Creating and sustaining trust is what branding is all about. It gets your business noticed, helps to foster emotional connection and hopefully brings in customers. But what exactly is a brand, how do you create a brand and how much does it cost?
What is a brand?
In the simplest of terms, a brand is the name, design, logo or symbol that helps people to identify one company’s product or services from those of a competitor. It’s the identity of the company and one that can be easily understood and communicated. When you see the Nike swoosh, you remember not only the brand but something about the products they sell and the culture of the company. It’s not just about the symbols and signifiers of a company and its products, it’s also about the feelings and ideas the images communicate.
Products can easily be copied, but a brand is unique and difficult to imitate.
What are the elements that make up a brand?
A range of different elements can help to make up a brand. Here are some of the principal ones:
- Brand identity Brand identity is the way people recognise a brand. It’s the McDonald’s golden arches or the aforementioned Nike swoosh. A distinctive logo is a principal means through which this is achieved.
- Brand image Brand image is the idea about your brand that people develop in their minds. For instance, Rolls Royce is synonymous with prestige and luxury. Colgate has built its brand on belief and trust.
- Brand positioning How is your brand positioned in the market? A luxury item, great value for money, ethical? Is it aimed at affluent homeowners or transient younger people?
- Brand personality As with human beings, brands have a personality. Is your brand fun or distinguished? Highbrow or populist? Do we associate it with youthfulness or older wisdom?
- Brand differentiation As the word suggests, differentiation is how your brand stands out from its competitors. These might be the valued-added elements that you bring to your product or service that your competitors don’t.
- Brand communication What is the message about your brand that you are communicating through all of your various marketing channels, be they paid advertising, social media or word of mouth?
Do I need a brand?
If you run a small business, you might be wondering if a brand is really necessary. Isn’t it a lot of cash and effort for something of only marginal value to a business with a relatively small turnover? That couldn’t be further from the truth. Whatever the size of your business you will need a brand. In reality, even if you don’t set about creating a brand, you will inadvertently create one through your actions and online activities.
What impression do you want to make on your potential customers? It might be that you offer such a good service you make a good impression on people irrespective of having a brand. This might be the case but think how much more successful your business could be if you gave it a coherent brand identity.
How will establishing a brand help my business?
Creating a brand identity helps your business in a number of ways. Firstly, it makes you think about your brand, perhaps bringing disparate thoughts and ideas together to make a coherent whole. It then helps you apply those ideas to your business, how it works and presents itself. It gives your business greater coherence and helps customers more readily associate your business with a certain set of ideals. In turn, this makes them more loyal and makes your business more attractive to people looking for particular products or services.
How much does it cost to create a brand?
That does of course depend on the size of your business and the amount of detailed branding work you require. If you’re a sole trader and all you want is a professional logo and website, you may be able to develop a brand for a few hundred pounds. Alternatively, if you’re a growing medium-sized enterprise with ambitions to become a major player in your industry it could cost tens of thousands, if not more.
Just because your budget is limited doesn’t mean that you can’t develop some basic branding to guide your future marketing efforts.
How do you get started with branding?
Firstly, decide on your budget. It doesn’t have to be costed to the last penny but work out a range you can afford. Remember, branding is an investment. What may seem like a costly initial outlay, will more than likely repay itself in a relatively short period of time.
Then you need to decide if you’re going to try and manage the entire branding exercise yourself, or whether you’re going to commission a branding agency.
Start thinking about your target market, who are your competitors, what are they offering? What brand identities work in your industry? Can you think of some successful examples? How do you want to differentiate what you do from what the established competition is doing?
All these questions will make it easier for you to communicate your ideas to the professionals who will turn them into something tangible and unique.
Branding can seem like a complex process, but it needn’t be. At Dawn Creative we guide business owners through our simple, three-step process. It helps you clarify your ideas, as we come to understand your business in the round. Then we can take those ideas and turn them into an engaging brand and digital comms. Then when everyone is happy, those ideas see the light of day and your new branding helps you outshine the competition.
Why not get in touch to find out how we can help?