Building a brand is not the same as starting a company. Your company is the establishment that conducts business, whereas your brand is the identity behind your business. Without branding, your company is like a faceless entity—no personality, no individuality, no appeal.
At its core, branding is all about defining who you are. Unlike marketing, which encompasses the specific and immediate actions your company takes to promote your business, branding concerns the long-term impact you have on your customers and is at the heart of creating the emotional connections that lead to brand loyalty. This means it plays an important role in other aspects of your business, including your company culture, strategic decision-making, and even your overall ROI.
Yet despite the importance and even financial value of branding, many business owners cut the process of brand building short. Often, they design a logo and think the job is done. But creating a memorable brand goes far beyond logos, color palettes, and typefaces—it's a multi-step endeavor involving deep reflection, thorough research, and a lot of creativity.
How to Build a Memorable Brand in 8 Steps
So, how do you go about building a brand that has the power to tell your story and make a meaningful mark on your audience? Here, we break the process down into eight easy steps that cover every aspect of development—including your logo and beyond!
Step 1: Construct a Plan
The very first step of the branding process is to construct a plan. With something as important as branding, the last thing you want to do is go about it haphazardly. By taking the time to plan before you proceed, you can ensure that every decision you make is backed by intention and part of a greater strategy.
The overarching goal of this phase of the process is to locate yourself within the bigger picture, both in terms of your position within your industry and your progress toward your goals. To do this, you'll want to analyze your competition, conduct market research, and reflect on where you want your business to be in the future.
Although these tasks may take up some of your time and resources, they're well worth the effort. Understanding where you are now and where you want to be can he
Step 2: Define Your Brand's Personality
Once you've constructed a plan, the next step in creating your brand is to spend some time defining your brand's personality. Just as a person has her own characteristics, values, beliefs, and goals, so does your brand. Getting clear on exactly what those are will make your brand more memorable, help you attract employees who are a good fit for your business, and show your audience what sets you apart in your industry. Plus, it will help you design your logo and other brand assets (but more on that later).
Defining your brand's personality involves determining the key, intangible aspects of your brand. These include not just your mission and vision, but also your values and differentiators, which may be harder to describe because of their complex nature. Uncovering your brand values and what sets your brand apart is a deeply reflective process that involves asking yourself and/or important team members questions like:
- What won't you compromise on as a business?
- What does your audience value over all else?
- Why did you start your business in the first place?
- Which brands do you admire and what qualities do they have in common?
- How is your business and the way you operate different from that of your competitors?
Another tool you can use to help define your brand's personality is identifying your brand's archetype, which is based on a theory of personality developed by Swedish philosopher Carl Jung. Figuring out which of these personality types your brand most aligns with can help you see your brand from a new perspective, and keeping it in mind during the branding process will guide your asset creation and strategic decision making.
Step 3: Develop Your Foundational Documents
This step of the branding process is where you transition from planning to creation. But before you actually create any brand assets, you need to first develop a set of foundational documents that clearly lay out all the components that make up your brand. These documents are an important part of building your brand, and they will not only be used internally to help maintain a certain standard, but also externally when working with designers.
The foundational documents you develop should include everything you defined in the previous step, as well as information about your target audience, your brand voice, and your visual and content style guidelines. How you choose to organize these components is up to you, but we recommend that you create at least two documents: a set of brand standards and a style guide.
Your brand standards should include your mission, vision, goals, values, differentiators, archetype, audience, and brand voice (which includes the words and phrases you want to use and avoid, the emotions you want to achieve, and the attitude you'd like to portray). Sometimes, businesses divide these standards into a separate messaging guide and voice guide, but that's based on personal preference.
Their purpose is to not only help you create consistency across all your brand assets, but also to serve as a reference for new and existing employees so that everyone has a full understanding of your brand.
Your style guide is where you should outline the visual and content guidelines for your brand, including your fonts, color schemes, typography, and other design elements. Usually, you create this guide after you've designed your logo (outlined in Step 4), since the logo serves as the anchor for your brand's visuals and will help guide you through the branding design phase of the process.
When choosing the specific stylistic elements of your brand, think about your brand's personality and how those characteristics can be best represented visually. Leaning on the archetype you identified can be a great place to start, but if you're still struggling to translate your core traits into meaningful designs, Miss Details' Brand Snapshot service can help! We'll work with you to create a visual roadmap for your brand that can stand in for your style guide.
Step 4: Design Your Logo
Although we've listed the creation of your logo as its own step in the process, it often occurs in conjunction with the development of your brand standards and style guide. It's a vital part of creating your brand, because an authentic logo that aligns with your personality and connects with your target audience can make the difference between a brand that’s successful—and one that isn’t.
