Introducing 5 Steps For Building Successful Brands
Effective branding follows a rational, and methodical approach to optimally generate and endorse a brand, service, and or product. Brand-building typically consists of five interconnected phases of production, each of which complements each other sequentially. We will discuss each of the five phases in more detail, please click the links below to visit each respective page.
What is branding?
Before we cover the five steps of branding, we should first briefly define the basics of what branding is.
Due to the ambiguity surrounding branding in terms of its broad definition, there is no simple way of defining it. To have a true understanding of how branding works and relates, it typically requires some rudimentary understanding of business, marketing, and human behavior. We will attempt to provide a general breakdown for introductory purposes.
- Cyclic process
Successful branding is rarely ever static. It requires a continuous process of research and optimization, such as targeting audiences, markets, and to aid businesses to evolve and to remain relevant.
- Recognize, generate and facilitate
To develop a brand that accurately represents and identifies the who and what your business, brand, products, and or services are and how they should relate to your targeted audience. This process requires research. It’s the logical step to assist in defining your overall brand strategy. Resulting in a means to educate and inform stakeholders, employees, and external influencers on how to act and position your brand accordingly through all communicative and experiential avenues.
- Producing content and brand-aligned activities
The next phase involves generating content and actions that translate into branding assets. These assets include visual mediums such as brand identity, marketing collateral, products, advertising, and so on. We then include intangible assets such as formulating specific activities that involve customer interaction, all of which are designed to formulate positive perceptions for your business, brands, and services for participants, including your customers, stakeholders, and employees alike.
- Optimizing brand Perception
Brand perception or brand reputation is exactly what the name suggests. It is the full culmination of how a consumer feels about your brand. These judgments and states of mind occur when a person is aware of a business, brand, product, and or service. It’s something derived from what they experienced during any phase of interaction, such as what they heard from others, what they saw, or experienced first-hand. Put simply, managing expectations and perceptions of your customers and potential audience is extremely important. Positive brand perception means people are more likely to choose you rather than your competitor. And as such requires an effective feedback program to discover insights from people that have the greatest influence on your brand’s success.
- Unifying your brand
Targeting your audience is not the only thing you should be focusing all your branding efforts towards. To solidify perception in the minds of your audience, it needs to begin at the source. Your stakeholders. These include existing and potential customers, shareholders, employees, partners, and external brand influencers, all of whom offer their value towards solidifying brand perception, and as such requires, they are part of your ongoing brand-building activities.
The following section introduces the 5 proven steps we at lia s. Associates | Branding & Design follow to build optimized brands.
Step 1 Brand Research
Brand research should be a prerequisite for any serious business. Brand research delivers undisputable data, when interpreted correctly, results should aid in directing and optimizing business decision making, it should also go towards providing insight towards tracking people’s awareness, perception, and experience in relation to how they interact, experience your brand.
Whether you conduct brand research before and or after launching your brand, or as a periodic process of analysis long term, when conducted appropriately all research results should reveal the actual health of your brand and allow brand owners an ability to optimize future endeavors in terms of traversing potential threats and steering towards greater opportunity.
By gaining insight and understanding what your brand represents and who your customers are, knowing your market share and position, benchmarking your brand against competitors, and being able to align all stakeholders, employees, and external influencers to follow the values as defined by your overall brand ethos and identity are all very important aspects to building a successful brand and long-term sustainable business.
Brand Research Methodology
As with any research program, an optimal research program would include gathering information from multiple sources to define a more detailed and comprehensive overview, and to diminish the possibility for bias, we typically use Qualitative research methodologies to aid in our process for data collection and analysis, and a mix of Quantitative research methodologies for other areas of research, such as SEO optimization and analysis.
All Brand Research activities begin with client interviews, getting to know your existing brand protocols, stakeholders, products, brands, vision, expectations, and so on.
We then define areas in which we will concentrate our research activities, such as focusing on your Brand Identity, Brand Communications, and Brand Experience.
We then conduct a process of observation and data analysis to define existing trends associated with your interests, industry, products, services, market, and competitors in terms of visual and contextual trends, along with providing insight relating to case studies related.
We then conclude by presenting our brand research findings, along with several brand visual design concepts to choose from for future branding endeavors.
Learn more – Brand Research
Step 2 Brand Architecture
The second phase of building a successful brand brings us to Brand Architecture.
Put simply, Brand Architecture refers to organizing subsections of a larger brand into varying subsections. It is a valuable process that helps segment and organizes the structure of your brands, products, and services. It becomes the outline in which your brands all relate to one another.
While part of the value of brand architecture refers to enabling marketers to place brand extensions in the right places, whether to separate brands when required or to bring them together to complement each in the marketplace, but to consolidate your brand properties in a way that maps your brand’s purposes.
