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Everything you ever needed to know about branding

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Freelance content strategist Alicia Rother offers a deep and compelling dive into the world of branding.

A strong brand identity plays an important part in the success of a business or organization. 

Your brand determines how your customers, competitors, and community perceive you. It is not easy to build a strong and respected brand overnight. It requires long term planning and takes years to develop. Many businesses fail by using wrong methods, resulting in huge losses.

You need thoughtful planning and understanding about your market, target audience and how to differentiate yourself from the competitors. All these are part of establishing a brand that we will learn today. So read till the end to know what goes into building a brand, but first we must understand branding. 

What is Branding?

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Branding is creating a unique image and name for a product, service, or company to establish a recognizable identity that sets it apart from its competitors.

Branding involves using various elements, such as logos, colors, taglines, and messaging, to create a distinctive identity that resonates with a target audience. Effective branding can help a business create a positive customer perception and build brand loyalty.

An organization's branding can be seen in its social media captions, billboard color schemes, and the materials used in its packaging. A company that creates a strong brand knows its identity must be everywhere.

Many brands with recognizable logos and color stories worldwide, such as Coca-Cola. More than a century has passed since traditional red, and white lettering, vibrant artwork, and a distinctive font were introduced.

Coke has stood the test of time because of its consistent and successful branding, which has come to be cherished by consumers.

Branding is, however, an iterative process that requires an understanding of your customers and the heart of your organization.

How to Start Branding?

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Developing a brand requires creative thinking. In addition, it is a team effort, and you will need to engage with a wide range of stakeholders. As everyone has an opinion, navigating valuable feedback and navigating changes can present a challenge for branding projects.

The following steps will guide you through the rebranding process. Developing a strong brand requires careful consideration of many factors.

1. Determine Your Target Audience

The first step in building a strong brand is to know your target audience. The key demographics who might be interested in what you offer.

Make sure that you are specific in your selection of the customer. Knowing your audience will help you select the right tone, design, and marketing strategy to engage them. To gain a deeper understanding of your audience, you can:

  • Analyzing existing customers. Are there any existing buyers you know about, and what is their profile? Do they come from a particular age group, where do they hail from, and what do they like about your business?
  • Analyzing your competitors. Which types of customers are other businesses like yours targeting? Does your product have the potential to reach underserved segments of the market?
  • Establishing buyer personas. Think about who your ideal customer would be. Create a profile describing their age, gender, demographics, preferences, and behavior.

This is just the starting phase; as you build your brand, you’ll learn more about your audience as you increase your target area and demographics. Keep changing your strategy with time if you observe your audience change or introduce new products and services.

2. Write Your Mission Statement

A mission statement concisely communicates a company's purpose and values, defining its goals and objectives. It serves as a guide for decision-making and helps create a sense of purpose for employees and customers. Here are some steps to follow to write a mission statement for a brand:

Identify your brand's purpose: Consider what your brand exists to do. Ask yourself why you started your brand and what you hope to achieve through it.

Define the brand's values: Determine what values your brand stands for and what principles guide your brand's decision-making.

Keep it concise: A good mission statement should be brief and memorable. Ideally, it should be one to two sentences long.

For example, here is the mission statement of Patagonia, an outdoor clothing company: "Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis." This statement clearly communicates the brand's purpose, values, and goals.

3. Pick a Business Name

The target audience for your brand is clear, as is how you wish to position it. The next step is to choose a brand name.

You should consider this as one of the most important defining characteristics of your brand. Names should serve as a concise summary of what your customers need to know about you.

4. Define Your Brand’s Story

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Essentially, your brand's story explains why you exist. There must be a purpose behind every business. Take into account the reasons why you started your business and the impact that your products will have on your customers.

For example Nike's brand story focuses on their mission to "bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world." They highlight their history, dedication to creating high-quality, innovative athletic products, and commitment to empowering athletes of all levels.

Apple's brand story focuses on their dedication to design, innovation, and user experience. They highlight their history of creating revolutionary products that have changed how we live, work, and communicate and their commitment to creating intuitive, user-friendly technology.

5. Create a Visual Identity for Your Brand

You must determine how to establish the look of your brand so that customers can identify your business immediately.

Consider the type of packaging you will put on your product. How will your customers recognize your parcel when they purchase goods from an online store? When visitors navigate your website and look for products, what will they see? All these things matter a lot for the visual identity of a brand.

To begin with consider the following elements for your brand:

Brand colors. A brand color is the scheme you use across all assets to promote your brand, such as your website, emails, and product packaging.

Fonts. Font selection can significantly impact your brand's perception among customers. Serif fonts are considered authoritative and traditional, while sans-serif fonts are considered more modern and friendly.

Imagery: Which graphics, illustrations, and photographs are used on your merchandise, website, and promotional materials?

6. Design a Logo

The logo is another important component of starting your business. Logos and the name are among the first elements customers notice about your business.

Logos should convey a sense of meaning and have an easy-to-understand design. The iconic image of Apple's bite is self-explanatory. The McDonald's ‘M’ stands out from a mile away.

Working with an experienced designer will help you capture your visual essence and ensure your logo has the desired impact. If you want to save some budget, use an online logo maker tool to create it yourself.

7. Integrate Your Brand Everywhere

Now that you’ve built your brand, you need to share it.

For a business to be memorable, they must demonstrate their brand in all activities. Creating a style guide for your employees and contractors is a simple way to do this. Ensure every team member understands how your brand should look and sound.

Next, consider how to promote your brand through a variety of channels. Your brand needs to appear on

  • Social media. Using social media to build brand awareness is a very effective strategy. Make posts that showcase your personality, post graphics and pictures illustrating your brand, and even ask others to share it.
  • Marketing campaigns. Your brand should be visible regardless of how you connect with customers through email newsletters or podcasts. Consistently convey your brand's style and image throughout all advertising efforts.

It is crucial to maintain consistency in the development of a strong brand. Consistency in online and offline brand identity will help your audience feel more familiar with your business. Furthermore, consistency contributes to the stability and reliability of your brand.

Every business needs a brand

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In today's competitive environment, every business needs an excellent brand.

An emotional connection between your company and your customers is impossible without the appropriate branding.

By establishing a strong brand identity, you are providing your customers with something they can truly relate to. Doing so attracts returning customers, sets yourself apart from your competition, and converts customers into brand loyalists 

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