The importance of creating a strong brand.
In a crowded marketplace, a strong and engaging brand can be a positive differentiator, making your business stand out from the crowd.
To create your winning brand, you should know it inside out, live and breathe it and keep it at the core of everything you do.
If you’re unsure of who/what your brand is, this guide will help you get acquainted and create a clear strategy for your future communications.
Setting some guidelines will help to keep your communications on-brand and appropriate for your target market. It will also be a useful guide for any copywriters or creatives you might work with.
1. Who is your brand talking to?
Your brand should be created with your target audience in mind and should take into account:
- Who they are in terms of their demographics
- What they want or need from your brand
- What is important to them and how your brand fulfils it.
2. What does your brand look like?
You can start to get a visual sense your brand by collating things that you feel represent it. These could be pictures, colours, shapes, textures and anything else that inspires you.
What your brand be if it were a physical object, such as a food item, a piece of furniture, an environment, a fabric, an animal or a bird?
Compare and contrast different ideas to help you establish what is on-brand and off-brand.
What visually represents your brand? Here are some examples to get you started:
- Calming pastel shades or bold, vivid colours?
- An octagon with many sides or a fluid circle?
- Cute and endearing or fierce and confident?
- Rolling countryside or bustling city?
- Organic and natural or innovative and technological?
- A fresh, crunchy salad or a comforting bowl of pasta?
- Rustic sack cloth or tactile velvet?
- Solid hardwood and leather or intricate embroidery and lace?
- Hard and shiny or soft and comfortable?
3. How should your brand make your customers feel?
A strong brand can evoke feelings and sensations. For example, customers might feel confident when using your service or excited when you announce a new product launch.
How does your brand make you customers feel?
- Comfortable and familiar?
- Enthusiastic and excited?
- Calm and peaceful?
- Energised and exhilarated?
- Assured and supported?
- Confident and self-assured?
- Warm and fuzzy?
- Challenged and interested?
- Luxurious and indulgent?
4. How is your brand different?
Think about how your brand fits into the current marketplace.
What distinguishes your brand from your competitors?
- A clear Unique Selling Point (USP)?
- Its history, background or how it came to be?
- Its values, for example integrity, affordability or innovation?
- Its ethics, for example, organic, fair-trade or cruelty-free?
- Superior/specialist knowledge, experience, quality or service?
5. What does your brand have to say?
To get a feel for your brand’s voice, think about what it stands for and what messages it might convey.
Here are some examples of things you might consider:
- Does it have an agenda — maybe environmental, political or technological?
- Does it seek to revolutionise or change something?
- What is it promoting and how will it make our lives better?
- Will it improve the way we do things?
- Is it empowering and confidence-boosting?
- Is it inspirational or motivational?
- Is it moral and ethical?
6. What does your brand sound like?
What is your brand’s personality? How does it speak to its audience? What language and tone of voice does it use?
Bear in mind that the tone and language should be appropriate for your market and the product or service you are offering. For example, does your brand sound:
- Enthusiastic and upbeat?
- Smooth and sophisticated?
- Straight talking and direct?
- Official and authoritative?
- Friendly and down to earth?
- Empathic and compassionate?
- Intelligent and informed?
- Young and cool or hipster?
- Witty and humorous?
7. What is your mission?
Here are some things you might consider including:
- What do you want to be the best at?
- What do you want to be known or admired for?
- What do you want your customers’ experience to be?
- Is your ethical stance part of your mission?
- What do you want for your employees?
- What do you want for the future of your organisation and what do you want to become?
8. Immersing yourselves in your brand.
Once you are acquainted with your brand, you need to channel it through everything you do and make it a core part of your organisation.
Here are some of the ways you can achieve this:
- Keep your surroundings on-brand
- Decorate your space using your brand’s colour profile
- Choose furnishings in styles and colours that reflect your brand
- Display your mission statement and other on-brand words of wisdom
- Install on-brand artwork and decorative items.
- Keep your company language on-brand
- Use on-brand internal and external communications
- Make your brand part of your culture — think about the way you speak to each other and the terminology you use
- Stay true to your brand when dealing with phone calls and emails — think about small things like your telephone greeting and email signature.
- Be consistent
- Create a seamless visual, written and verbal brand identity
- Think about the customer experience and make sure every element is on-brand.
9. Evolving your brand.
Remember, things change and even some of the most famous and iconic brands have evolved over time.
A strong brand can respond to changing markets and changing trends by updating itself and evolving to stay at the top.
Here are some of the things you can do:
- Watch the market and note how it is changing
- Monitor how people are engaging with your brand — has engagement increased, declined or stayed the same?
- If people are commenting on your social media posts, what are they saying?
- Monitor what your competitors are doing — are they changing and, if so, how?
- Watch your competitors’ social media — what are people saying about their brand and how are they responding?
- Review your mission statement and make sure it still represents your future goals
- Review your brand identity and make sure it’s still hitting the right spot
- If you’re planning to make major changes to your brand, make sure there is a good reason and that you have a clear plan for what you want the changes to achieve
Need some help with copy or content for your brand?
I’m Jenny Lucas, a professional freelance copywriter with experience of developing on-brand copy and content.
For more information and to see samples of my work, please visit my website.