Week 6: Branding Basics
“Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room”
— JEFF BEZOS, FOUNDER OF AMAZON
What is Branding?
When most people think of branding they think of logos and packaging, but there is actually much more to it than that. Why are some brands more successful than others? It isn’t purely down to having a globally recognisable logo (although that helps, but more on that later). Branding is what sets your business apart from your competitors; it is your reputation and your identity.
We all want to work with/buy from people and companies we can trust; so building a business with a strong reputation, built on shared values, is vital for a company to succeed. Your brand communicates who you are and what you stand for, not just what you’re selling.
How to brand your business
So, where do you start? Hopefully you will have read through the previous blog posts on our 12 Week Health Check and will have some thoughts on defining your clients and your goals/values. This will heavily influence your branding.
- Define your brand
Drawing on work from our previous blogs, here is where we start to pull it all together – what is your product, why are you doing this, who is your target audience, is there a market for your product/service – do you solve a problem? What is truly going to set you apart from your competitors?
- Research your competitors
Doing a SWOT analysis of your competitors will help you see where the gaps in the market are, and help you define how your brand can be unique and show where there is room to develop your USP. see week 2. It will also highlight any mistakes others have made, so you can avoid the same.
- Develop your Brands ‘personality’
As we said, your brand is going to make you stand out from the competition, and so everything to do with your business has to be consistent and thought out. Your company might not be an individual but to build trust and loyalty with customers, it will need to have a personality. Think about your brand’s tone of voice and how you will communicate with potential clients/customers. The consistency here is key – any messaging from your brand (social media, customer services, print ads, email) should all have the same sound, look and feel to ensure you are cultivating a strong brand identity. This will also be influenced by your target audience, and the reason you must do your homework first! For example, a young fashion retailer targeting 16-24yr olds, will speak very differently to their customers than a prominent finance institution…
- Come up with a tagline and mission statement
As you work through the above points, your brand identity and values should start to become clear. Now it’s time to communicate them to the world. A tagline is a powerful way to communicate your brand, so it should be short, snappy and most importantly, memorable. If you think of the brands you trust, how many of their taglines do you know (probably some without even realising?)
- L’Oreal ‘Because you’re worth it’
- Tesco ‘Every little helps’
- McDonald’s ‘Im lovin’ it’
- Nike ‘Just do it’
Your mission statement, on the other hand, is more detailed and tells the world who you are and what you want to achieve. Take Nike for example, their brand tagline ‘Just do it’ is underpinned by the company mission statement ‘Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world (*if you have a body, you’re an athlete).
- Choose a strong logo
Be honest, in an article about branding, you were expecting this to be first, weren’t you? Which is fine if you already have a really strong logo, but generally it’s good practice to have a well thought out brand identity before committing time and expense to a design. After all, your logo is the ‘face’ of your brand, something customers will grow to recognise and trust, you need to get it right.
Remember, you will be using this logo everywhere and as we said before, with every aspect of branding, consistency is key. Your logo will be used on websites, stationery, social media, email signatures, uniforms, packaging, business cards, print ads, billboards, vehicles, sponsored football kits! Okay, you get the idea. The worst thing that could happen (and it very often does) is to rush a logo design and regret it further down the line, especially when you’ve spent a fortune on reproducing it everywhere.
You can use design software to come up with a logo yourself (such as Canva) or there are plenty of reputable design agencies who specialise in this very thing.
When designing your logo, you will also need to ensure you have strong brand guidelines in place for all communication, website design, social media etc. This will cover fonts and typography, colour palettes of all branding (and this needs to be specific, not just any old shade of yellow for example) templates, forms, printed media etc. Again, be consistent.
In conclusion, branding your business doesn’t happen overnight and will take some serious thought. Just remember, don’t rush it, be honest about what you want to achieve, and be consistent!
As always, feel free to get in touch if you want more advice on this or any other aspect of your marketing. Also, if you found this useful, feel free to give us a like or share on social media. Thank you!
If you’re new to this series of blogs, you can catch up on any of our previous ones here: https://freelancemarketer.co.uk/blog/
Welcome to our blog. The purpose of this blog is to help people to market their own businesses more effectively by sharing our knowledge, experience and useful tools. If you need any further advice don’t hesitate to get in touch or feel free to comment with any questions on the blog posts and we will get back to you with the best answers we can give.
Week 4: How – How Do I Find And Reach My Target Customers? So in week one and two, we covered the ‘Who’ and ‘What’ of your business
WEEK 3: WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS – WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS? So in week one and two, we covered the ‘Who’ and ‘What’ of your business marketing