Many people believe that creating a brand for a company means hiring a designer to build a logo, some stationery, and creating graphic content whose colors would match the ones used in the logo for the sake of maintaining unity; this can't be farther from the truth. There is a difference between visual identity and branding strategy.
A Visual Identity Manual consists of the logo, the color scheme, the typography you will use for all your communication, and the imagery styles that will be the base example for all graphic content for the future. As you can see, we've only talked about visual and superficial items so far.
A Brand's Strategy Manual is so much more. Surely you will find all of the items above, but also you will learn about the more important stuff: The soul of your brand. A Branding Strategy consists of building the company's core values, its reason for existing, the way it interacts with users, and more.
You may ask, why is this important? So let's dive in!
The Golden Circle:
I present to you a video a little bit old but with timeless content:
As explained by Simon Sinek, "Everyone knows what they do, some know how they do it, but very few people or organizations know why they do it."
Simon Sinek talks about Apple, but here is another example, just in case you needed it: Google.
Google could easily tell you that they are "a search engine where you can find what you are looking for," these are the How and What of the company. But what they genuinely communicate is the Why: "Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."
Brands, just as humans, need a purpose for existing. Making a profit is not a purpose, it's just a result, and a result most companies (if not all) want to achieve. So we must decide how the world can be a better place, and how our brand will make sure to play its part in achieving what it stands for. Confident brands are sexy, and brands that deliver what they stand for are trustworthy. As with human interaction, brand trust is the foundation of long relationships with the user.
Where to Begin When Building a Brand?:
1. Think about the WHY:
Remember the golden circle and go from the inside out. Dedicate time to analyze the purpose of your brand existence, how your company will achieve this, and what it will do.
2. Build a Brand Personality:
As you may have realized, meaningful brands have values and purpose just as humans, this is what will help you build an emotional connection with your customers. The exercise for building personality is the following: if your brand was a person, how would you describe it? Think of keywords for creating a character (Intellectual, Altruistic, Serious, Adventurous, Friendly, Quiet, Strong). Is your brand a man, a woman, non-binary? What is its age? Is it young or old? How does your brand interact with others? Is it extroverted, ambivert, or introvert? What does your brand like to do as a hobby?
3. Find Your Tone of Voice:
The tone of voice is fundamental for any medium of communication you will use when talking to your customers, users, and even your teammates. From a client call or email, up to your social media content or a paid ad, your company needs to know the type of tone it uses to approach a project to be consistent in all its platforms.
Here are some ideas for you to establish a tone:
Humour: Are you funny or serious?
Formality: Are you casual, approachable, or super formal and professional?
Respectfulness: Are you sassy, or do you want to be respectful?
Enthusiasm: Are you enthusiastic and a dreamer, or are you practical and realistic?
Starbucks defines its tone of voice as Functional and Expressive. On the other hand, Coca-Cola's tone is positive, friendly, and down-to-earth. A final example: Virgin Mobile sounds humorous, cheeky, and it keeps it simple and real.
Enough talking about ourselves, now let's talk about the external factors of our company:
4. Target Audience:
You should know your client as you know the palm of your hand. Who they are, what they do, and what problem is your business solving for them. These are some of the things you may want to know about them:
Where do they hang out in their free time?
What do they love doing, what do they hate?
What websites, brands, tv shows they follow?
What is their preferred form of communication?
Who inspires them, or what type of celebrities they follow, and why?
What are their priorities, their biggest challenges, and how they are looking to solve them?
You may think this is a little bit extreme, but this is why it isn't: If you know the people that inspire them, you can build up an influencer campaign. If you know the factors they consider when making a purchase, you can create a strategy that they will not refuse. Attention to detail is essential.
Some people say, "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer," but instead of looking at competitors as enemies, you should see them as an excellent opportunity to improve, reorganize yourself and maybe reconsider some of the strategies you thought about. While also keeping them closer!
You're ready to start your brand!
Even though we've covered the essential bits to start building your brand from scratch, there is just so much more to talk about this topic: the mission and vision, niche, positioning statement, tagline, user persona, and more! Make sure to follow us on our social media platforms to learn more about these topics.
Do you have a project in mind you want to develop?. From building out your branding strategy up to delivering complex digital products, we are the right fit for you! Why? Because we work with passionate clients with challenging ideas, we believe in creating long-term partnerships to drive successful product delivery.