Brand Architecture Methodology
Throughout this phase, we conduct a process called Segmentation, where we define and map your current audience/s into one or more applicable segments associated with each of your products, brand, or services.
We take a look deeper into consumer behavior, activities may include conducting an array of online interviews and or surveys to determine what influences decision making and what preferential motives people have towards purchasing your brands, products, and or services.
Next, we target by defining the most appropriate market segments for each of your brands, products, and or services and their respective variants.
This process will naturally lead us to define your Positioning, whereby we will formulate your branding strategies to align with each of your brands, products, and or services and their respective variants.
Lastly, we will produce a concise branding guideline to facilitate consistency upon an array of varying brand applications as part of the overall brand strategy applied.
Learn more – Brand Architecture
Step 3 Brand Identity
The third phase of how to build a successful brand leads us to build a strategic Brand Identity. The process of building a brand identity requires a multi-disciplinary effort to create every element required to support the message and goals of your business, brand, products, and services, specifically referring to including multiple aspects of step 1 Brand Research and 2 if applicable.
Typically, this process includes both creating visual assets and intangible assets, such as naming your company, writing slogans, selecting color palettes, designing logos, creating additional supportive design elements such as icons and supergraphics, we also define your overall style, tone of voice, writing methodology, product composition, packaging, social media presence, jingles, advertising handbill, brochures, brand stationery, uniforms and more.
This step involves the creation of all things that identify and distinguish as belonging to your brand, products, and or services in the mind of your consumer.
Most applications we provide come with their own brand guideline/implementation instruction manuals, including training sessions conducted by lia s. Associates | Branding & Design where applicable.
Learn more – Brand Identity
Step 4 Brand Communication
Integrating Marketing Communications
Brand Communication is a mixture of all efforts used to communicate with your audience, be it face to face or broadly. These days Brand Communication is typically found using digital mediums, such as online ads and the use of social media. The goal is to not only communicate your direct message but to motivate audiences to participate and to generate content by creating their reviews, shares, and likes. Traditional formats such as phone calls, online chats, in-store communication, billboards, radio advertising, TV commercials, newspaper ads, newsletters, business cards, and more continue to be relevant.
Brand communication refers to every interaction your audience has with you and your brand. What is most important is developing a consistent format that will build a positive, professional perception people have towards your brand.
Again, to build a successful brand communication strategy, one must conduct Step 1, a Brand Research program to fully develop an integrated marketing communication program to ensure you convey an identifiable brand visual, a unified voice guideline, message and promise throughout all communication platforms, and where applicable, it would be advised to conduct step 2 and 3 to solidify your overall method of communication.
Successful communication requires consistency, it generates confidence and a sense of positive perception towards you and your brand, whether customers interact with your brand online, offline, face to face, and or otherwise.
Core Message, Reach, and Persuasion
Additionally, the core message of your brand needs to meet the expectations, and relate meaningfully with your audience, directly or indirectly, across all possible communication channels, which means you need to know how to Reach, and comprehend the intent of your audience, and produce content that relates, or at the least persuades, convinces and changes people’s minds about your business, brands, products, and services.
Inspiring, Actionable, and Shareable
And lastly, it needs to be actionable, to inspire them to proceed with a given objective, such as subscribe, learn more, buy, and just as important, it needs to be shareable.
Learn more – Brand Communication
Step 5 Brand Experience
What is Brand Experience? You need to understand the meaning of what makes a brand, and how it represents all factors relating to you and your business, brands, products, and services. Whereas when describing Brand Experience, we are referring to how people literally ‘Experience’ and perceive the existence of your ‘brand’.
And so, to define Brand Experience, we are generally talking about all touchpoints and interactions existing and or potential customers experience during any interaction between your business, brands, products, and or services.
Brand experience is a broad concept. Part of its prime objective is to create a memorable user experience that is aligned with the entirety of your branding guidelines and Branding strategy as defined typically during the first step to building successful brands.
Some of the more memorable brand experiences could be retail stores like Apple, Nike, or restaurants like Starbucks, McDonald’s, and so on, they all manufacture a memorable, harmonious overall brand experience. It’s not limited to architectural design, interior layout, retail or display design, it also refers to all kinds of touchpoints, such as packaging, websites, tone and style of voice, employee demeanor, telesales scripts, and more.
Primarily, it is important to be constant, relate to the expectations and intent of your audience, provide positive and new opportunities to engage and interact, place experience over sales. Adapt and evolve regularly and build relations with your audience upon multiple channels.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 much of the outdoor display activities we provide will not be available for the time being until further notice.
Learn more – Brand Experience
Need help with developing your Brand? Please contact us anytime, alternatively we could offer a customized course on the subject to better educate your team.