To paraphrase Charles Dickens: it was the simplest of questions, it was the most complex of questions. How exactly should you brand your business? Should you start with the logo first, or perhaps your mission statement? While there is no one correct answer, success stories from the past have helped us to understand what makes a strong brand. With this in mind, we will be exploring some ways to brand businesses of all sizes from the ground up.
Determine Your Brand’s Niche in the Market
Before you start designing logos, developing slogans, and everything else in between, you need to answer one simple question: who are your customers? Whether you are Apple, the largest brand in the world, or a new cafe competing with the Starbucks just around the corner, identifying and understanding your market share is paramount.
Let’s look at Apple as an example. Apple may be the most well-known brand in the Western World, but it started as an alternative to the “real” technology of the times. When the iPhone was announced in 2007, it was perhaps the largest consumer tech announcement in the history of humanity. In fact, it still may be. Apple was sending a clear message: this phone is the future and you had better get on board or get left behind.
Now, iPhones are virtually identical to Androids and other smartphones from a purely technical standpoint. So why are they still so dominant in the market? Because the iPhone brand is incredibly strong. Customers are loyal to their phones due to ease of use, reliability, and personal connection to the products and the brand. Apple didn’t disrupt the market with a tagline, they disrupted the market by delivering what their consumers wanted.
Develop a Brand Message and Brand Personality
If after determining your core audience you lept straight to the copywriting room, not so fast my friend. Powerful brands deliver a clear, coherent, and consistent message. This brand message may start with three simple branches:
- Brand mission statements, logos, and taglines: Nike has perhaps the strongest combination of slogan and logo today, their iconic swoosh with a “Just do it”. The effectiveness of this branding strategy stems from its simplicity and the way Nike has used and reinforced this imagery over decades.
- Brand personality and culture: Sticking with Nike, developing a strong brand personality/culture is more important than ever in today’s transparent society. Consumers want to know what your product is all about on a personal level. Nike sticking with controversial figures like Colin Kaepernick sends a clear message that is consistent with the brand’s personality.
- Your brand’s unique selling point: Businesses are built on offering a good or service which other companies cannot. This might be due to your attention to detail, excellent customer service, a niche product, or dozens of other things. The point being, your branding needs to communicate why your business stands apart from the competition
Bringing it Together with a Complete Brand Identity
Branding is a complex business. Bringing the many seemingly disparate concepts of mission statements, artwork, logos, and even packaging can be a herculean task. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to branding a business. However, here are a few parting thoughts which can help build or adapt branding strategies for greater success in the future.
Brands must balance consistency with adaptive marketing. If you keep up with industry trends, you have no doubt heard about adaptive marketing. Modern consumers have come to expect quick responses and adaptation from their favorite brands due to market shifts or even global events. Brands must use market research to give their consumers what they expect without losing their core brand identity.
Strong brands must fight against market saturation. There is a great line from the legendary show The Sopranos where titular character Tony Soprano laments: “It’s good to be in something from the ground floor…I came in at the end…the best is over.” Many business owners share this sentiment. My product is great, but how can I compete in such a saturated market? The answer often comes in building a strong, unique, and memorable brand.
Give your brand a chance to grow organically. This goes back to adaptive marketing and the modern fault of overreacting to the slightest bump in the road. After taking weeks, months, or even years to develop the brand you want to deliver to the world, stick to it! Brands are not built overnight. If your message is strong, people will hear it. Businesses must not be afraid to change but neither should they be afraid to do what they believe is right.
Clock Tower Insight Offers Brand Positioning Services for Businesses of All Sizes
Clock Tower Insight is proud to work with a wide range of B2C and B2B industries, including retail, CPG, food service, and advertising organizations. We believe in using powerful, cutting edge research to offer brand-specific insights. With this insight, we work with brands to turn the data into actionable information, and eventually into business growth. Our services include brand positioning, customer experience management, and much more.
Learn more about how Clock Tower Insight can help your business today.