Whether you want to create a brand from scratch or you’re evolving an existing brand, following a set creative process will help you to be methodical and prevent you from becoming overwhelmed.
In this article, we’ll show you how to do it. We’ve been building successful brands for almost 30 years, and our process is resolutely applicable to all brands, young and old.
Follow our process and you’ll have a brand that meets your commercial and creative goals and delights your customers.
What is a brand?
Let’s be clear, your brand is not your name or your logo.
Your brand is how people perceive you across all of your associated touchpoints.
Some of these perceptions you have control over, such as your colours, fonts, name, logo and customer service, and some of these perceptions you can’t influence directly, such as user reviews or online forum chatter.
Step one: Research your target audience
Successful brands put their customers at the heart of their experience.
To do this, start by considering who your potential customers are by:
- Who is talking about similar products in your niche on social media?
- Who are the influencers in your space? What do they look and sound like?
- Who are the “low-hanging fruit” in your niche?
Step two: Research your competitor landscape
Similarly, a successful brand will carve out its own space in its niche, and a great way to do this is to understand who your competitors are and what they look like. To do this, when you create your brand, you might ask:
- Who are your top-of-mind competitors? The ones you think are currently dominating?
- Do some shopping online or offline; look at how your competitors set out their stall Google your product or service category – which competitors rank highly on Google Search?
- Ask friends and family to recommend competitors for your niche, and note how they speak about them. What is their emotional response?
Now you’ve gained a clear picture of your target audience and your competitor landscape, you’re ready to move onto the next phase of brand building.
Step three: Build your brand focus and personality
Understand that your brand shouldn’t be everything to everyone. Instead, look to reward your target audience by creating a product or service that answers their particular needs and reduces friction in their experience.
Creating a focus around your brand will give you a framework on which to build the other elements.
A. Create a positioning statement
Start by creating a positioning statement.
This should look something like:
We offer [PRODUCT/SERVICE] for [TARGET MARKET] to [VALUE PROPOSITION]
Unlike [THE ALTERNATIVE], we [KEY DIFFERENTIATOR].
B. Write a list of words to describe your brand
Imagine your brand is a person with their own personality. How would you describe them in 3-5 words?
Create a longlist of adjectives, then whittle down to a shortlist.
Step four: choose your name
Naming can be difficult depending on the number stakeholders there are involved in decision-making around your brand.
Aim to create a longlist of names by using some of the following approaches:
- Coin a word: Starbuck
- Combination of two words: HubSpot
- Contract or alter a word by removing letter: Big Yellow Self Storage
- Literal description: The Book Shop
There are other ways to create names, too, which we will explore in a future blog.
Step five: write a slogan
Your slogan isn’t your brand in totality, but it does constitute an important part of it.
A short, simple slogan is catchy and therefore a crucial part of your brand toolkit when you want to create a brand. Some tips to creating a solid slogan include:
- Highlight a key benefit
- Explain the commitment
- Keep it short
- Create a rhythm, rhyme and a ring
- Stay honest
Step six: work out your visual style
A serious amount of thought went into the appropriateness of materials for the packaging. Packaging matters greatly to the project because gifting is an essential component of the retail offer.
Graphics interfaced heavily with interiors, ensuring brand consistency across 2D and 3D elements of the K&R concept. The 3D built environment is forward-thinking by combining retail, dining and experience. It heroes the incredible food and beverage on offer through a carefully curated palette of materials, displays and lighting.
Your name and slogan are an essential part of your brand identity. Now let’s look at its visual elements, or ‘assets’.
Colours aren’t arbitrary. Each one conveys a particular set of emotional associations, and the right colours can nudge your audience towards taking an action, be that clicking on the next page or making a purchase.
Colour psychology is an emerging science but for a summary of how certain colours will influence your audience, check out this comprehensive guide.
Step seven: select your fonts
While you’re working on your brand’s colour scheme, you’ll want to look at the fonts you’ll associate with it.
A good rule of thumb is to select two fonts at the most to avoid confusion and to create a cohesive brand image.
A great tool you can use to help you is FontPair which pairs selections of two fonts that work, shows you what they could look like in a heading and body copy format, and gives you a download link for the pair. Handy, if you don’t want to spend hours and hours looking through font banks.
Step eight: design your logo
You’ve found your tone of voice, your colours, fonts and slogan; now you need to create your logo. A wordmark logo turns all of your other disparate elements into a cohesive visual identity.
A key focus for any logo is how it scales to different environments. For example, consider the Facebook logo, which works as a rectangular wordmark and a square icon.
For a bit of logo inspiration, check out Seek Logo, which has a database of over 300,000+ vector logos.
Step nine: consolidate
You should now have the majority of the components you need to build your brand from scratch.
The next step is to take the assets that you’ve made and consolidate them into a brand book or set of guidelines that will help you to codify your choices and build around them.
New platforms such as Frontify can help you to build a simple online brand book if you don’t have the skills or time to build your own from scratch.
Step ten: apply your guidelines
The final step in the process is to apply the set of principles and guidelines that you’ve built across your key assets and collateral. This includes your:
- Social media channels
- Email marketing
- Business cards
- Any other collateral, printed or digital
As your brand takes root and begins to grow, try to stick to the guidelines you created, as this will lead to consistency. Ultimately, you want to create a brand that communicates directly to your target audience, helping to instil confidence in them that you are worth their time and energy.
If you alter your brand’s direction after a year of establishing it, it could signal inauthenticity, or that your principles have changed, so take care to only change an element of your brand for a solid business reason.
CADA Design’s branding and graphic design solution
Now you know the core principles of how to create a brand, you can go through the process yourself, but if you’d like to ensure that a professional, thorough job is done, you could work with our branding and graphic design team.
Here are five reasons to work with us:
- We have over 25 years’ experience building some of the world’s most well-known and commercially successful brands, including Pret a Manger and Itsu, and most recently created the Aldi Local
- We work exclusively in food and experience, so we understand the full requirements of food retail and hospitality brands.
- We are world-leading and have won many international awards for your branding and interior design work.
- We work with independents and larger groups. Most recently, we created Kernel & Roast, a new, specialist, independent food retailer in Westfield London, and Aldi Local. This shows the breadth of our work.
- We are fully integrated, and partner with a number of experienced brand strategists who can help you refine your brand concept. Our award-winning interior design department means that if and when your brand is ready to expand to a physical location, we’re on hand to help with that, too.