In common speech, the words brand and logo are often used to describe the same thing, but they are, in fact, two very different aspects of a company. The logo can be referred to as the symbol of a specific business, whereas the brand represents a company’s values, entity, and overall image. Think of the brand identity kind of like your company’s personality and values, as well as a statement to your consumers.
Developing a brand from the ground up is definitely challenging because you need to cover a range of aspects, including how it looks, what type of message it sends, as well as how it resonates with consumers. Your brand is what makes your company unique and what sets you apart from all the others competitors on the market. And this applies not only to new businesses but to existing ones as well.
It’s never too late to define your brand identity, regardless if you have been in business for a day or for 20 years. After all, companies rebrand themselves all the time in order to make sure their values match how the brand is presented to the world. It’s how big names manage to stay relevant even after tens of year of being in business.
If you are looking to build the brand identity of your business, you have come to the right place. Below, we will discuss the process of building a brand and how it helps your company stay relevant in this ever-changing business environment. So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.
Research, research, research
Before you even begin to make any decisions regarding your brand image, you need to start doing market research. This helps you understand the current market environment, who your customers are and what they need, as well as who your main competitors are and what you can do to best them.
As market research experts at Sapio Research point out, brands are not esoteric; a brand represents a company’s connection to its new and existing audience. This is why it is important to have a very clear idea of who your audience is to start building a brand image that they can relate to.
There are multiple methods to do market research, including through Google, social media, online discussions, or the classic phone calls. What is important, however, is what your research reveals. Ideally, through research, you should be able to determine three major things:
- The main interest of your customers
- Your most established and known top competitors
- The type of customers your can effortlessly sell your products to
Choose your company’s personality
No matter how much you would want things to be otherwise, you need to make peace with the fact that your brand can’t and won’t appeal to everyone, and especially not in the beginning. This is why it is important to find the focal point of your brand identity and build the rest around it.
If you have trouble finding the main focus of your brand or how to express it, you can start by answering a few simple questions:
- What is your company’s positioning statement?
This should be comprised out of one or two short sentences that explain who your company is. It does not necessarily have to be included on your website or in pitches, but it should help you determine what your brand represents and how it differentiates itself from competitors.
- Which five words describe your brand best?
This is another simple question you can ask yourself to help you find your brand’s voice. Think of your company as a real person and try to come up with five attributes that describe it. It can be simple, serious, sophisticated, confident, modest, or even childish – what matters is that these words resonate with both your brand and your audience
- Which concept better describes your brand?
If words are not enough to explain who your brand is, why not use concepts? For example, a brand that targets moms could be represented by a momma bear, just as a brand that focuses on education could be represented by an owl.
Decide on a strong business name
Brands represent much more than just a name; it is your brand’s reputation and actions that give this name a true meaning. Think of Red Bull, for example. Does it truly matter what the name of this company is or what they do as a brand? Would you still buy their products or follow them if they were to call themselves a different way? Probably yes, because it’s what they did throughout the years that define their brand.
When it comes to choosing the name of your business, think of something that is easy to remember, catchy, and suited for the type of image you want to send out to the world. It can be a made-up word (Pepsi), it can be an acronym (HBO – Home Box Office), it can be a term that related to your industry (PlayStation), or it can be a completely unrelated word (Apple). What matters is how you take this name and make it into something unique that appeals to consumers.
Pay attention to other visual elements
Once you have determined the overall image of your brand, it’s time to have it shown through the logo, font, colours, images, and other visual elements you will be using. There is a lot to talk about when it comes to the psychology of colours and how they influence customers, so it may be worth taking a look at this while you do your research.
Understanding how to use colours to send a specific message or evoke certain emotions helps you build a stronger connection with consumers and delivers a message even without using words. This is why some companies use different colour schemes when addressing customers from different markets. For example, many lotteries in China use red and gold as their primary colours because red is considered as the colour of luck in China, whereas lotteries in the U.K. use green as a primary colour because green is associated with luck in our culture.