How to build a brand: A step-by-step guide to branding
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 19 May 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
A brand is a business concept that helps consumers identify a product, business or individual. It serves as your business's reputation and helps you generate customers if your brand is effective. Understanding what a brand is and knowing how to build a brand may help you enhance your own or create a new one. In this article, we look at what a brand is, explore why they're important and offer a step-by-step guide that marketing professionals can follow to construct a brand.
How to build a brand
Business leaders and marketing professionals can use the following four steps to build a brand:
1. Determine your target audience
Defining your target audience is the first step in building a brand, as it's important to align your brand with the needs and desires of your prospects. To determine your ideal client base:
1.1 Decide who is most likely to buy the product
Considering relevant factors, such as age, gender and geography, can help you outline a target demographic. If you are selling pink pencil cases, for example, your target audience might be a demographic of schoolgirls aged around 6 - 16. If you are selling protein powder, your target demographic may be power-lifters and athletes.
1.2 Consult available sales statistics and data
Data is one of the most valuable tools in marketing because it reveals the behaviour patterns of your target audience, which you can then use to your advantage. Statistics, for example, might help you define your target demographic because you can gauge how a particular audience responds to a particular product. You can also gather your own data, tailored to your needs, by distributing questionnaires.
1.3 Study similar companies
You can learn from established companies that offer similar products or services. Try to gather more information about how they create marketing campaigns targeted towards certain groups that buy their products the most. Compare different companies' data to develop a thorough understanding of their brands.
1.4 Talk to your target market
Consider engaging with people who fit your company's ideal client profile to determine what their likes and needs are and what brands appeal to them and why. You can create a more detailed outline of exactly what your customers want. After you have decided on a target audience, you can start creating a brand to attract them.
2. Position your product and business
Positioning a business involves deciding how to distinguish its products or services from other similar offerings in the marketplace. To do so, you firstgather as much information as you can about your company's direct competition, such as details about their products, prices and markets and their marketing strategies. Try to determine possible shortcomings in their products, services or areas in the market that they're not satisfying and use this information to your advantage.
After you have investigated your competition, it's important to develop a unique selling proposition. A USP is a concise statement that tells clients what the company is offering. Ensure your USP highlights the features of your product that make it unique and add value for clients.
3. Establish brand mission and vision statements
Brand missions and vision statements enable brands to remain consistent in the delivery of their products and services, while also moving towards ultimate objectives. A brand mission defines a business's purpose, goals and how it plans to deliver value to its consumer base. A vision statement is an overarching, long-term goal that a brand hopes to realise by fulfilling its mission. Vision statements are typically idealistic, such as ‘make the world happy', for example. They are not always necessarily achievable, but they provide goals that brands can perpetually move towards.
Well-written brand mission and vision statements are brief, to the point and have coherent messages that aren't open to interpretation. Researching some brand missions and vision statements of other companies can give you inspiration for creating your own.
4. Define your company's personality
To an extent, a brand conveys the business' identity. An important step in building a brand involves determining the company's personality. Apart from a company's products and services, its target audience can also help establish its personality. If your target audience is cycling enthusiasts, you would most likely want an active persona. Deciding on your company's personality may require brainstorming with other members of the branding team. You can start the process by thinking of the company as a person. For instance, if the company is a backpacker, you could describe what this person looks like and how they act.
Using descriptive words such as ‘traveller', ‘independent', ‘revolutionary' or ‘fun' can help you and the branding team to verbalise your abstract thoughts. You could also try to associate your product or company with any image or idea you think of. For example, if the company produces running shoes, you may think of a gazelle and use this image to generate more ideas. These kinds of creative thought processes allow you and your team to provide your company with a distinctive voice.
5. Choose a logo and slogan
An effective logo can make your brand visually appealing, while a successful slogan can help customers remember your product.
A logo conveys the image and personality of a brand. Consult with a professional designer or brand agency during this process to ensure that your logo is tasteful, effective and well-crafted. A professional designer can advise you on things like font, colour, logo size, iconography and general design. They may also help you design a logo that reflects or complements your brand name. This can help ensure the brand is profitable.
A slogan is a short, catchy phrase that you can employ during marketing campaigns to give your brand an extra edge. It's not a permanent feature of your brand, so you can adjust and change it for new marketing campaigns. For example, if you sell snorkelling gear, your slogan could be, ‘Get the best view under the seas'.
Your brand informs the culture of your company. You can market your brand internally by aligning your dress code, professional behaviour and voice to the image. Your behaviour sets the standard for other staff members, which can translate into your company's culture.
What is a brand?
There are various ways to explain what a brand is, but the simplest way to conceive of a brand is to consider it a way of distinguishing one business from another. The term ‘brand' comes from cattle farming, where farmers brand their livestock with a unique mark of identification. Just like with cattle farming, the basic function of a brand is to distinguish one property from another, in this case, a business. This is what a brand does on a basic level, but what comprises a brand and how it interacts with people is much more complex.
A brand acts as a business's reputation and even its personality. People use reputations and personalities to determine who they want to engage with and in the same way, people judge brands and decide whether to engage with them. A good brand is one that is easily distinguishable, trustworthy and attractive and that encompasses ethics and a desirable vision. A logo is an important asset that a brand owns and that represents the brand. When consumers see a logo, this signals the wider brand identity and triggers various associations in the consumer's mind.
Why is it important to build a brand?
Branding is fundamental to business marketing, as a consistent and powerful brand enables consumers to recognise your business and feel a connection with it. Brands can affect the way people perceive products, services and companies overall. Usually, brands are equally important as products or services in delivering value to customers. When people buy something, they're also buying into the ideas and concepts promoted by the brand. Banks, for example, have brand identities that revolve around reliability, professionalism and trust. When people become customers of banks, they are buying into these features, besides the service.
Engaging and memorable brands enable the public clear recognition of products and services and understand what value they can expect to receive. Branding can also establish trust because people know what to expect from brands they recognise, creating familiarity between businesses and customers.
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