The idea of jumping head first into a task is intriguing, but we all know that in order to get it done right, following a detailed, step-by-step process is best.
Branding is no different, as it requires a willingness to dive right in while having an awareness of important steps to take.
These crucial steps are part of the branding process, and they give brands a chance to create something special while maintaining efficiency.
This guide will walk you through all things branding and give you the main ideas of how to correctly work through a branding process. Let’s get started.
What is branding?
Before outlining the specific steps in the branding process, let’s make sure you have the main ideas of branding first.
Branding is a marketing system that builds a brand using unique elements such as logos, layouts, values, color schemes and more in order to influence customers. Branding gives audiences a way to pick out a specific brand and offers them reasons to choose a brand instead of its competition.
The idea of branding can be exciting, yet sometimes daunting, which is what makes following an effective process so important. Let’s break down the key details of a branding process.
What is the branding process?
The branding process is an overarching attempt to build, boost and maintain a successful brand. Most commonly, it incorporates different stages that must be completed in order. The branding process is usually a path to boost brand awareness and perception.
Though usually thought of as something for newer brands, a branding process concerns all types of brand ages and is an ongoing effort once implemented.
So, how can taking these steps help improve your brand? Let’s go into some of the main ideas.
How the branding process can help you succeed
Before we go further into how the branding process can boost your brand, let’s make sure you know exactly why it’s necessary.
We know that branding has immense benefits and improves all types of projects and marketing campaign success.
The branding process, then, is essentially a guide to reach this success. Its ultimate goal is to boost brands, by balancing research, creativity and understanding.
So how then does the branding process bring you success? Here are some key reasons:
- Delivers insight into specific data and approaches. One of the reasons the branding process builds powerful brands is the strategies and structures it requires. This typically involves important research into different areas.
- Links together different helpful steps. Like with any useful strategy, the ones that work best have steps that sync together toward an ultimate goal. The common steps in a branding process have this synchronicity.
- Encourages innovation and creativity. Certain strategies often take on a rigid approach that overly focuses data but neglects the creative side of things. The branding process ensures this isn’t the case.
Now, before we go into some of the benefits that further show why branding process is important, let’s first dive into the important steps needed to effectively fulfill the process.
Important steps to follow in the branding process
As we’ve noted above, a branding process should involve steps that work in unison with one another, building upon each other. The following unique steps do exactly that.
Discover and understand your brand goals and purpose
Begin the entire process by setting branding goals, values and overall purpose. One thing to consider during this first task is the importance of developing a comprehensive strategy. It goes without saying that this step is going to be your best and only chance to come up with a strategy, at least one that fits with the whole process.
Creating values and setting goals provides you with a path to success, and allows you to look into the future to see what can be accomplished. Push to have a deep understanding of values and goals so that all branding efforts are on point.
A strategy around this stage of the branding process should be a focal point for all involved teams throughout the rest of the process.
Research your competitors and the market, then find your target audience
“Data is the new oil.” – Clive Humby
Next, you’ll need to begin some extensive research and analysis to get a good understanding of the current market. This is something that takes planning as well, and deserves a comprehensive strategy of its own. Furthermore, you’ll need to then determine who will be your target market.
A large part of this market research involves gathering data and specific details about potential competitors.
One of the most important factors here is analyzing the types of things competitors are doing to corner the market.
Evaluating your own goals and values in comparison to the market will make it clear who you should be targeting.
Determine your overall brand qualities and uniqueness
“Normal is not something to aspire to, it’s something to get away from.” – Jodie Foster
Similar to your goal setting is the task of determining brand qualities and uniqueness. A lot of this is based upon the principles of brand positioning.
The reason this step follows our research is because we will want to have a strong understanding of the industry and our potential competitors.
This is because we’re going to use this information to figure out how to exploit our uniqueness. We do this by discovering what makes us stand out in comparison to the competition.
Develop a logo and other visual elements
A logo is one of the most memorable things a brand puts forward to customers. As such, yours should have a positive impact on your target audience’s memory.
There are two things to remember when building the logo:
1. The colors are key
“Color is a power which directly influences the soul.” – Wassily Kandinsky
It’s an observed concept that colors influence strongly the way people feel about something. Some colors indicate relaxation, others provoke a feeling of warning. As such, your logo should use the colors that sync with how your brand makes people feel.
2. Relevancy trumps style
It’s great if you can develop an aesthetically-pleasing logo, but if it doesn’t really fit with your brand goals and values, it won’t have a strong effect on customers. Keep it relevant, even if it’s not stylish.
Once you’ve completed the logo, you can start in on the other visual elements, but remember to keep them in-sync with your logo.
Find your brand voice, tell your story and build a style guide
One of the easiest ways to connect with customers and make your brand memorable is by creating and using a brand voice that thrills and intrigues.
Furthermore, this voice can be used consistently throughout all your future projects, and can be present when telling your brand story. Customers love to read a well-told brand story.
Lastly, creating a brand style guide holds this voice and tone together throughout each new article, project, etc.
Uphold consistency and maintain what you’ve built
“Consistency is found in that work whose whole and detail are suitable to the occasion. It arises from circumstance, custom and nature.” – Vitruvius
The final part of the branding process is striving for brand consistency. Think of the entirety of this process and uphold it consistently throughout each new project.
Finally, maintaining everything you’ve created is the true glue that holds everything together.
In order to do this correctly, schedule periodic checks to make sure all new projects and marketing campaigns adhere to your branding.
Now that you have the steps needed to successfully implement a branding process, let’s take a look at the key benefits of doing so.
3 benefits for those who do it right
The following benefits are reasons why a branding process is so important.
1. Boosts brand perception
An effective branding process positively influences how customers perceive your specific brand, particularly in relation to the market.
This affects pricing decisions, repeat purchases and brand identity. The possibilities are endless with a strong process in place.
The more successful your branding process, the better customers will perceive your brand. Keep this in mind as you’re strategizing different steps of the process.
2. Gives customers a reason to choose you over competitors
It’s not enough to simply go through the motions without a concrete plan and strategy in place when it comes to branding. An effective branding process ensures there is enough reason for a customer to make a purchase.
On top of this, it has become increasingly more clear that customers no longer simply want to make a purchase and be done with a brand. Instead, they’re hoping for a comprehensive brand experience each and every time.
Lastly, the branding process builds an argument as to why the customer should select your brand instead of the competition.
3. Attracts brand loyalty
One of the most intriguing outcomes a brand can achieve with its target audience is to gain followers who stick with them through thick and thin. This level of brand loyalty is extremely valuable and cannot be understated.
A branding process allows brands to build consistency and a strong brand image, which in turn intrigues customers and gains their trust.
A well-executed branding process ensures a brand has given themselves the best chance to gain a cult following.
Begin your own branding process
Prepare your strategies and procedures ahead of time, and you’ll no doubt get the best results from your branding process.
As you move through the steps in the process, think about the ways you can improve in the future. Chances are, you’ll reach your goals and more.
Excited to get started? Great! Now check out our comprehensive branding guide.