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What is Branding? How To Build A Successful Brand In 6 Steps

What is Branding? How To Build A Successful Brand In 6 Steps

If you can't define what your business is and what it does within two sentences, chances are your brand needs some work. I've been an entrepreneur since I was 13 when I began building websites for eSports teams. I've created several businesses over the years, and today I'm going to show you how to build a brand.

A brand is not just a recognizable name and logo that sets you apart in a crowded market. Marty Neumeier,

What is Branding? How To Build A Successful Brand In 6 Steps

who has worked for companies like Adobe, Apple, and Microsoft states that your brand is not what it says it is. It is what they, their clients say it is.

Essentially brand is your reputation and how you'll be perceived as a business.

I like to break down building a brand into a 6-part checklist.

1. Researching our target audience and our competitors
2. Picking our focus and business personality
3. Choosing our business name
4. Writing our slogan
5. Choosing the look and feel of our brand
6. Designing our logo

To help illustrate these steps, I'll be creating a golf brand for this article. Why golf? Well, because I love golf. Even if golf doesn't love me back. I'll also share a template with each step that will help you develop your own brand.

How to research target audiences and competitors

Our first step before we start making any decision about our brand is going to be researching our business's current market, specifically who our potential customers and competitors are. Let's start doing that by jumping into Google. I'll type in golf apparel market analysis. This should help get me a sense of who the big competitors are in this specific space. Now, unfortunately, a lot of the deeper analysis is hidden behind a paywall.

So for our audience, we're going to go with Facebook audience insights. From here, I'll type in golf as an interest, and for this example, I'll keep the USA as my target audience as this is likely where I'd be selling my product. So we can see here that roughly 58% of people with golf as an interest identify as men, and that our primary age group is between 25 and 34 years old. We can also see that the majority of our audience is married.. download the template.

What is Branding? How To Build A Successful Brand In 6 Steps

I'll encourage you to revisit your own audience as you build up your brand, to get a better sense of who your actual audience is.

Open up a few of our competitors, web pages, and social media pages.

1. Start pulling screenshots and noting down color schemes from these websites.

2. Also, go through their social media and start identifying posts with high engagement, so posts with a lot of comments and likes. Now, the idea here isn't that we want to mimic what these brands are doing, but we want to start identifying some commonalities and use that as a foundation to build our own brand.

Some other things we could do is browse subreddits and review sites that are related to our customers. We can also run focus groups with our friends and families that might be interested in products like the ones that we're selling.

How to pick a focus and business personality

Now let's talk about building our brand's focus and our brand's personality. Who your business is and what you do should always be crystal clear to customers. For that reason, it's important to find our focus and let that inform all other parts of our brand as we build it.

I have three exercises that I like to do when thinking about solidifying my brand's focus and personality.

I start with creating a positioning statement. A positioning statement is one or two lines that state your claim in the market and differentiates you from your competitors. Your positioning statements should go something like we offer (product or service) for (target market) to (value proposition).

Unlike the alternative, we (key differentiator). So in my case, I could say we offer apparel for golfers to help them play in comfort. Unlike other golf apparel brands, we donate to underprivileged youth groups that are learning the game. A positioning statement shouldn't be viewed in the same way that you would view an elevator pitch or a tagline.

Rather, it's an internal opinion of who you are and who you want to be. Once you've created your positioning statement, let the world see it by sharing it in the comments below.

Next, let's start thinking about words we would associate with our brand. How I like to do this is by thinking about my brand as a person and what terms I would use to describe this person to a friend. Thinking of your brand as a metaphor or personification can help you identify the individual qualities you want it to have.

For example, if I was to speak about my golf company, I might say they are passionate teachers who strive to bring new people into the game of golf. This step in brand development will help inform your voice on social media. And the tone of all of your creative assets, both visual and written. As I said before, a brand is so much more than a name. The personality, actions, and reputation of your brand are really what give the name any meaning in the market.

How to choose a business name

That being said, your company's name is probably one of the first big commitments you have to make. So where do you even start when thinking of a name? I personally like walking through a few exercises when thinking of a name. You can try to make up a word like Pepsi. The benefit of doing this is that it can help your brand be instantly recognizable and it will be much easier to rank your brand's domain name on search engines.

You can reframe a somewhat unrelated word like Apple for computers or off-white for fashion. You can also use suggestive words or metaphors like a buffer. You can also describe what it is literally. Like the shoe company, you can try altering a word by removing letters, adding letters, or using Latin endings like Tumblr or Activia.

You could also try combining two relevant words like pin and interest to make a Pinterest or face and book to make a Facebook. You can also try turning a string of words into an acronym like BMW did with Bayerische Motoren Werke.

If you need a little extra help and coming up with a name, there are loads of apps and sites that can help you decide just to name a few. You could try Shopify business name generator. It's free and will automatically combine a topic or a keyword with other words and modifiers to generate a list of potential business names. Oberlo's business name generator lets you enter a word that you would like to include in your business name.

