Why Preparation is Key When Building a Brand

brand-101

If you have just launched your startup, you are probably wondering what makes a brand or a business a complete success. Well, you might believe that this question has a complicated answer, but the truth is far simpler than you might think. Almost everything your business does will influence your success! Your beautiful logo, your catchy brand name and that ad campaign that attracted the right customers - your brand’s success goes beyond that too. Here's why preparation is key when building a brand:


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Building a brand takes a bit of preparation, first of all, it doesn't happen overnight, it's not just all about your logo, your brand actually covers a whole range of concepts so you need to prepare each one for your brand strategy to work. 

Below we have listed all the crucial elements that you need to consider, and more importantly, IMPLEMENT.

However, if you notice after a while that a branding strategy is just not working for you, don’t be afraid to change it! Your initial decisions are not set in stone, and sometimes you just have to adjust them to the market, your customers or your organisation. Therefore, once you decide that you need to rebuild your brand, you’ll have to review and change the structure of some vital branding elements.

Nevertheless, right now, it doesn’t matter if you’re rebuilding or building. What follows are the essential elements and rules that apply to both of these situations.

First things first - think about your customers, values and mission

Before you do anything with your brand, it’s crucial to think about your mission.

  • What are your goals?
  • Where do your values lie?
  • More importantly, what promises do you want to make and keep?

Before you start creating a brand strategy, these questions ought to be answered. But, why?

Let’s take an example. Imagine a company - a large discount retailer that sells health, home and grocery products.

The company’s goal is to provide low income or middle-class families with quality products that have a reasonable price and a brand behind them. Why? Well, their customers want to save money. However, they also want what’s best for their families, not to mention their household budget. Furthermore, they also don’t want to waste any time, so the company will also provide quick, yet efficient checkouts.

This sort of customer base requires specific advertisements. You would have to provide sale offers and transparent prices. It’s not a luxury brand, so having no prices in the store and using image-conscious advertising will not do - it will be ignored! Furthermore, concierge-type customer service is not for these types of stores, customers or companies. It’s also quite expensive to have such a service, which is why no one really expects it.

See how these areas affect the brand decisions? You need to think about the mission, the values and your target customers when deciding on your brand elements. 

What are the elements of a strong brand?

In order to make the best decisions when building a brand, you will have to know your company and your customers. Your brand covers a whole range of elements:

1. The design of your logo

When it comes to your logo, you need to think about the two basic elements that will influence the design:

  • Your mission
  • Your target audience (customers)

It’s safe to say that this isn’t something you can or should do by yourself. This is a task for a fantastic graphic designer!

We know that it’s sometimes difficult to find such a designer, and that many companies instead try to create a logo with clip art. However, using clip art is not a great idea for building a brand because your logo has to be unique to be strong. Therefore, it’s worth investing in a logo design.

But, if you don’t have enough money to hire a designer, the safest choice is to type out your brand name and use that as a logo until you can pay for a great design.

Tip: ask your designer for different versions of your logo image including a .png transparent one that you can use to overlay on marketing and social media materials.

2. Colours

If you can hire a graphic designer to create your logo, then you will probably decide to add some colours to it. These colours will later become the official colours of the company.

However, even if the budget is tight, and you’re using text instead of a logo, you can still start using some colours that will go into the logo design eventually.

The general rules are - the more budget conscious the audience, the brighter and clearer the colours. In contrast, for an upscale crowd and luxurious products, muted or blended tones are ideal.

Nevertheless, these two rules are not that strict, and they do get broken quite often. So, if you’re not sure which colours to use, you should talk to your graphic designer. They have the knowledge you lack, and their insight will prove to be more valuable than you think. After all, logos are their job, and they know how to make one that will work for many different audiences. Furthermore, with a little bit of help from the Pantone Matching System, they will provide you with consistency throughout all designs.

Tip: keep a note of your brand colours handy for future marketing, sales and communications

3. Packaging

Packaging is also a significant investment, which is why you should ask for all the help you can get. Professional consultants will give your their insight about all sorts of options, and they will help you adjust the packaging to the aesthetic of your company. Furthermore, they can also provide you with practical advice about product protection, as well as safety problems and shipping.

In order to achieve consistency, you should instruct your logo and packaging designers to work together on all company projects. Many design firms can give you advice on both logo and packaging designs.

4. Customer Service

The customer service level you choose will depend on the type of customers you have, as well as your products.

Fast food restaurants generally have hungry customers who will happily take anything in a paper wrapper, no questions asked. However, upscale restaurants have a more upscale clientele, which is why most of them would be horrified if they had to serve food in anything but the finest china and silverware.

Therefore, you ought to think about what’s appropriate for your customers and choose the level and type of customer service according to this.

If you are in a professional service business, decide on how you will onboard customers for your service.

5. Staff

Most business owners tend to overlook this part of the branding process. However, it is an important one - after all, it can make or break your brand.

If your company values friendliness and aims to provide its customers with a pleasant experience, then you ought to hire friendly staff! 

Make sure the person in charge of HR in your business knows how to hire staff members with attributes that fit with your brand. 

6. Your locations - physical and virtual

Have you ever visited McDonald’s or Starbucks? How about Target or Walmart? Did you notice anything while you were inside? What about their other stores - what were those like?

Corporate giants, like those we just named, have many locations. However, all their stores have a similar feel to them. What’s more, some of them are almost exactly the same, and they all have that same retail look and smell.

This sort of unique environment is called “trade dress”. And, most companies that use trade dress to their advantage can even protect it under the law.

Make sure you apply “trade dress” to your digital presence, in particular, your website but also your social media channels. Use your brand colours and logos, custom videos, photos and graphic designs to help users get a better feel for your brand and your own company to stand out.

7. Prices

We bet you didn’t even think that pricing was included into the branding process. However, it is, and it is an integral part of it!

When it comes to pricing, you have to know one thing: most generic products are made by brand name companies. However, some of their counterparts can still have higher prices than them. It’s because they need that money to cover ad and marketing costs.

Authentic brands are usually interesting to some niche audiences while generic brands are often for the more budget-conscious consumer. It really depends on your positioning but this feeds into your branding decisions. 

8. Ad placement and techniques

In order to reach the right audience (your target audience), you ought to think about ad placement. The “where” part of it is the most important one, as it will say a lot about your company, your brand and even your customers.

Take Walmart as an example. They might have a sale on canned goods, at just $1.97 per can. They will put the price somewhere on the can so that customers can see it. However, readers of the Wall Street Journal won’t probably find that useful at all, even though they are looking to save some money.

The point is - you ought to place ads according to who you want to attract, as well as who your customers believe they are.

In conclusion

The points to remember when building your brand are not that complicated, you just need to make sure to take the time to prepare them and consider them all. Knowing your target audience(s) will help when creating a strategy for building your brand. Use successful brands as inspiration, and capitalize on your niche. It is well worth the planning before you begin, as most brands don't just happen overnight, it is a concerted effort made and maintained by all who are employed on the business.

Over to you now. What's your experience of building a brand? Tell us in the comments below. 

 

 

 

 

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