By Jonathan Miles, Operations Manager at Dpack.
In order to brand yourself or a business, you need to know what the process involves before getting stuck in. A brand development process should always follow the same series of steps.
Knowing the brand
The first and most important step is that of orientation. This is a time of self-reflection and soul-searching. There are many different types of brand — so which is it you are going for? Are you branding a particular service, an individual, an entire company or just a product? Knowing this is crucial before proceeding.
The next step is research and positioning. Once you understand what it is you are trying to brand, you can then look for a gap in the marketplace — and in the wants of consumers — to address. A question you should ask is: “How can my product or service provide a unique solution to a problem or want here? What makes it special, and worthy of attention over already established products?”
Defining the brand
If you are satisfied you have all of these questions and checks met, then you can set about defining your brand. A brand definition gives you a clear roadmap as to what your brand offers, why you think it is worthy of attention, and why it is better than other competing products.
A clear definition can also go a long way to helping you determine what benefits your brand can provide; why customers should invest in it and why they can count on it, and what promises and developments you can make — not just with your customers but with your company from a business perspective as well.
Naming the band
It goes without saying that a brand name is very important. Large corporations regularly spend millions of pounds brainstorming titles able to stand on their own; especially if they are expected to compete in a large market area, against other large brand names, and if they are to support a major vision of their own. The investment makes even more sense when you consider the long-term ambitions that mega-corporations often have in mind for their brands, and the goals they want to achieve.
Obviously, most businesses cannot afford to pour millions into a brand name. Not to matter. There are still effective ways to go about it. The most obvious is to begin a session by brainstorming. More specifically, try to evoke feelings and emotions that you would like to resonate with your brand.
Write down all the emotions that you think are relevant and group them together, put them in a place where everyone in the brainstorming session can see them, and then try to write names that fit/invoke those emotions.
You can get inspiration by visiting places where your target consumers often hang out. Find subreddits and try to identify the language being used by your target audience. Scan the relevant magazines that you think they might be reading. It also helps to look through dictionaries and thesauruses, especially the big ones, which have a richer vocabulary.
Once you have a shortlist of potential brand names, remember that the best ones must always be easy to say, easy to spell, translatable (into different languages, if your ambition is international), unique and protectable under the law.
Beyond the name, another difficult process (that companies again spend millions on) is the creation of a logo. A logo is essentially the face of your brand. A tagline or slogan is also a neat way to buttress the effectiveness of your brand name.
Launching the brand
The moment it goes public, your brand has launched. This is the moment when you unveil your brand’s story — its offerings — to the market and consumers. To be successful, you will need a strong content strategy that will outline how you meet your customer’s challenges.
This will almost certainly require the use of analytical tools, such as content intelligence, to help you gather the insights that will allow the brand to proceed successfully. Data insights will also reveal the best way to deliver messages to your target base — such as if videos are preferred to podcasts, and so on.
The key is to demonstrate that you understand your audience, and in turn they will come to trust your brand. This awareness will prove essential.
Keeping the brand going
Launching is just the beginning. After that it is important to regularly manage the brand strategy. This includes ensuring consistency, bolstering channels of communication with consumers, and reinforcing the brand’s tone in the marketplace. It might pay dividends to have an employee specifically dedicated to monitoring this consistency, as well as the brand’s personality.
Occasionally, it might be necessary to adjust how your brand is presented to keep it current with contemporary events, and to ensure it doesn’t lose ground in the ever-changing market