The tool will then spit out a list of variations to browse. Wordoid is an intelligent naming tool that supplies you with a list of invented words that look nice and feel great. If you're looking for a creative name that's brandable but isn't necessarily a real word, then you'll find this tool helpful.

Let's use Shopify's business name generator for our golf brand. Okay, so going through these, the one that stands out immediately is Equal Golf. I like this one because it lines up nicely with my positioning statement and my values around getting new and underprivileged people into golf.

How to write a slogan

A good slogan is always short, catchy, and makes a strong impression.  It's good to have the branding as it will make it identifiable & can be used with marketing and social assets. Some ways to approach writing. A slogan of your own can include staking your claim. For example, Death Wish Coffee's slogan is "the world's strongest coffee". You can make up a metaphor like Red Bulls, "Red bull gives you wings".

Just remember to make the metaphor part extra clear. You don't want people thinking that they're actually getting wings. You could adapt your customer's attitude like Nike's" just do it". Now, I'm actually not the best or most creative when it comes to writing slogans. But I would go with something that speaks to our brand.

So in my case, let's go with something like: Equal Golf. Everyone is in play. I think this is a bit cheeky and plays on the fact that keeping your ball in play is one of the hardest and most important parts of golf. Could you not. If you're struggling to find ideas, you can always try using Shopify slogan maker to brainstorm some ideas or play off your positioning statement to generate some potential one-liners to describe your business.

Now that we have a name and slogan lockdown, let's dive into brand colors.

How to choose a look and feel for the brand (colors and font)

Colors won't just define the look of your brand. They'll also convey the feeling that you want to communicate when researching into what brand colors I could be using. I like to dive into color psychology. Color psychology is basically the study of colors in relation to how they affect human behavior. For example, colors like red can capture attention. The red color, meaning is associated with excitement, danger, energy, passion, and action.

For brands like Coca Cola, the color red tends to encourage appetite, hence why they use it so often in their branding. The next time you're browsing a popular brand, take the time to think about the colors that you're seeing. You may start to notice that your favorite outdoor brands use very earthy color tones. This really gets you thinking about the outdoors.

For our color scheme. We'll use Coolors. To brainstorm colors that work together. Coolors allows you to grab hex codes to keep handy and sifter different shades to find the ones you like. So I'll put in a green color that I think would work on my site and creative assets and coolers will then show me different colors that will compliment that green. 

Alternatively, you could also try using Adobe Color, which is free online and lets you apply different color harmony.

You always want to try picking two fonts at the most, one for headings and one for body text. Any more than that can unnecessarily confuse your customers. I like to try using font pair and browse through the wide selection of fonts that go well together. Now that we have our colors and font decided, let's move on to a biggie in building a brand. The logo.

How to design a logo

A company's logo is probably one of the first things that come to mind when thinking about building or recognizing a brand. Now, I want you to think about the worst logo you've ever seen. What comes to mind? If you're having trouble thinking of one? I'm not surprised. Good logos stick. Bad ones don't. A logo should be viewed as a symbol that represents your brand and your brand's personality through the simplest image possible.

When thinking about a logo, you really need to consider every place the brand's logo needs to appear from your website to various social media accounts to the fave icon that pops up in your web browser tap. Because I'm not a designer myself, I tend to do a few mockups and send those off to freelancers.

You can outsource these for low costs on Fiverr, Shopify expert marketplace, or you could even run a logo contest on 99designs. Let's quickly browse through a few designers on Fiverr and try to find one that's created some logos that I like. Okay, so here's one.

What is Branding? How To Build A Successful Brand In 6 Steps

This person's got a great portfolio, positive reviews, and I quick turnaround time. That also allows for revisions. In case I don't like the original plan, I'll put in a short blurb about my company and some elements that I would like to incorporate for my company. I'm thinking of something that signifies equality with a golf element.

But before that you should learn to speak the language of logos, like the gestalt theory, so that you can effectively communicate your vision. In doing so, you'll start to notice that not all logos are created the same. For example, an abstract logo has no explicit meaning. It's just a shape and colors that you can't easily tie back to anything in the real world.

Adidas logo is a perfect example of this. Emblem logos are often circular and combined text with an element or bold and regal look.

Think about the Starbucks logo for that one. You'll want to pay attention to how detailed you make your design as you could lose a lot of impact if you have to scale it smaller because of the limitation that exists for each logotype. Many logos use a combination of styles.

To help you along, I would recommend checking out Seeklogo for even more logo inspirations, or you Shopify's Hatchful logo maker to start generating some ideas.  Building a brand doesn't stop with creating a logo, a slogan, or even with the launch of your brand.

You'll want to continue to shape and evolve your brand as you expose more customers to it and learn about who they are and how best to speak to them. Your customers and their feedback will be huge in the continued development of your brand.

So remain open to adapting and updating throughout your business journey. As promised earlier, we have developed a one page branding plan that can help you work through your branding journey.

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