Developing your brand is crucial for your company’s successful creation, development, and growth. Without a strong brand identity, you can’t stand out on the market, attract loyal customers, or keep employees on your team for years or even decades.
But while developing your brand image may seem like a relatively easy task, it can be pretty challenging, partly due to the sheer number and variety of brands already competing on the market. Developing something unique for your business that will set it apart from everyone else is challenging.
If you are developing a brand identity for your business, then it’s about time to start following these valuable tips. Without further ado, here is everything you need to know about developing your brand.
15 Ways to Develop Your Brand
1. Understanding the Concept of a “Brand”
First and foremost, you need to understand what a brand is. Your brand is not just the name of your company or the design of your logo. It is much bigger than that.
This is precisely why a company’s brand is often referred to as a brand image or identity — it encompasses a variety of elements that make up the collective “brand” of that company.
Of course, such obvious things come with it, such as your company name and logo, the product or services you sell, and the audience you target. In addition, your brand comprises your vision, mission, and values, as well as your unique brand voice, personality, and visual branding techniques, among other things.
You must plan out all of these details when developing your brand identity. If your company already has some history, that history can also be used in defining your brand image. On the other hand, if you are only thinking of starting a business, you will have more freedom in choosing how to brand your company.
2. Know Your Market (Audience and Competitors)
Knowing your market is critical for the functioning of your business, but it is also quite important for defining your brand, which is where market research comes in. This is because knowing your market will help you understand the following:
- Your Target Audience – You will better know your potential or existing customers’ expectations. For example, your audience might prefer a more serious and professional image for your brand.
- Your Competitors – Other companies you will be competing against and how you can set yourself apart. For example, they could use a friendly and casual image that may be common in your niche.
Remember that it is normal for a target audience to be segmented and not look like a monolith. That being said, there will be some overlaps and similarities between the different segments of your target audience. You can use these common characteristics to guide your branding choices.
The same can be said about your competitors – they could be somewhat different from each other, but there will still be unifying features and details that you should consider when choosing how to brand your own company.
3. Choose Your Focus and Brand Personality
This is one of the hardest and most essential steps in your branding journey because this is when you need to choose the focus and personality of your brand. You will need to use the information mentioned above about your target audience and competitors to plan these things. However, to guide you better during this stage, it’s worth thinking about these specific features of your brand image:
- Unique Value Proposition – Also called a unique selling point, this is something that sets your brand (or your products or services) apart from those of your competitors.
- Associations – These are the words and phrases you would like people to associate with your brand (e.g. simple, reliable, artistic, exclusive).
- Metaphors and Concepts – These are the things that could help you personify your brand easier (e.g. an animal, a proverb, a celebrity, a philosophical concept).
Using the above, you can create a personality that will truly define and set your brand apart from your competitors. Even if you use very similar characteristics to those of your competitors (e.g. descriptive associations like friendliness and casualness), you can still use other characteristics to stand out (e.g. lower pricing, freebies).
4. Come Up with a Brand Name
As mentioned earlier, your brand name is one of the essential elements of your brand identity. It’s hard when there are so many brands because many names you think of at first might already be taken. Do not despair – you will find something that will fit your company and be completely original. Here are some tips on creating a good brand name:
- Consider your brand personality. The brand name should reflect your distinctive characteristics (e.g. casual vs professional).
- Try using your name. You can either use your last name or repurpose your name into a new word that will become your brand name.
- Keep it short and recognisable. Remembering shorter brand names (e.g., IKEA, Apple, Porsche, Wendy’s) is easier.
- Get inspiration from different cultures. You can use words from other languages or look into culture (e.g. Nike is the goddess of victory in Greek mythology).
- Find something related to your niche. It doesn’t have to be literal, but something related to your niche will help customers connect the dots faster when encountering your brand for the first time.
5. Brainstorm Ideas for a Memorable Slogan
After creating your brand name, you must develop a brand slogan. You can gather your team for a meeting and brainstorm ideas, especially when starting a business.
Alternatively, you can hire an experienced writer from the writing service Trust My Paper, who will help you create a memorable slogan.
Slogans are often used in marketing and are usually connected to the brand’s personality, vision, mission, and values. Think of iconic brand slogans such as Nike’s “Just do it” or McDonald’s’ “I’m lovin’ it”.
These slogans transcend the brand and can even become a part of pop culture, which could help your brand gain even more recognition.
6. Create a Visual Brand
Visual branding is a major aspect of branding and will help you define your brand image in practice, particularly in the context of marketing campaigns. In most cases, you will use visual branding in your marketing, advertising, and the company’s website.
However, you might also use visual branding internally to develop brand loyalty among your employees. The essential elements of your visual identity include the following:
- Colours – The colours you use in your branding will greatly impact your brand image and evoke customer interest, boosting sales. For instance, dark and cold colours like dark blue can signify professionalism, while bright and warm colours like yellow can evoke feelings of casualness and playfulness.
- Font – The font or typography you use in branding is also essential. Fonts can make or break your business. Remember that the font used for your web design should affect your customer’s emotions and impressions of your brand.
- Style – The style of your graphic design elements (in marketing and advertising and on your website) matters too. Look at Apple and its sleek, elegant, and minimalist style. You can compare it to McDonald’s, which uses a style that looks fun and family-friendly.
