The definitive guide to building a brand
“A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.”
– ancient human wisdom as found on wikipedia.com
There are a lot of fancy ways to define branding, but we’re here to make it easy to understand. As branding consultants in Bangalore and Singapore, trust us when we tell you that putting your mark on something is known as branding. It’s as simple as that.
What started, 4000 years ago, as an a simple exercise of farmers branding their cows, is now grown to a large industry that has the ability to change perceptions of companies.
Today, brands are built on it’s values, personality, and visual design elements like typography, logo design, colour theory, etc. These tools are used to help the brand build positive associations.
Let's look at some brands we LOOVE.
Apple : 'think different'
For Apple, that association is an assurance of premium quality, innovation and ease of use. But from an emotional side, when you see an Apple logo on a product, you think of innovators, creatives and people that are unapologetic about their goals and ambition.
That’s what Apple really sells. It’s an attitude, not just a computer or a phone.
Coca-cola : 'open happiness'
For Coke, that “thought” is friendship. Since the iconic 1971 “I want to buy the world a Coke” campaign, Coke’s brand has been associated with the feelings of happiness and warmth.
Now that you see the thought, you gain an understanding of why they use such an iconic shade of Red. That colour is the colour of warmth, friendship, happiness and, in Chinese culture, good luck. It’s a colour that, on a very primal level, enhances human metabolism, making you hungrier and thirstier. Arguably a great thing for a company that sells soda.
"So what sets my Brand apart?"
These are questions we solve for in brand discovery meetings.
A branding discovery or strategy session is a brainstorming session, where everyone the stakeholders of the brand, gather to focus and consolidate the brand’s values, business aspirations and vision for the future.
We need to understand who our target customers are, what are their worries and inconveniences, and how our brand can associate to them.
This is how we start building a brand strategy. The strategy stage sets the tone of your communication, and provides a rallying point for the team in terms of brand values and business direction.
How is your Brand placed in the market?
Apple positioned themselves as thought leaders in technology that also happened to be easy to use. They knew their market. Their market wasn’t limited to just people who know about technology, like IBM and Microsoft who positioned themselves for business-oriented use, but focused on people who didn’t really waste much time thinking about technology.
This allowed them to capture the public’s imagination in a way that no technology company was doing at the time. Apple became “hip” all of a sudden because they made people feel like they didn’t need engineering degrees to buy their products. So Apple Stores started popping up in retail spaces that were traditionally dedicated to, for a lack of a better term, “geeks”. And this positioning carried on into the world of smartphones.
As a counterpoint to Apple, OnePlus and Xiaomi have absolutely dominated the tech enthusiast market by positioning themselves as the “best-bang-for-your-buck” phones.
The idea here is to figure out what positioning is right for your brand. If strategy is about what cannons to buy for your warship, positioning is literally about where you want those cannons to point.
Building your Brand Personality
Great brands come with great personalities. That’s because brand personalities are what makes them more relatable to their audience and help build brand affinity.
In this stage we identify key characteristics and insights from our discovery session and define the way the brand should speak, it’s beliefs and characteristics.
Once you have your strategy and positioning figured out, it’s time to think about how your brand communicates. You’ve solved the “What am I saying?” “When am I saying it” and “Who am I saying it to?” questions. Your brand’s voice is “How am I saying it?”
How does your Brand represent itself?
If logos are the face of your brand, the visual language is like your clothes, and we always make sure our brands are well dressed. In this stage we finalise the typography, colour, logo design and other branding elements.
Your logo, colour palette and font choices are the gateway for someone to get to know you better. Think of it in terms of how you dress yourself for a social gathering. For an interview at a corporate, you groom yourself and make sure your hair looks perfect. You choose a blazer from your closet and a tie that matches it. On the flip-side, if you’re getting ready for a date, you might choose a more casual look that brings out a side of your personality that you would like your potential partners to see.
You are changing your visual identity depending on your audience. We already figured out who our audience is above, and we’ve figured what we’re trying to communicate and how. Take those answers and try to interpret them visually.
For your font, a sans serif might be an equivalent to building a more casual relationship with your audience. If your brand is built on a rich legacy, look at slab serifs. Just do a little exercise on your computer. Write your brand’s name and switch between fonts. See how each one makes you feel. That’s how your audiences might feel when they encounter your brand for the first time.
Similar process with logo design and colour theory. It’s all about building relationships. Your colour palette establishes a mood. Visit the websites of your favourite brands or your competitors and notice what colours they’re using and where. This’ll help you establish at least a baseline understanding of these concepts that you and your creative agency can further build upon.
Building a brand is a long term process that starts with Brand Strategy. If you want to learn more about Branding or looking to understand how it’s perceived, reach out and let’s talk brand!