How do you create your brand? It is a thorough and encompassing process, but there are six main areas you can start with to begin defining your own brand.
When you think of popular brands, what comes to mind? Maybe it’s a memorable logo like Apple or a catchy jingle in a Coca-Cola commercial. Whatever it is, what sticks out in your memory is something that’s quintessential to that brand – something you would recognize anywhere. And that’s no accident – it’s all been purposefully created as part of that company’s branding.
What is branding? A brand is not just a name, logo and colours (although those are important aspects of it). Your brand is how people and customers describe your company, your products and your services. It’s what people think about your company and how they see you when they’re considering doing business with you. It’s everything from logos and slogans, to advertisements and social media posts, even down to the colours of your packaging. Your branding needs to be present in everything you do.
How do you create your brand? It is a thorough and encompassing process, but there are six main areas you can start with to begin defining your own brand (or updating it as your company evolves).
1. Customer Personas
2. Brand Purpose
3. Brand Promise
4. Brand Values
5. Tone of Voice
6. Brand Identity
One of the first things you need to do when you’re defining your brand is define who your target or ideal customer persona is. You need to know who your customer is, so your messaging resonates and appeals to them. These personas need to go beyond demographics like age and gender and be a complete understanding of who they are and how they behave. What motivates your customers? How do they buy things? What are their online habits, their lifestyles, and their values and interests? The following branding areas then need to speak to this target persona in a relatable way.
A brand purpose answers the question why – why does your company exist? Why did you start it and what do you want it to do? This needs to be something that your customers can understand and relate to. You want them to feel inspired and connected to this purpose, so they will in turn feel connected to your company and want to do business with you.
Let’s look at the Walt Disney Company: it’s a great example of branding that is consistent through all its business lines and experiences, whether you’re watching a movie, at a theme park, or buying a coffee mug, you know it’s Disney.
Disney brand purpose: The Disney brand will nurture families, inspire imaginations and fulfill dreams.
The brand promise is a promise to your customers – it’s what they can expect from you every time that they interact with your company. Ideally, this is something they can’t get from anyone else. And everything that you do as a company, or the products or services you provide, should be in support of this promise.
Disney brand promise: To create magical moments for all who experience the Disney brand.
If your company was a person, how would people describe you? Very simply, brand values are adjectives that you want your company to live by. Think of them as filters that everything you say and do goes through before you put it out into the world.
Disney brand values:
Before you put out a social media post, design an ad or put a photo on a website, make sure you’re asking yourself “is this inspiring/imaginative/caring?” And if it’s not, how can you make it so? And if you can’t make it inspiring or imaginative or whatever your brand values are, you may need to rethink what you’re trying to do.
A brand’s tone of voice is how you talk to your customers. It sets the stage for all your messaging and the language you use in all your communications. This applies to print ads, social media posts, brochures, product manuals, and even how your employees answer the telephone. The tone of voice connects back to the brand values to help show customers the kind of company you are and your personality. Are the words you’re choosing and the way you’re saying something indicative of your brand’s tone of voice?
Disney tone of voice: friendly, happy, approachable.
Brand identity elements are the tangible and customer-facing aspects of your brand and are derived from the purpose, promise and values you’ve already defined. These are elements such as company name, logo, tagline, and colours. These all support the brand purpose, promise and values and become memorable icons that customers associate with your brand, sometimes even unconsciously. Colours can play an important role in evoking emotion and even solidify your position in an industry. If you see a non-descript red soda can in a movie, what soda brand do you think of?
A tagline, as another example, is meant to convey your brand’s promise or benefits. A tagline should be timeless, meaning it doesn’t change with different campaigns.
Disney tagline: Where dreams come true.
Having an integrated brand throughout all areas of your business is essential, but you don’t have to create this on your own. Our collaborative and in-depth branding process can help you uncover the type of brand you want to be. We use research and discovery exercises to start the process and can help you with everything from name concepts, logos, website design, and sales assets.
We helped CLS Landscape with their new brand identity, including strategy, market research, customer experience, marketing plans, social media and more. You can view the case study here.
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