Get Started in 2024: Tips in Branding
Discover how to start your own brand and make a strong and unforgettable brand image that connects with the people you want to reach.
Creating a brand is crucial when launching a business. Having a fantastic business concept or groundbreaking product is meaningless unless you can convey it to the world, especially in a manner that resonates with your intended audience.
Your brand image in the minds of your customers, competition, and the market all comes down to brand positioning and the aesthetic choices you make. But your brand identity is more than a logo. It encompasses everything from your unique brand personality to your mission statement to the consistent color palette you use across every channel.
In this guide, discover the process of constructing your brand from the ground up and crafting a captivating and unforgettable brand image that connects with your desired audience. Additionally, delve into the essentials of designing a brand logo or a catchy slogan, featuring real-life examples from prosperous brands and expert tips on branding design.
Here are the 7 tips on branding:
Research your target market
The first step to building a successful brand is understanding the current market: Who are your potential customers and competitors? Every solid brand strategy and business plan is based on this very question.
You can’t create a brand logo unless you know the preferences of your audience. And developing a unique brand personality that stands out from the crowd can only happen once you know the competitive landscape.
There are many ways to conduct market research before you start the brand building process:
- Google your product or service category and analyze the direct and indirect competitors that appear in search results.
- Talk to people who are part of your target market and ask them what brands they buy from in your industry.
- Look at the relevant social media accounts or pages your target audience follows.
- Shop online or in retail stores and get a feel for how your customers would browse and buy products.
- Investigate trends in your industry by reading publications, browning social media, and using Google Trends.
During your research, take note of the biggest brands in the market. What are they doing right? What do you offer that they don’t? This is called your unique selling proposition (USP).
You should also pay attention to the habits common to your target audience, like the platforms they use most, the language and slang they use, and how they engage with other brands. These insights will help you understand where and how best to reach them.
Determine your brand’s voice and personality
Branding isn’t about trying to be everything to everyone. A strong POV will speak to the audience you care about most. It will tell this group that yours is a brand for them. To develop this POV and a distinct brand voice, there are several exercises you can complete.
Create a positioning statement
A positioning statement is one or two lines that stake your brand’s claim in the market. It won’t necessarily be a public-facing statement, but will help steer the direction of your brand story and other parts of your brand guidelines.
A positioning statement should outline what you sell, who it’s for, and what makes you unique. Your value proposition is what’s going to give you an edge—even in a crowded market.
Brainstorm using word association
Imagine your brand as a person. What are they like? Do they have the kind of personality your customers would be attracted to? Describe this person. How can your description translate from a person to a brand?
Hone your brand voice and tone
Your brand voice and tone will help you hone in on how you want to sound to customers and what you want them to feel when they interact with you. Is your voice cheeky or serious? Does it aim to be a reliable friend, a muse, or a trusted expert?
Establish a list of dos and don’ts that govern the language you will and won’t use in your communications. You may even want to drill down on specific communications channels like social media or customer service: How does your tone change depending on the situation?
Choose your business name
Your company’s name is probably one of the first big commitments you’ll make as a business owner. Ideally, you want a brand name that isn’t being used by another company (especially in your industry), has available social media handles, and is a fit based on your brand or products. It should be easy to remember and hard to imitate.
A few approaches to choosing a brand name include the following:
- Make up a brand new word (e.g., Pepsi).
- Reframe a word unrelated to your industry or product (e.g., Apple for computers or Maple for health care).
- Use a suggestive word or metaphor (e.g., Buffer).
- Describe it literally (e.g., The Shoe Company or Home Depot).
- Alter a word by changing its spelling, removing letters, adding letters, or using Latin endings (e.g., Tumblr or Activia).
- Create an acronym from a longer name (e.g., HBO for Home Box Office).
- Use a portmanteau: Pinterest (pin + interest) or Snapple (snappy + apple).
- Use your own name (e.g., Donna Karan or DKNY)
If your first choice domain name isn’t available for your brand (e.g., yourbrandname.com), consider other ways to snag a domain name that works. For example, lingerie company Pepper’s domain name is wearpepper.com. You can also play with the top-level domain. Try a localized version like .co.uk or .ca.
Write your brand story
Your brand story is the autobiography of your business and sometimes your own story as a founder. It’s a useful tool for branding because it humanizes your business to create meaningful connections with customers. Buyer trends point to an appetite for meaningful relationships with brands. The best way to do this is through a compelling, transparent, and authentic story.
What elements of your own story will resonate with your target audience? What do they need to know to connect with you as a person? How do you wrap your brand values and mission into your story to tell customers, “This is a brand for you”?
Creating a catchy slogan
Once you’ve established your positioning and your brand story, you can use this work to create a snappy slogan for your business. A good slogan is short, catchy, and makes a strong impression to boost brand awareness.
A clever slogan can increase brand awareness as customers start to recognize it—even when it’s divorced from your brand.
Create a brand style guide
Now comes the fun part. Your style guide will include all the visual decisions you make for your brand. This guide will come in handy when you build your website, design your social media profile pages, and create product packaging.
Choosing your colors
Colors are important because, alongside copywriting, they tell potential customers how to feel about your brand. While color psychology is a contested science, there are some general associations you can make between color and mood. Moody darker cool colors may complement an edgy brand or a sleep brand while warm pastels tell a soothing story for baby or wellness brands.
Tips for choosing colors for your visual identity:
Selecting a suite of fonts
Fonts work alongside colors to establish a recognizable look for your brand across social, your website, packaging, and other marketing materials.
As a general rule, choose two fonts: one for headings and one for body text (this might not include the font you use in your brand’s wordmark). Home brand Floof uses one sans serif font for navigation and headers and another serif font for the rest of the text. Note that its logo—a simple wordmark of its brand name—is a unique font not used anywhere else:
Save decorative fonts for your logo or in very limited applications while using a simple, accessible font for your website and product information on packaging. Forét’s fonts are simple and clean, making them legible at any size:
Determining aesthetic elements and effects
If you use a lot of lifestyle photography for your brand, you may want to establish a set of rules to set the tone, no matter who’s producing photos. Maybe that includes guidelines for mood, photo filters, colors, or other effects.
You can also design a set of graphic elements that you use across your branded properties. These may be characters, squiggles, or texture effects. Rotten candy brand uses consistent graphic elements like electrified stripes and grainy textures across its branding:
7. Apply your branding across your business
Applying your branding across your business gives it a cohesive brand story. No matter where customers encounter your brand—through a TikTok ad, in a retail store, or in their inbox—the experience should feel familiar and recognizable.
As you build your website, set up your social accounts, and create your marketing plan, refer back to your brand guidelines, mission statement, and values to ensure every decision keeps target customers top of mind.
Brand building is an evolution
Building a brand doesn’t stop after you design a logo. It is a continuous process of cementing your brand identity in the minds of your customers. Building a successful brand involves being consistent in your messaging and deliberate with your brand marketing.
Now that you understand how to build a brand from scratch, you’ll continue brand building for the entire life of your business. You may need to evolve your brand as your values shift or as consumer trends dictate. Remember that if you rebrand, loyal customers should still be able to recognize your brand and receive the same experience. Looping in their feedback will help you grow your brand alongside the people who matter most.