Over the last few posts, I have been discussing different aspects of building a brand. In this post, I will summarise the key steps of how you can build your own brand.
1. Understand your brand
A brand is not just a name. It is an abstract concept, comprising of a collection of product or service “attributes”, i.e. how people see your brand. For example – people may buy your brand due to the price, quality, experience, how you interact with customers and how they associate themselves with your product or service. These “brand attributes” represent how your customer feels about your brand. Read more – What is a Brand?
“Brand attributes underpin and form your brand identity.”
Building a brand begins with creating your company’s mission and vision. How do you want to be perceived by your customer or potential customers? How do you want to differentiate your brand from your competitors? Your brand will comprise of two key elements:
Brand Identity – this is a combination of your brand attributes, i.e. physical appearance (logo, colour(s), product shape, packaging, etc.) and personality.
Brand Image - this is how your audience perceives you, and it may not be the same as the identity you have built. Your brand image is passive, uncontrollable, but manageable.
Read more – What are brand attributes?
2. Brand Self-Analysis
Once you have created your mission, vision and positioning, you will need to identify your brand attributes in relation to your customers. For example, if you are a car manufacturer, which of these brand attributes do you most identify with? Are you innovative? Fuel efficient? Comfortable? Cost effective? Luxurious? Family oriented?
The next step is to categorise your attributes into emotional, rational or functional. Choose the best attribute(s) to communicate in the short term. These attributes should be obvious ones relating to your business, such as your existing unique selling point (USP) and your assets, etc. Next, choose your mid-term brand attributes, which should be what you are looking to deliver or communicate in the near future. Lastly, choose attributes for the long term, i.e. what your business aspires to be and aims to achieve. Read more – How to build brand attributes.
3. Communicate your brand
Choose a brand name - create a logo and relevant materials, such as letterheads, business cards, website, etc. which reflect your “brand identity”.
Build a brand story - use storytelling to help your audience to understand who you are and what you are about. This includes your internal audience, stakeholders, intermediates, customers, etc. What is your brand about? Once you have your brand story, you can tailor this to different audiences. In my post on internal branding, I discussed the importance of building an internal brand to drive your brand story, as well as creating a brand architecture of a “corporate brand” and a “sub-brand”. The core of your brand story should be consistent, even when you tailor this to your corporate audience and your customers.
Internal branding - it’s very important that your employees understand and live your brand because they are the ones who will be delivering your brand, at each and every customer touchpoint. When it comes to building an internal brand, customer-focused leadership is essential.
4. Understand your customers
Understanding your customers is of paramount importance. This step should be done at the very beginning of your journey and throughout the process of building your brand. Although I have listed a few steps above, they do not necessarily follow a chronological order. This depends on your business and where you are in your own branding journey. However, the steps explored in this post are in a logical order. To fully understand your customer is a big topic – therefore, I will explore this subject over my forthcoming posts.
In my next series of articles, I will be discussing the following:
Identify your customers and understand their behaviours
Do you meet their needs or create their wants?
Is your customer everything to your success?
If you have found this article interesting, please visit our All About Branding pages.
If you would like help or support in building your brand, please contact me.