No matter the size of your business, the industry you’re entering, or whether you’re B2B or retail, getting your branding right is what will ultimately set you apart from your competitors. But what exactly is branding and how do you apply it your business?
Let’s imagine your business is a person. That person has a name, they dress in a certain way, they have a personality, and they hold values and ideas. All of these elements allow them to project themselves onto the world in a way in which they want to be seen. It sets them apart from everyone else and gives them individuality. In a sense, that person is their own personal brand.
If we apply the same idea to your business, it has a name, it will have a certain look and feel, and it has an ethos, values and ideas that you perceive as valuable. All of these elements combine to help create your business’ individuality and ultimately shape your brand. “But there are so many brands out there, how will I be any different?” I hear you say…
It’s true that the world is saturated with recognisable brands, all selling similar services and products in slightly different ways. But more often than not they all start to merge into one when you think about them. They follow the same trends, copy styles, and in many cases lack any real substance.
Then there are the truly great brands… A truly great brand goes beyond a recognisable logo and catchy tagline. A great brand has a purpose, a single idea behind it, and a mission statement that permeates through everything that business does. These brands stand head and shoulders above the rest of the competition. They understand that business isn’t just about selling a product or service, it’s about promoting an idea, building relationships and breaking ground.
If you can apply the same thinking to your brand, you’ll be on the right track to creating something much bigger than just business. Here are five tips on how to create a brand identity that will help your business stand out from the crowd.
Define Your Brand
Defining your brand isn’t something that should be rushed. It takes commitment and introspection. Do your research, learn the needs, habits and desires of your prospective customers. Do not rely on guess work, you must ensure you know how your customer thinks.
Develop Your Brand Story
Why does your business exist? What happened that made you decide you needed to bring your product or service to market? Who are the people behind your business and what do they believe? These things can help you establish your emotive brand positioning and inform the identity and character for your brand messaging.
Imagine Your Brand Is a Person
We are all in a sense our own personal brands. We hold beliefs and values which define who we are and how we connect with the world. We dress and behave in certain ways to suit different situations, but ultimately we maintain our overall sense of self. It can be difficult to dissect our own character, but when it comes to building a brand it is vital to have that understanding.
Don’t Copy the Big Players
Some say there’s a fine line between inspiration and plagiarism, however I would suggest staying as far away from that line as possible. The fact you’ve reached the point of creating your own brand shows intrigue and creativity and you should use that to carve out your own identity. Remember, authenticity is key. Consumers now more than ever need a reason to buy into your brand and a good way to ensure you’re on their radar is to be honest, original and authentic.
Don’t be afraid to go against the grain. If your brand stands for something, shout it from the roof tops. Be innovative, daring and break ground. As a new brand you have a blank canvas, an opportunity to shape the way the world sees you. Big brands no longer have that luxury. They have layers of executives, shareholders and decisions makers making it harder than ever to innovate and react to the ever changing consumer world. With infancy comes flexibility. Use it to mould your brand.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in the branding world, but hopefully the advice above has set your creative juices flowing. Get out there, do your research, dream big and make something awesome.
View our branding projects