Can I create my own brand?
Some of the greatest people that ever lived were self taught and to name just a few; Prince, David Bowie, Abraham Lincoln and my personal favourite Frida Kahlo, all were self taught, all were, and still are today, absolute legends. We can’t quite paint ourselves with the legends brush yet, but we are also self taught when it comes to branding and we are bloody proud to admit it! We devoted years of our life to learn everything we could so that we could make our dream a reality and start our own ethical branding agency.
Many moons ago, before branding was our love child, we used to think that as long as business had a decent logo and a dreamy colour palette, they would be a huge success - well, we were wrong... oh so wrong. Branding is in fact a black hole of anxiety, panic and confusion, especially if you’re new to the game. There is a never ending list of stuff to navigate, and not just aesthetically speaking. A brand is the very sole of your business, it’s the beauty, brains and everything in between, think tag lines, marketing plans, strategies and social media. It’s a never ending list of jobs, but like anything in life, you can learn it.
Maybe you have a great idea for a business and you don’t quite have the budget to invest yet or maybe you are brilliantly creative and want to have a crack at branding your biz yourself. No matter what it is, we are here to give you a push in the right direction and provide you with a few things to remember when creating your brand from scratch.
CREATE A BRAND STRATEGY
We don’t know about you, but as soon as we heard this, we panicked, the fear set in and it was fight or flight time. Luckily, we calmed down and realised brand strategy is just a fancy shmancy way of saying your brand needs a long term plan. This long term plan is your brand strategy. Having this plan will successfully develop your brand to achieve specific goals and will apply your brand strategy across all aspects of your business. Before you can build a successful brand, you need to create a brand strategy.
1. Does it have purpose?
All the great companies out there started with a purpose, what’s yours? If you’re not sure what your purpose is as a business, then you need to watch, 'Start with why, presented by the Leadership Guru, Simon Sinek. The video explains how everything you do in your business and as a brand has to relate back to
‘why’ not ‘what’. He claims that ‘People don’t buy what you do, but why you do it’. We strongly advise that you get this tattooed on your body or write it down at the very least. Whatever you do, make sure you always remember it, it will set the foundations for a successful brand.
2. What are your core values?
Your core values are going to attract the customers you want, the customers who share the same values as you. Clarifying your values will help you to make important decisions within your business and will help to steer your brand in the right direction.
Example: say Antonio built his brand with a purpose to bring traditional Italian cooking to Australia, he does this by creating delicious homemade recipes that have been passed on through his family for four generations. Antonio's values would help him to clarify important decisions when running his business. Would he compromise on quality by buying cheap ingredients, or would he spend more on ensuring his ingredients are authentic and imported from Italy? His values reflect his purpose, keeping the consistency of his brand and building customer loyalty and trust. Molto bene!
3. What is your brand’s personality?
If your brand was a person, what person would it be? This is a fun and very effective way of developing your brands voice and persona. How do you want to be perceived by your audience? Are you fun and quirky, or conservative and formal? Creating your brands personality will determine how you communicate to your audience and the tone of voice that you use. If your business was based around investment and finance, talking like a gangster when addressing your target market would be extremely funny, but it wouldn’t inspire much trust from your potential clients. By creating a brand persona, you are ensuring your brand stays consistent throughout all aspects of your business.
4. Do you reward loyalty?
As mentioned earlier, there is nothing as valuable to your business as your customers. It's important when creating a brand that you always remember to reward your customers loyalty. Successful branding strategies reward loyalty by thanking their customers, telling them they’re special and rewarding them with discounts and special gifts.
5. Do you have an emotional connection with your audience?
Now the chances are, whatever you business idea, there is probably something already out there that provides a similar product or service. How are you supposed to build a successful brand with all the competition?
Well, your business needs to stand out by being more than just a product, it needs to mean something to your audience, it needs to have both functional and emotional benefits.
Example: your idea is to open your own yoga studio. The problem is, there are plenty of yoga studios around, heck we live in Bondi, there is practically one on every street corner!
Now, the functional benefits of the studio would be the same as every yoga studio; daily classes, changing rooms and space to practice. This all sounds great, but it wouldn’t particularly make your studio stand out from your competitors. Emotional benefits however could make all the difference. Does your studio go the extra mile by providing complimentary mat hire or do you provide herbal tea after each session with a space to sit, relax and socialise? Thinking about the emotional benefits will make all the difference to your clientele. In time you will start to stand out amongst your competitors as you build customer loyalty and credibility.
Know your audience
• Who do I want to understand my brand?
• Who is my target market?
• What age, sex, demographic, culture are they?
Consistency is key
There is nothing quite as damaging as inconsistency within a brand. If your brand is unpredictable your audience will struggle to understand who you are and what you stand for.
Not only will it confuse your audience, but it will lose their confidence and loyalty. If you offer your audience a consistent experience, they will feel comfortable and will be able to trust you.
Understand what a brand identity is and what makes it great
Brand, Branding and Brand Identity can often be confused as being the same thing. Before we go on to talk about Brand identity, let me just clarify the difference between the three:
BRAND: the perception of the company through the eyes of the world
BRANDING: the act of applying a brand
BRAND IDENTITY: how a business presents itself to, and wants to be perceived by, its consumers.
It is important that your Brand Identity not only includes the appropriate visual elements, but is designed with the following in mind:
DISTINCT: Is it eye catching? Would it stand out amongst competitors?MEMORABLE: Does it make a visual impact?
COHESIVE: Does each element compliment the brand identity?
EASY TO APPLY: Is it intuitive and clear for designers to use across all platforms?FLEXIBLE: As your business grows, can it evolve with the brand?
Promote, promote, promote.
Now you have done all the hard work of establishing your business and building a successful brand identity, you are ready to promote it!
When we first started our business, we were told that you can never invest too much time in getting your name out there for the whole world to see. Think Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest, Twitter. The more platforms you are on, the more likely you are to be found. You need to figure out where your target market spend most of their time and invest in those places. For us, Instagram is our best platform, not only does our feed act as a portfolio for potential new clients, but it enables us to connect with our target audience and increase our exposure.
We have built Betsy & Francis on an emotional level, we want people to know us personally as well as professionally and Instagram has been great for this. We can easily access our audience, engage with them and share our everyday lives through the stories feature. For you, it might be Youtube or content marketing, whatever it is, use it as much as you can to communicate to your dream clientele.
“Branding demands commitment; commitment to continual re-invention; striking chords with people to stir their emotions; and commitment to imagination. It is easy to be cynical about such things, much harder to be successful.”
– SIR RICHARD BRANSON
We can do anything if we put our minds to it, and if you fancy challenging yourself, there is no reason why you can’t build a successful brand for your business.
Notes to take away
Branding you business involves much more than aesthetics
Consistency within your brand is the most important thing for your brands success.
To build a great brand, you need a great brand strategy
Branding demands a lot of commitment.
Your brand needs to be able to grow with your business.