Strong, unique branding is undeniably important when starting a new business, or re-branding an existing one. Branding is the promise you make to the customer. It tells them who you are and what to expect from you, so it’s vital that it’s saying the right things.
It can be extremely difficult to draw up a brand identity from scratch. Even if you’ve been in business for years, it’s still easy for the essence and personality to be lost – especially if your organisation has grown and changed within that time.
It’s time to sit down and take the time to define your brand, to put down clearly on paper who you are and what you want to say. Ask yourself these 7 crucial questions:
1. What is your company’s mission? A starting point for brand definition is your organisation’s ultimate goal, what it hopes to achieve. For example, giving customers a new way to do X or Y, solving a particular problem or revolutionising a particular industry. Create a tagline if you like, such as Nike’s brand promise: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world”.
2. How are you different from your competitors? Put yourself in the mind of your customer. Why should they choose you over similar brands, or companies doing a similar thing to you? Your unique selling point (USP) or point of difference is what you can use to stand out with your branding.
3. What values or qualities do you want customers and clients to associate with your brand? For example – reliability, family values, expertise, exceptional value, fun, trustworthy.
4. Who is your ideal customer? A big part of brand definition is not just understanding who you are, but who your customers are too. Come up with a target customer persona, being as detailed as you can.
5. How would you describe your brand if it was a person? Coming up with a few words or a sentence to describe your brand as if it were a person can help you define its personality.
6. How do you want your customers to feel? Think about the emotional impact your brand will have on its customers – will it make them feel safe and secure, is it comforting and familiar, or even nostalgic? Does it inspire creativity or a sense of wellbeing?
7. What are the specific qualities of the service you offer? You really need to narrow it down here, stating your specific area of expertise rather than the broader industry you’ll be working within. For example, you’re a PR specialist with expertise in digital media, rather than just a company offering PR services.
Drawing up brand guidelines
With the answers to these questions, you should be able to start sketching out your brand identity and guidelines. This essential document enshrines your brand personality, and should be used to inform everything from web design to social media communications.
For expert assistance in this crucial stage of your brand development, contact our branding specialists here at Ambos Digital.