logo design for your brand.
A great logo design should meet the following criteria:
︎ It should be unique ︎ It should be distinct and meaningful ︎ It should be versatile and be applicable to various platforms ︎ It should be targeted and focused ︎ It should be memorable and timeless
︎ STEP FOUR: It is always advisable that you create a brand identity at this stage. More often than not, marketing teams find themselves so occupied with other brand building exercises that they never get to actually building a cohesive brand identity with the result that they end up having a brand that doesn’t look consistent.
Brand identity can include:
Secondary brand mark The secondary brand mark can be used where using the primary logo would be an over-kill or would lead to over saturation and dilution of the brand image.
Typefaces Any organization needs typefaces that embody the charateristic of the brand.
Color palette Any brand that is serious about making an impact and becoming successful – at least in terms of perception – should have an official color palette. The usage of the colors on strategic brand touch points will elevate the brand to the super star status.
Stationery design & social media platforms It is a must that you create a consistent brand image by creating matching business cards, letterheads, envelopes, website and social media pages. Depending on the market segment you are in, you should choose 1-2 main social media channels to focus on.
︎ STEP FIVE: Before you even think about making a website, you need to register a domain address. This is another exercise that will frustrate you as you start to realize that almost all the brand names you think of will have already been registered. So this step actually ties back to Step Two and should be done in tandem. You will also realize why it is a good idea to pick a unique, made up brand name as that will make it easy to get domain addresses, social media handles etc.
Make sure the domain you select has the following criteria:
It is short and directly aligns with your brand name
It has top level domains (.COM, .NET etc)
That it is a whole word and not hyphenated
When a domain is registerd, it will need to be distributed publically - To do this, a website is needed. Follow these videos to create a website for your brand and your products.
If you are a designer, photographer or artist I recommend Cargo otherwise Wordpress is cool.
Remember: a website or an e-commerce is not the final solution, you’ll need to communicate your presence online and offline getting people interested in you and your product with valuable contents, brand activation and sexy networking.
︎ STEP SIX: The most important. A brand is not just a name. A brand is not just a logo. A brand is not a product. A brand is not a website. A brand is a result–it's a person's gut feeling about a product, service or company. It's in their heads and in their hearts. Work on your roots, on your culture, on your values and find a way to translate them into a proper mission.
A brand is your reputation.
︎ BONUS:︎This article illustrates the creative studios and agencies I admire. Use these references to help the visual buildout of your brand. Don’t copy them, absorb from them!
As part of my standing initiative to see design, art, and culture more inclusive to people and those coming from non-traditional backgrounds, I wanted to assist in providing the means for them to advance on the road to ownership of their ideas and brands.
I will continuously be updating this page with the aim of the betterment of all-access knowledge.