Coca-Cola. Nike. McDonald’s. Red Bull. These are all brands that are undeniably familiar. From just their logo, you can identify exactly which brand it represents and what type of product they sell. You probably can also recall their slogans without even thinking about it, too.
How does one build a brand so recognizable as these four industry leaders? It involves a lot of research, creativity, positioning, and determination. The hardest part, though, is getting started.
You have a great business idea, whether it’s a service or a product. Now it’s time to start building a brand around it. Here is a beginner’s guide to help you build the brand you need to be successful.
The Difference Between a Company and a Brand
Many people assume that a company and a brand are synonymous. It makes sense. The name Coca-Cola is the same for both the brand and the company. However, there is a major difference between the two.
Building a brand means creating a reputation and an image for a service or product. Through its positioning, a brand can communicate certain features of the product simply through the logo, slogan, advertisements, and the status it holds in society.
People will spend more money for a certain brand because of its reputation. For example, a woman may spend hundreds of dollars on a Gucci handbag simply because it boosts her status in society. She is now seen as stylish and rich.
Through building a brand that is recognizable and respected, your company will then see increased profits. It’s important to remember that people will often pay more for the brand, not for the quality of a product.
Think of the company as the man behind the curtain from The Wizard of Oz. It controls the brand – or the large green head that frightens Dorothy and her posse. While the Wizard is seen as frightening because that was the position and reputation he had, behind the scenes he was actually a sympathetic man.
Your company will be focused on the numbers and analytical aspect of the business and less about the people you’re marketing to. It takes care of all the little details like finances, production, and logistics. In simple terms, it’s meant to keep the brand alive financially.
Once you have your company’s processes and logistics figured out, then it’s time to start building your brand.
Thinking of a Name
Deciding on a name can be either the easiest or hardest part of building a brand. In some cases, the name may come to you instantly and it’s perfect. Other times you’ll obsess over names for days, maybe even weeks before finally settling on one.
Your name should be catchy, memorable, and speak to what your product or service stands for. Now, this may seem like a daunting task, especially if you aren’t sure where to start.
The best thing you can do is to research your industry. Read everything you can about your product, the people who will use it, and its place in society. Gather as much information about your industry and topics that are related to it.
Let that information sit with you for a while. Stop thinking about it. Move on to another task, go for a walk, clean your house. You’ll be surprised when you’re standing in front of your bathroom sink brushing your teeth and you suddenly come up with the perfect name.
If you’re more strategic and enjoy working off of formulas, I recommend you read this guide by Nick Kolenda titled The Psychology of Product Names. You’ll gain some interesting insight as to what factors make a brand’s name successful.
Creating the Logo
There are a few different approaches you can take when creating your brand’s logo. Some brands decide to have a design that is simple but doesn’t really connect to the name or the product itself. Or your logo can (and should) drive home what your brand stands for.
Laura Ries, author of Visual Hammer, offers a great breakdown of what your logo should consist of for it to be memorable to your audience and market. From colors to the types of animals to consider, you’ll have some more direction as to what your logo should look like.
Remember, when people see your logo, you want them to automatically think of your product or service and the reputation you’ve created for it.
A Catchy (Yet Informative) Slogan
With every great brand is a great slogan. Your slogan should be catchy, only a handful of words in length, and state the mission of your brand. Now you’re probably thinking, how do you make an impact while including these three key factors in just a few words?
I won’t promise that it’s easy, but it is possible! Take some time and think about your brand, your product, and how it benefits your customers. What is unique about it? What separates it from every other brand in your industry?
Once you determine what sets you apart, use that to start thinking of your slogan. Remember, your slogan should reinforce your brand’s mission.
Position Your Brand
An important part of building a brand is to position it within your industry. If you’re creating a brand in an industry that already exists, then you’ll have to show your market how you’re different from every other brand.
For example, if you’re launching a new energy drink, how will you separate your brand from Red Bull and Monster? Maybe it has all-natural ingredients? Maybe it isn’t carbonated, which means no bloating when you drink it.
Make your brand stand out in your industry by promoting how your customers will benefit from your product over the others.
Know Your Target
The only way you will find your position is if you know your target market. Who are you selling to? What are they like? It’s important to remember that your market is made up of real people, not just statistics and numbers.
Really get to know the customers you’re advertising to. This will help you build a brand that your market appreciates and identifies with.
Create buyer personas to break down information such as age group, gender, education, ambitions, likes, dislikes, and more to know how and where to market your brand.
Customers Know Best
Anyone who has worked in retail hates hearing the phrase, “The customer is always right.” But when it comes to building a brand, your customers really do know best. Your brand wouldn’t be around if you didn’t have customers!
Listen to your customers’ wants and needs. Put your customers first. When it comes to building a brand and its reputation, customers will think highly of it if the service is top-notch. Add thoughtful touches to the package of your product or incentives to your service.
When your customers feel appreciated, they’ll be loyal to your brand.
Study Your Competitors
Unless you’re the first brand in your market or industry, you’ll have competitors. Take notes and lessons from what they have done and what they’re doing wrong. Then make a better product and do the opposite of what your competitors are doing.
What are their products missing that customers want? Can you cut the price of your product in half but offer double the amount of it? Don’t be afraid to go against the grain.
It’s the only way your brand will break through and stand out.
Build a Brand That Lasts
Building a brand isn’t easy. But it’s worth the hard work when it’s done right. When you build a brand that has a great reputation, inspires people, and stands for something, you’ll have loyal customers and a legacy to maintain.
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