Your brand tells the story of your company to your customer. Quality branding will attract the right customers for your business, resonate with them, and be memorable. It sets a tone for the experience your customers can expect from your business. By setting clear expectations for your customers, you are helping them to have a better customer experience. When your business meets the expectations previously communicated, your customer is more likely to feel their expectations were met and they were satisfied with their experience.
When your business branding isn’t clearly defined, you are communicating a story that may not make sense to your customer. They may not even know what you sell, or they may expect your business is to be a fun place when they came away with a serious experience that felt wrong for their expectations.
When you better understand your audience and craft a custom brand that aligns with their needs, you increase conversions and improve the customer experience, strengthening the odds of repeat business.
Below, you will find an eleven part process for how to create a quality brand true to your business.
1. Define The Target Audience
This is step number one for a reason. Your target audience will affect every other decision you make about your brand. You want to craft a brand that personally connects with your customer. To do that, you need to understand who they are.
When you are identifying your target audience, you can think about the demographics they fall into. How old are they, what is their gender, what do they do for a living, where do they live, are they married? These are just a few of the questions to help you craft a picture of who your audience is so you can find them.
2. Craft a Brand Statement
Similarly to how understanding your target audience will affect every decision you make for your business, so will your mission statement. A strong brand mission statement can be a compass for your company. Every time you struggle to make a key decision for your business, you can return to your brand mission statement.
A strong mission statement will be specific about what your company does. It will spell out goals for how you want to help your customers and inspire your company to live up to its values. It will do all of this while being brief and to the point. Don’t use too many grand words, instead, focus in on what the heart of your company is about.
3. Research The Competition
Researching your competition will be valuable to considering your own brand. You may even want to go as far as doing a comparative SWOT analysis between your business and the competitive set.
What keywords are they using to define their brand? What color choices are they making? How are they engaging with their customers, and how are they catching their eye?
To better understand your competition’s branding, it can be helpful after digging through their business to attempt to write a brand mission statement for their company. What do you think they are trying to accomplish with their business branding?
Once you’ve looked over their business as a competitor, take a second look as if you were the audience they are selling too. Consider what your audience is seeing when they come across your competition’s advertisements. Who resonates with this branding?
Then, compare and contrast your own company with their branding. How well would their branding apply to your own company?
Once you’ve found the areas of overlap, it’s time to key in on the most important part: the differences. What makes your company different from the rest? Why should consumers choose your products or services over the other options available to them? When you can see the differences and capitalize on those aspects in your branding, you can make sure your company stands out in the crowd and give your brand a competitive edge.
4. Define What’s Great About Your Business
Your customers need to be able to glance your branding and come away with a feeling of what your company is about. In order to create branding that can accomplish that, you will need to be clear on what your brand is for yourself. Take out a piece of paper and write everything you can think of as a key quality of your business.
Is your customer service an essential element of your business? Do you offer a way for your customers to save money? Are you selling a luxury experience? What do you offer your customers that makes you stand out?
5. Design a Memorable Logo
Your logo will be the heart of your visual branding. Everything else you create after this will need to blend well with your logo.
Your logo also needs to tell a story. A logo for a hotel chain will look very different from the logo for a soda company. If your audience are children your color choices and brand story will be very different than if you are targeting businesses. When customers glimpse your logo, they should have a feel for what you might sell and the tone of your company. Is your business silly or serious? Do you sell food or clothing? Customers should be able to intuitively guess from your logo.
You want your logo design to be versatile, relevant, and memorable above all else.
Once your logo draws your customer’s eye, your tagline will tell them more of the story. Keep it brief, cut to the heart of your business, and use powerful words that would resonate with your audience while speaking to the tone of your brand.
6. Create Your Brand Messaging
By this point, you’ve done some thinking about your brand voice without fully realizing it. You’ve written your brand mission statement and have listed out the key qualities of your brand. Consult these items and look for
Power words are emotional words that can trigger a specific response in your customer. A word like “effective” brings about a different feeling than something like “luxurious”. It can be beneficial to create a list of power words that speak to your brand and then form a brand voice that uses those words to set a powerful tone that will emotionally resonate with your customer base.
When you are thinking about this, always start with the tone you want to set. Is your business friendly? Conversational, or professional? If your brand was in a room with your ideal customer, would you be joking around or straight faced and serious?
7. Write a Clear Brand Message
This is your elevator pitch. You want a simple and clear message in one to three sentences. Consult your list of power words to accomplish this. You want a brand message to resonate with your customers and define what you offer your customers and why they want that.
8. Show Off Your Brand Personality
You’ve already looked at the key qualities of your business and what sets you apart from your competition. You’ve looked at your power words. You know who you are trying to reach and the tone you voice your brand will use to communicate with them.
Work on further developing all these elements to bring out your brand’s personality. Is your brand friendly or professional? More modern or classic? More accessible or exclusive?
Define your personality and refine everything you do to align with that.
9. Integrate Your New Brand
You know from creating your brand voice what your business sounds like. Find areas where you can use this. Train your employees to talk to your customers in a way that matches your brand voice, using power words to describe your products. Look over your product descriptions to see where you can add flair of your company to the tone there. Create content for your website that speaks to the personality of your brand. If your company is informative, create informative content. If your company is fun, creative videos that show the behind the scenes of your business in a way that matches your brand voice and makes your customers feel a part of the fun.
10. Be Consistent
You need to be consistent. There is no point in creating anything for your business that doesn’t stick to your brand. Use your brand mission statement as a compass. Consult it when you create new content and ask, does this fit in with my brand message statement? If not, toss it out and create something that does.
A confused brand will mean confused customers.
11. Advocate For Your Brand
You know your new brand better than anyone else does. Now it’s your job to introduce it to your customers.
If you have employees, the first step will be training your staff on your branding so they can communicate your branding to your customers.
Every time you find something in your business that doesn’t align with your branding, it’s your job to get it back on the right course.
Be your brand’s biggest advocate and keep the consistency alive so you can be sure your customers are understanding your brand story in any experience they have with your business.
Repeat When Necessary
As the years go by, your company may change. This is good. It’s part of the growth process for your business. That may mean you need to revisit your branding. When you find that your branding is no longer telling an accurate story for your company, do not be afraid to start back at step one. Define your company’s target audience, work through the process, and strengthen your branding so it is always communicating a true picture for your customers. Unless your business is completely starting over with a whole new target audience, you can work some of your previous branding efforts into the new look. Companies like Pepsi have adjusted their branding to make it more modern, while keeping the elements that make their logo and products recognizable for their current customer base.
Your business will grow. So will your brand. Make sure it’s growing in the right direction, be consistent with your message, and always make sure you are communicating a clear story to your customers so they feel like they understand your business.