7. Design Your Brand Logo
While planning your visual branding, you will also have to design your brand’s logo. Like your brand name, this is crucial for your brand identity, so you must consider it.
If you lack the skills to design a brand logo, you should contact a professional design agency to help you. You want your brand logo to be distinctive and preferably timeless so that you don’t have to redesign it in just a few years.
One of the biggest decisions you must make when designing your brand logo is whether you want to have your brand name in your logo.
Some brands use their brand name (in their chosen font) as their logo. Other brand designers use a brand logo and add the brand name. And yet others only use the brand logo without any brand name attached to it.
All options are possible, so it depends more on your personal preference.
8. Adapt the Designs into Multiple Formats
Because you will be using branding in multiple places, both online and offline, you will need to prepare all the relevant materials in various formats. Here are some tips to keep in mind when adapting your designs into multiple formats:
- Take into account the nuances of each platform. An Instagram post will have a different format from an email or a billboard ad.
- Don’t be afraid to make small changes. If you need to make these changes to fit a specific format, go ahead and make them. As long as your brand’s overall identity is maintained, it is okay to make such alterations.
- Prepare a style guide to document your branding practices. All your planning so far needs to be recorded in a branding and style guide. You can also include specific details on how to adapt your branding for different formats. This guide will help you stay consistent across multiple platforms.
9. Consider Branding in Different Scenarios
To add to the previous tip, you will also need to consider how your branding may change in different scenarios. If you look at critical situations, most brands usually similarly respond to them.
They will make an official announcement through one or several communication channels with the public, which will always have a serious tone.
This means that even though your brand personality might tell that you will use a casual and sassy tone on social media, you will still need to change that tone in specific situations. Doing this will bring your brand to life.
Though this is more of a task for your PR team to work on, you can already plan out your communication to some extent in situations like these.
10. Get Outside Help with Your Branding
As mentioned earlier, if you don’t have the right experience and expertise to design a brand logo, you shouldn’t be working on it in the first place. The same thing can be said for all your branding plans. If you know you won’t be able to handle them alone, it’s best to get outside help with your web brand design.
If you want engaging content for brand design, you can look for the best essay writing agencies to find an experienced writer with enough knowledge in branding, business, and marketing. They will be able to help you with your branding strategy.
You can also use Go-To-Marketing (GTM) strategy to get your brand out there and show the best things you can do in your specific case.
11. Define Your Vision, Mission, and Values
Defining your vision, mission, and values is essential for your external brand image and company culture. These three things will help you build a company with specific goals other than profit-making.
Here’s what each of these elements of your branding means:
- Vision – This is the future image of your company. Where will it be? What kind of ideal will you aim to achieve?
- Mission – This is the practical aspect of your vision. How will you achieve your goals? Which methods will you use?
- Values – The fundamental principles and beliefs your company will uphold externally and internally.
12. Check Out Famous Brands for Inspiration
If you are struggling with your branding, the best thing you can do is look for inspiration. And the best way to find inspiration is by looking at some of the most famous brands in your niche and other industries. The examples mentioned earlier can already give you some ideas about how you can develop your own brand identity.
Some companies like Steve Jobs and Apple connect their brand image closely to their leaders. Other companies have mascots, like in the case of major fast-food chains or sports teams.
Yet other companies are focused chiefly on their products, like Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Some companies prefer to focus on their slogan (or the values associated with the brand), like in the case of Nike.
13. Explain Your Brand to Your Team
If you are developing your brand independently, it is time to get everyone on board and explain your branding strategy to all your employees. Ensuring everyone understands your brand image is critical for your business’s successful functioning and continuous growth.
Promoting your branding inside your company will also help you build a team that is genuinely dedicated to your brand and wants to create the products or services that will help you fulfil your mission. Likewise, a good understanding of your brand will help your marketing team present your company in a way that will be the most relevant to your customers and encourage them to connect with your brand.
14. Find a Brand Ambassador or Representative
Speaking of building this connection with your audience, another thing you can do in terms of branding is find a brand ambassador or representative to be the face of your brand. Celebrities have always done commercials for different brands, but nowadays, even influencers and small-time creators can become brand ambassadors.
Besides choosing a brand ambassador externally, you can also find someone inside your company. This person will help you personify your brand and present it to potential customers in the most accurate way possible.
15. Let Your Brand Evolve Over Time
Lastly, don’t be afraid of changes, and let your brand evolve. Some of the biggest brands today have been around for decades if not centuries.
They survived on the market and eventually became the giants they are today, thanks to their flexibility and willingness to adapt to the changes in our society.
These changes are not only reflected in the way their products and services are made but also in the way they are marketed. Product packaging could be considered a part of branding, and if you look at the evolution of the Coca-Cola bottle, it’s clear that the brand evolved.
You may need to undergo a significant change and even rebrand at some point, but the key is to continue changing gradually over the years.
Start Building Your Brand Today!
While it may take some time to develop your brand identity fully, it will ultimately be worth it. As you can see, branding can be a complex and challenging process, but it is worth taking the time to develop your brand. So make sure you follow the tips in this article to establish a solid and distinctive brand image that will make your company stand out since its founding and help it grow over the years.
By understanding your audience, researching your competition, and crafting a special message, you can create a strong brand that will help you succeed in the marketplace. If you need assistance developing your brand, we would be happy to help. Contact us today to get started!