January 2019 I part one
The Ins and Outs of Creating a Brand: Brand Guide Part One
Today I am introducing a new series to the Grace Built Blog, a brand guide: The Ins and Outs of Creating a Brand. Throughout this four-part branding series, we will be discussing all of the essential aspects of creating a memorable brand, that works for your audience and drives sales. The guide will walk through a brand evaluation, discuss finding your target audience, learn more about moodboards, color theory, plus typography, and touch on setting brand objectives.
If that sounds overwhelming, don’t worry! We have broken this up into four separate posts, so you have time to consume each post, and work on implementing what you have learned. By the end, you should have all the tools you need for creating a brand that stands the test of time.
Shall we get started?
Branding is the foundation of your business, and the collective efforts of design, language, and your customers experience.
What Is Branding?
First and foremost, it is essential to understand what exactly a brand is. Often you will hear the term logo and the term brand used interchangeably, however, your business logo is just one aspect of your brand, not your whole brand.
Branding is the foundation of your business, and the collective efforts of design, language, and your customers experience. In other terms, your brand is how your customers perceive you and their emotional response to your product or service. It’s what they say about you, how they feel about you, and what makes them choose you. Your logo is part of your brand, just as much as how you or your employees answer the phone is a part of your brand.
To break it down into more substantial terms, branding is made up of:
At the end of the day, all of these things should be working to differentiate you, build relationships and promote loyalty. A good brand is recognizable, clear, consistent, adaptable, authentic.
A good brand differentiates you, builds relationships and promotes loyalty.
Before starting work on creating a brand, or before you update your existing brand, it’s important to evaluate where you are in the market currently, and where you want to go. A brand evaluation will help you determine your place in the market compared to your competitors and will highlight your weaknesses.
What is your mission?
What is your brand message?
what are the key differences between you and your competitors?
As you answer these questions, be as honest and thorough as possible. Again, you want to be highlighting your weaknesses, so you can find the areas you can improve on and determine how to move forward. You can use social media analytics, google analytics, research, customer surveys, etc. to help gather the information needed to answer these questions fully.
Evaluate where you are in the market currently, and where you want to go.
One of the most crucial aspects of creating a successful brand, is determining who your target audience is and understanding them on a deep level. Finding your target audience allows you to create content that converts and ensures that your brand is not working against you.
You probably have an idea of who your target audience is, but honing in on the minor details will help you understand what drives them. When you know why your audience makes decisions, you can cater your content to them. With every choice you make for your brand, you should always be referring back to your ideal target audience to make sure that your choice is in line with their demographics and values.
what problems does your service or product solve?
A good exercise you can do with your team, is to create a persona. This is an outline of your ideal target audience that you can reference when you are stuck in a decision. Your persona can include:
As your brand grows and evolves, be sure to keep returning to your target audience. Of course, there are instances where you have two audiences. A Tale Of Two Audiences (blog post by Spruce Rd.) is a great resource for navigating branding for two audiences.
When you know why your audience makes decisions, you can cater your content to them.
That’s it for part one! Not too overwhelming, I hope? If you have any questions about these first three steps to creating a brand, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. In part two of this series, we will be discussing setting brand objectives and finding your brand tone. It’s a good one, so I hope to see you there!