There are a few reasons why your logo is such a vital piece of your brand. First, it serves as your central brand visual, helping you create consistency across other assets and avoid brand confusion. Second, it serves as the first point of contact between your audience and your brand, making it an essential part of showing them who you are. Third, it can provide direction for the creation of all your other marketing assets.
With this in mind, the design of your logo shouldn't be an afterthought or thrown together on Canva. It should be backed by intention and strategically considered, so you can ensure that your brand's personality really shines through. We recommend working with a professional designer (like us!) and suggest that you plan on investing at least $1,500 in your logo.
Regardless of whether you plan to hire a designer or create your logo yourself, it's essential you have a thorough understanding of your brand. You should think deeply about how to capture who you are and translate it into a recognizable, compelling logo that builds meaningful connections with your audience. Our Logo Design Strategy Masterclass is a good place to start!
Step 5: Create Your Brand Assets
Having strategically designed your logo, the next step in building your brand is to create the rest of your brand assets. Using your style guide from step three, you'll work on developing the tangible aspects of your brand, such as your website, social media profiles (such as LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook), business cards, and so on.
Just as with your logo, the design of your brand assets should be informed by the foundational pieces you put together in previous steps. You'll want to implement not just the visual elements of your style guide but also your core values and brand voice. That way, everything you create will form a cohesive picture of your brand, and you'll be able to easily communicate who you are to your audience.
Step 6: Develop Your Brand Strategy
You've created a plan, defined your brand's personality, and developed your foundational documents and brand assets, including your logo. But the branding process doesn't stop there. Now, it's time to develop a brand strategy, which is about pulling all the pieces of your brand together into a cohesive and goal-oriented strategy that propels your business forward.
A strong brand strategy should accomplish a few things:
- Communicate your purpose. Your brand strategy should be developed in such a way that it clearly communicates to your audience why you do what you do, both in terms of your functionality and impact on the world. This is essential to cultivating loyalty and yielding more business.
- Appeal to emotion. People are more likely to remember things that elicit strong emotions. Therefore, your brand strategy should also focus on how to connect with your audience on an emotional level. You can accomplish this through methods like storytelling, tapping into motivation, activism, and sensory design.
- Create consistency. Consistency across your marketing materials and messaging strengthens your brand's identity, so your brand strategy should aim to create a cohesive picture of your brand for your audience.
Another important aspect of your brand strategy is your brand positioning, which is the process of carving out a distinct place in the minds of your customers so they associate your brand with something uniquely valuable. Brands with strong positioning not only enjoy greater customer loyalty and increased conversions, but they also increase the overall value of their brands. So, an important part of building your brand is to create a positioning statement that you infuse into every aspect of your business and use to guide your decision-making.
As you can imagine, developing an effective brand strategy involves a lot of moving parts. In truth, it's a full-time job all in itself! That's why it's a good idea to consider hiring a brand manager who can provide strategic direction for your brand. They can help you build enthusiasm, ensure you're always accurately represented, and recognize growth opportunities that will propel your brand forward.
Step 7: Establish Your Branding
By this point in the branding process, you've developed all your foundational pieces around a strong, cohesive strategy—the only thing left to do is put it all into practice. Of course, this isn't a one-time step. Successfully establishing your brand on the market is a long-term process that involves consistency, patience, and commitment to achieving your goals.
To build awareness of your brand, you must focus on building relationships with your audience. You can do this by producing informative, engaging, and values-driven content that aligns with your brand's identity (such as through effective email marketing) and taking the time to get to know your audience by engaging with them as often as possible.
While it may be a long-term commitment, building brand awareness is well worth the effort. By playing the long game, you'll make generating sales easier, increase customer satisfaction, and ultimately increase your ROI.
Step 8: Revisit and Revise Your Brand
Your business is always evolving, and that means so is your brand. Who you are now when creating your brand won't be who you are in the future as new trends, fresh innovations, and changing customer needs arise. That's why the final step in the branding process is to revisit and revise your brand over time.
One of the most effective ways to evaluate your brand is to conduct a brand audit. Brand audits are like health checkups for your brand—conducting them regularly helps you ensure you’re on track to meeting your goals and making the right impression on your audience.
Depending on the results of your audit, you may need to make updates to your brand to ensure that you're creating a cohesive message and reaching the right audience. Whether these updates are in the form of a refresh or total rebrand, make sure you plan thoroughly and communicate effectively so your rollout is as successful as it can be.
Build an Unforgettable Brand With Miss Details
Building a brand is about so much more than creating a logo. It's an in-depth process that requires careful thought, planning, and strategic decision-making. No matter where you are in the process, Miss Details can help by providing expert guidance and support that's tailored to your business' unique needs. Book a Discovery Call Today!
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