A brand stretches far beyond a logo, imagery and colour scheme, to be able to build a truly successful brand, you need to dig a little deeper into your values and your strategy.
The most important purpose of building a brand is to create a positive relationship with consumers. Your branding will help you reach and connect with the best audience for your product, increase word of mouth referrals and build a loyal fan base. It’s important that your audience and their needs are at the centre of any brand strategy and a key factor in all branding decisions.
Below, we take a look at some of the key features of building and expanding a successful brand.
Identifying a strong brand identity
There are many different components that need to be considered when building a brand identity and creating a brand strategy. Some of the most important are:
Tone of voice
Your tone of voice needs to be decided early on in the process and should perfectly reflect the tone of your business (formal or informal), based on the needs and type of audience you wish to attract.
Formal tone of voice example:
Copy from international brand IBM’s website – the company has a highly intelligent, academic or professional tech audience base, therefore they need a tone that is highly professional, polished and uses industry standard language.
Informal tone of voice example:
Copy from email marketing provider, MailChimp – MailChimp knows their target audience are laid back and looking for easy marketing solutions, they are predominantly under 35 and looking for easy to understand language.
Your brand’s core belief should be at the centre of everything, this includes your brand’s visual identity, tone of voice and brand strategy. Everything should work to highlight and push this core belief.
Example: TOMS is a brand with a very strong and well publicised core belief. The company started as an ethical brand that aimed to help children in poverty stricken areas.
Everything to do with TOMS branding is aimed at promoting their charity work and their mission to provide shoes for children in poorer parts of the world. From their simplistic, humble logo to their diverse marketing campaigns. Every piece of content and copy they create perfectly reflects this core belief.
It’s easier to create your visual identity last, as you’ll be able to work to visually represent your core values and beliefs. Your visual identity should be the ribbon that brings everything together in a visually pleasing bow.
Example: A great example of a strong visual branding is that of meditation app Headspace. Headspace’ core belief is that meditation should be accessible to everyone and easy to integrate into everyday life.
Their fun and animated graphics allow them to provide information that may otherwise seem dry or hard to relate to, and make it a fun experience for all ages. The pastel tones help to create a calming environment for the user and their fuss free logo perfectly represents the no-frills approach to meditation.
Creating a brand strategy
In order to create a successful brand strategy, you need to have the three key elements mentioned above. From there, you’ll be able to create a brand strategy that not only reaches your audience, but starts to build a connection with them beyond your product.
Once these are in place, you can then start to build your strategy using the below components.
Brand positioning is what you want customers to think of when they think of your brand. As a brand, you want to try and own a section of your market, this can be done by narrowing down your niche message
Example: Going back to TOMS, the first thing that many consumers think of when they think of the brand is their extensive charity work. Not necessarily the shoes that they sell.
Your brand architecture helps to organise your brands hierarchy, particularly if you have sub-brands or products that target different sectors. This allows you to start to branch out but maintain brand integrity.
Example: Courier giant Fedex has a number of sub brands that fall under the Fedex brand, ranging from Fedex Express to Fedex Freight and many others. No matter which sub brand the consumer may be looking at, it is always clear that Fedex is the primary brand, allowing people to retain their relationship with the Fedex as a whole.
Once you have established your core brand and you have all your branding materials confirmed and firmly in the public eye, you can then use that brand to extend to new products, helping to carry across that brand equity to your new launches.
By establishing your core brand with a core selection of products, you can then start to distribute that brand equity to new products and services.
Example: Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is an excellent example of this. Once the trust and loyalty had been built with the original Virgin Record Store, the brand was able to take that brand equity and slowly start building an empire within the Virgin Group.
Virgin now boast a number of sub brands that share the positive and established branding of the original Virgin business, including:
- Virgin Media
- Virgin Fitness
- Virgin Atlantic
- Virgin Holidays
- Virgin Mobile
- Virgin Money
Looking to start building your brand or give your current brand a new lease of life? Take a look at some of our recent branding work.