So, you’ve got a big idea and the passion to get it out into the world!

Time to take the dream seriously and give it some strong legs to hit the ground running. Creating an impactful brand is the first, and maybe most important hurdle to overcome. Luckily, the process is pretty straightforward in itself. The tricky part is doing it justice and giving it an honest hard crack. We’ve broken it down into 11 easy to follow stages!

Purpose

What is the purpose of your brand? Be thorough in your in reasoning as this needs to be concrete – it’s the foundation of your business!

Research Market

Understanding your competitors and the role they play in your industry is imperative to knowing where you should take your brand. Don’t be another drop in the ocean; find out where the land is dry and start watering it!

Audience

Having a strong understanding of who you’re targeting is clearly linked to past profitability of marketing efforts for small businesses. When you’re starting out, you don’t want to over dilute your resources – find your target and focus! Their positive assessment of your business will naturally create leads beyond their circles.

Persona

A useful way to ensure you’re designing towards your ideal audience is to craft a persona for your brand strategy to target. A persona should be reasonably thorough in detail, but don’t make them too niche – just enough that they reflect the average member of your target audience. With this, use it as a measuring tool when assessing the details of your brand and its marketing strategies. Ask the question ‘Would Person A respond in an ideal way to this statement/presentation?’

Statement

Your brand statement should be as succinct as possible and still carry the full purpose of your business. Try to use key descriptors that you use in multiple areas of your brand strategy, and somewhere between 20 and 50 words.

A popular way to communicate the purpose of a well-positioned statement is the concept of an Elevator Pitch. Picture this scene: You’re an intern on the bottom floor of a flashy firm. Your boss is catching the elevator up to the top floor. This is your only chance to tell them and convince them of your brilliant new idea! So, you have to be able to communicate the importance, effectiveness, and need of your idea in the time it takes to get from the bottom floor to the top!

Differentiation

Differentiation is the parts of your brand that are different from all of your main competitors and is probably going to be the reason your clients pick you instead of the others in your industry! So, it’s important to clearly understand and solidify these points of difference if you’re going to stand out from the pack. These could be anything ease of access to service, highest quality materials or even personalised customer service. We’ve gone to more detail on this very important factor of brand management and curation in one of our recent posts! Learn more here.

Tone of Voice

Your brand’s tone of voice is a subtle, yet effective way to bring all the pieces of your brand together to create a cohesive message for the world to hear. Centralising it on some clear key words, use of thematic language or even just the frequency of exclamation marks and colloquialisms can have a marked impact on the perception of your brand and its attitudes. The details you communicate to your audience will always be changing but keeping the tone of voice the same across the board means that it will always be understood where the message is coming from.

Build a Narrative

We’re not talking about an epic spread across three books and 10 years here, but just as much passion and enticement should come across in your brand’s narrative. Sometimes narratives will take on parts or whole truths about the origin of your brand. Maybe you’re selling honey from your family home, that’s been keeping bees for generations, all the way back to great-great-great Grandma Ethyl. That’s a wonderful brand narrative that speaks of an authentic family run business that has a lot of emotional pull which will resonate with the right audience. In cases of very large companies, such as Woolworths, they will take very old parts of their humble origins to paint themselves as a local-to-local, honest-to-goodness business, trying to make you not think about the very real fact of them being a behemoth player in the supermarket industry, often crushing small, actually local businesses along the way. But their narrative is good and importantly, it’s convincing, with shoppers regularly converting over to the convenience and faux-local goods of its business. That’s the power of a well-tailored Brand Narrative.

Logo / Tagline

This is often the place where people try to start their brand development. It’s not wrong to start here necessarily, but if you do, you have to go back to the real beginning and make sure your business and the decisions you make have a clear purpose and focus. Remember, your logo, name, and tagline are not your brand – they’re the tools you use to communicate your brand. So, while you might love this part the most and it gets you excited to get the business off the ground, a logo and a tagline are just a hollow picture and some empty words if they don’t have true meaning to back them up.

That being said, creating the right visual identity of your brand is imperative to the whole game! Thing’s like photo treatment, style of illustration, font choice and use, the color palette. These are all signature statements of your brand. Creating a style guide to easily refer to with these details is a great way to ensure your brand’s identity remains consistent over time and with different employees and moving parts. This is actually a very detailed aspect of Brand Management, so we’ve got another article for you to have a squiz at over here!

Integration

Taking all the pieces of the puzzle and putting it together is one of the most satisfying parts of the process. However, it can be easy to get bogged down in the details. When you’re talking about brand integration, it’s about applying your brand’s identity to every aspect of its functioning. This can cover anything from your website to your business card, your receipt paper, your staff uniform or even the wrap detailing you’ll put on the back window of your car! These aspects can be fiddly but having little details over a large scale can have a huge impact of authenticity, reliability, and confidence for your audience. When you look like you know what you’re doing, people will usually believe you.

Assessment

Now you’ve put in the hard yards, you’ve looked at your brand from every angle and you can answer every tangible detail of the identity. But what about the intangible? Things like, being distinct, memorable, scalable, flexible, cohesive, easy to apply? These all take a bit more of a cerebral and emotional assessment. Ask your friends, family and maybe even your team for their opinions, but the most important answers will come from strangers that are a part of your target audience. Test your market! Take note of emotional and functional responses to what you’ve brought to the table and where necessary, tweak away until it fits both your goals and your audience’s needs.

Boom! Now you’ve followed through your dream business with a detailed, informed and passionate understanding of who you are and why you’re here! While brands do and should evolve over time, starting with the best foot forward and setting a standard of excellence and authenticity will serve you well into the maturity of your brand and its connection with your community. Advantage has always been passionate about bringing a brand to its best, so if you’re feeling the need to make branding magic happen, drop us a line!