The Complete Branding Process Guide

Developing branding for your business can be one of the most difficult things you have to do.

Indeed, many business owners start operating and selling before they have even defined what their brand is.

The reason for this is that engineering a new product or building a new business from the ground up are different types of thinking — and these “visionaries”, while creative in their own right, may have a hard time understanding why a clearly identified brand even matters.

The Importance of Branding

If your product or business is solving a market need, you can be successful without a clear brand for a time. Eventually, though, if you are growing and want to truly scale – you’ll need to buckle down and really think about your look, feel and communication style.

Why? 

It’s incredibly hard to land influencers, ambassadors, and new customers across multiple channels if your branding is not clear, consistent, and well thought out.

87% of customers make decisions based on their emotions — so whether you have a great product or not, people will innately choose to stand behind a business that has a mission they can believe in.

If that’s not you — it could be the cause of the recent hit you’ve taken to your bottom line.

How to Create a Brand

Here are the six steps of the branding process:

  1. Connect to Your Story
  2. Competitor Research
  3. Know the Problem
  4. Define the Details
  5. Build Your Brand Platform
  6. Translate Your Brand To Design

The below example is a refresh of the Rule #1 Investing brand we updated in 2017. The updated branding resonated better with customers across the website, videos, and social media.

Rule #1 Investing BEFORE Complete Branding Update

Rule #1 Investing AFTER Complete Branding Update

Now that you’ve seen the difference yourself, let’s dive into the good stuff so you can start crafting your brand today. And, if you want help, you can always reach out to us — we’re experts in this and are always ready to lend a hand.

1. Connect To Your Story

This might surprise you, but humans CRAVE stories. They want a beginning, middle and end — a transformation of a hero into an even greater hero.

So, the MOST important thing you have to do at this stage is to clear your mind and listen to your heart.

Write down your answers to the questions below based SOLELY on what you feel in your gut. You can assess it with logic later to make sure it all adds up.

Here, you are focusing on connecting to the customer and putting yourself in the avatar’s shoes. Think about what kind of story would convince you to buy.

  • Why are you creating this business?
  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • What do you want to be known for?
  • What kinds of things do you want people to say about you?
  • What emotions should the brand elicit?
  • What is the most important goal for you to accomplish?
  • What are your beliefs?

The answers to these questions will ultimately help you determine the mission, the brand promise, and the branding looks through color theory.

2. Competitor Research

Next, you have to know who else is selling a similar product or service in the same space. It’s vital to have some kind of differentiator that makes your offering more valuable.

  • Who else is in your space?
  • What are they offering?
  • How do they talk about their product or service?
  • How can you stand out or differentiate?

The answers to these questions help you determine your value proposition and positioning statement.

3. Know The Problem In Detail

Similar to researching your competitors, you also want to research your avatar and potential customer base.

It’s important to understand and have answers to the questions below so you can make an impact on your brand, messaging, and imagery.

  • What problem are you solving?
  • Who is the solution for?
  • Why will they buy it?
  • What are the pain points?
  • What objections might people have to buying this?

The answers to these questions help you determine your claims, features and benefits, and the ‘why’ behind the avatar’s desires.

4. Define The Details

By the time you get to this step, you should have the basics in place. You now understand the story behind your brand, you know how you stack up in comparison to others on the market, and you can communicate the problem and pain point to the avatar.

Now — you have to deep dive into the details of your brand. It’s these little things that add up over time to create the timeless look and feel your brand will carry forward into the world. The more you think about it up front, the less issues you’ll run into later.

AND having a clearly defined brand foundation means you can easily communicate these things to employees who join the company or even to investors who may want to contribute funding!

Brand Foundation: State What the Brand IS

For example — if you are marketing a gel sole shoe insert, your brand may be scientifically backed, an advocate for how healthy feet can lead to a healthy body or a custom solution for your personal needs.

Brand Foundation: State What the Brand is NOT

To add to the above, we can use the same gel sole shoe insert. In this case, your brand may NOT be a cookie-cutter, off the shelf solution that doesn’t work.

Establish Brand Tone

You need to define how you want to communicate – know your tone of voice.

The tone of voice is a big one, and we always recommend building out the nuances of your communication. For example — don’t just say your brand tone is “fun, casual and outgoing” because that can have a different meaning to different writers.

Instead, say your brand tone is fun – meaning more light-hearted than over-excited.

Say it’s casual – meaning more easy-going than informal.

And say it’s outgoing – meaning more approachable than unrestrained.

Statements like these really help to bring out the true tone and make it easily applicable to different types of copy from different kinds of writers. All this really just means you can sound the same on every social platform, webpage, and YouTube video. Perfect!

For the remainder of these questions, again, go with your gut. It’s important, especially if you’re a stakeholder in this business, to listen to what your heart is telling you. We tend to overthink everything, so there is nothing stopping us from coming back later and reviewing the answers logically.

  • Decide whether your brand is more masculine or feminine
  • Simple or intricate?
  • Necessity or luxury?
  • Modern or classic?
  • Assign outside characteristics to define your brand
  • If your brand was a car, what would it be and why?
  • If your brand was an animal, what would it be and why?
  • What are your brand’s human characteristics?

The answers to all of these questions will help you determine the way the brand should look, act, and talk to the target avatar.

5. Build Your Brand Platform

In this stage, we’re going to put everything we’ve done together into one document, called the Brand Platform.

An example of our Brand Platform Template

The goal of the Brand Platform is to tell your brand story, thoroughly and chronologically. Start at the top with the easier answers like ‘What is the Brand?’ and finish at the end with the built-out brand concept.

  • State your WHAT — “The brand is…”
  • Restate the brand’s goals and objectives
  • Define the features and benefits
  • Compare the brand to competitors
  • Review the brand’s beliefs and history
  • Define the avatar the brand will target
  • Know how the avatar will find you and why they will care

Then, finalize the concept, including:

  • Mission Statement
  • Tagline
  • Positioning statement
  • Promise
  • Attributes
  • Essence
  • Tone

At the end of Step 5, you should have a completed Brand Platform document, mapping out the what and the why behind your business.

6. Translate Your Brand To Design

Now that you know what makes your brand tick, what problem it solves for your exact avatar, and how it speaks to the public… you can work with a designer to create your logo and color palette.

A great designer will comb through the platform, take everything into account, and apply color theory to ensure the voice and the look match up perfectly.

For more on translating your vision into design, check out the Brandetize 8 Step Logo Design Process.

Brand Your Business

Branding is more than just your business’s name and logo. It’s the all-encompassing feelings that your customers have when they interact with your brand and products. It’s the experience that they have. All good branding starts with a Brand Platform.

Strong brands focus on the big picture. They take a harmonious approach to branding and make sure that everything that they do works with the brand. If your business feels like it could use a bit of help with your overall branding, Brandetize can help.

mm
Sam is the Marketing Director for Brandetize. She oversees most client accounts, coaches our team and specializes in branding and messaging. She loves e-commerce and strategic campaign planning. In her spare time, Sam is a horror-movie fanatic and yogi who enjoys snuggling her dog and exploring new places with her husband.