If you’re building a house, the foundations are pretty important. Get them wrong and you’re in for all kinds of trouble a little further down the line. When it comes to developing your brand, getting the founding principles right can make all the difference to the success of your business marketing. You may not be sitting in the rubble of your home should it go wrong, but you will be left with an underperforming business. If you’re determined to establish your brand as a long term prospect, taking some time at the brand development stage will make all the difference.
Brand development explained
Brand development is the name given to the process of creating, distinguishing and sustaining your company’s products, services, image and assets from your competitors. The development stage concentrates on how you intend to align your brand with your business objectives, and how this will be communicated to your target audience. What areas of your brand do you need to strengthen and update?
Brand development isn’t a one-off process. It’s an ongoing strategy, built on feedback and real world data about how your brand is performing. Goals act as benchmarks, with new ideas and products being developed and brought online as time goes by.
Why is brand development so important?
Your brand is about more than just your logo or how your website looks. Your brand is your calling card and the means by which you’ll make an impression on potential customers. It’s no exaggeration to say that branding can make or break your business. Branding increases the awareness of your business, and, when done correctly, can help it stand out from the competition.
Developing your brand strengthens trust between your company and your customers and helps to foster loyalty. It can convey value and express the ideals and inspiration behind your brand. In turn, it can help shape the company culture and transmit that culture to new employees. Branding also helps to shape the expectations of your customers, suppliers and other stakeholders who have some sort of relationship with your company.
How do you develop your strategy and where should you start?
Branding can sometimes seem confusing, and the whole process overwhelming for new business owners. However, it’s a relatively straightforward exercise and one that can be broken down into three phases:
This will map out how different, trustworthy, likable and memorable your brand is to your target customer. What is it about your brand that makes them choose you rather than one of your competitors? You can think of this being how you’d like the world to think of your brand. This is the first step you’ll need to take when you’re developing a brand from the ground up. It will shape the rest of your considerations and inform what your brand ultimately looks like.
Another essential part of the architecture of brand development is your brand identity. This is the way you will convey your brand strategy to the world. Your visual identity should be informed by your overall strategy and should be consistently applied across every communication channel you have. This will include your logo, printed marketing materials, print and packaging, your website, social media and content.
Brand marketing is how you bring attention to your company, products and services through the intelligent use of communication strategies that reflect your brand. It’s about connecting the values and ideas behind your brand to the people who are most likely to respond to them. There are now a wide range of channels available to help you amplify your brand and communicate particular messages. It might include social media, websites, newspaper advertising, SEO and content marketing, and email advertising.
What should you consider?
When you’re developing your brand there are a couple of key relationships that you need to consider. How will your brand relate to your customers and potential customers, and how will you relate your competitors? A brand needs to be consistent in today’s competitive marketplace. You need to ensure that your branding is consistent in terms of both communications and experience. Does the experience you offer your customers match up with what your branding suggests it will?
Another important consideration is your company’s purpose. Very few people set up a business just to make money, and those that do very often fail. Although turning a profit is important if you’re going to create a sustainable business it’s rarely enough to create a worthwhile business.
There are a number of questions you should ask yourself when you’re thinking about your brand purpose:
- Why does your company exist?
- What differentiates your company from the competition?
- What problems does your business solve?
- Why should anyone care about your business?
These questions can sometimes be tough to answer but it’s worth really interrogating them fully to get as detailed an answer to each question as possible. The more detail and precision you can find, the easier it will be to develop your brand going forward.
Why you should enlist the help of a branding agency
A branding agency stands outside your business and looks at it with fresh eyes. They understand branding and will have helped countless other businesses through the process. They can simplify things, ensure that you are involved throughout, and that a collaborative approach ultimately results in highly-tailored and effective branding for your business.
At Dawn Creative we can help you think creatively about your business, what it stands for and what you hope to achieve. Don’t sleep on it, contact Dawn Creative today.