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What is an awesome brand (aside from being cool and successful)? Anyone can call themselves a brand, but to succeed, you better have a good understanding of branding.
If you have a great idea for a new brand, but are worried about how to make it work, you’re a smart person. You recognize that you don't know how to do brand-building but your senses tell you that you need it.
Here’s the thing. A brand isn’t just a logo. It’s a complete reflection of the people and stories behind it. But how do you create that and what makes a great brand? How was Nike able to beat Reebok? How has Coca-Cola managed to stay relevant for so long? Why is Ronald McDonald one of the world’s most recognized characters?
All of these things start with a good foundation. It would be so much easier if you had some sort of blueprint to follow for building an effective brand. Especially given how competitive the playing field is these days.
The good news is that there IS a blueprint for building an effective brand. And if you follow it, you're going to build something that you'd be proud to show off. We’ve put together 9 key steps that will help you build a strong brand and allow you to stand out from the competition. Brand building involves a lot of planning and hard work, but follow our 9 steps, and you’ll be well on your way.
Here we go.
The very first thing you need to do is to figure out what your brand’s purpose is, who it’s for, where you want it to go and why it exists. How do you tackle all those things in one go? Do a branding workshop. Our workshop is a good example.
EQ Creative Brand Workshop is an intensive consulting engagement that turns business ideas inside out, finding and creating an identity that best reflects the brand’s vision and values.
We start by doing the following:
After this workshop, we move onto competitor research and market analysis. This is the task of trend research and innovation management.
Our aim is to recognize your brand’s potential and develop future solutions. To start, we need reliable, well-founded information on possible trends, future developments and their effects.
These questions will underpin our approach:
✭ Does your competitor utilize a consistent visual identity and messaging across channels?
✭ What is the quality of the competitor’s products or services?
✭ Does the competitor have customer reviews or social mentions you can read about?
✭ In what ways does the competitor market their business, both online and offline?
After consolidating a future direction for your brand, we must crystallize a set of guiding principles in the form of a value proposition and brand statement.
In order to set the foundations of your brand’s identity, we must first decide where to position your brand in the market — we’ll create a visual map of where your brand stands in the industry. Furthermore, a profile analysis of your brand will be made to distinguish your business from competitors, offering a breakdown of how your brand will stand out among competitors.
A value proposition is the promise of value being communicated and established – essentially, an answer to the question of why a customer should choose your brand over that of your competitors. It is also about the customer’s expectations of how a brand’s value will be delivered, experienced and acquired. A value proposition can apply to whole organizations, customer accounts, products or services.
Have you thought about your brand mission? In essence, you’ll have to craft a clear expression of what your company is most passionate about. This is your “why” — the reason you get up every day. Before you can build a brand that your target audience trusts, you need to know what value your business provides. The mission statement basically defines a purpose for existing. It will inform every other aspect of your brand-building strategy.
For example, Nike’s mission is “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.“
To envision the broad strokes of your future brand, there’s one essential tool you can use.
This is a one-page business plan template that helps you deconstruct your idea into its key assumptions. It is usually divided into two sides: the left side is mainly focused on a product, and the right side focuses on a market.
Brand alignment is a measure of how well your company fulfills its brand promise. The strength of your company’s brand alignment is driven by how well your employees understand, communicate and deliver on your brand’s key messages.
Are your customers on the same page when you describe your brand and service offerings? Once customers partake in your company’s products or services, do your offerings do the things you said they would? Brand alignment works on getting you to say “yes” to both. If your brand is aligned externally, your customers understand the claims your brand is making and believe it’s making good on those claims.
Brand identity is the collection of all elements that a company creates to portray the right image to its consumer. It follows that your design assets are the tangible elements that will determine how your brand is perceived. Things like your logo, your packaging, your web design, your social media graphics, your business cards and the uniforms your employees wear.
Now that we’ve decided on all the guiding factors dictating the look and feel of your brand, we need to realize the design touchpoints and communicate these decisions to different stakeholders. This might include:
This is the exciting stage where we actually get to see everything we’ve done so far come into action. This is where we unveil the brand and get people to know about us.
But before we start, we need to have a marketing workshop to put our ducks in a row.
EQ Marketing Workshop is a one-day intensive workshop that focuses on the key areas of a marketing strategy – from business goals, target audiences and consumer personas to the buyer’s journey and tactical execution. By combining our effective PR and marketing strategies, we will guide you in building an impactful brand that connects and resonates with modern consumers, both visually and emotionally.
Here are some essential steps we will be reviewing during our workshop:
We dig deep to identify the root of pain points in brands, offering a structured, results-driven strategy to elevate your brand.
We meet customers at each stage of the funnel through cross-channel marketing by bridging both online and offline experiences.
We strongly recommend tracking both the implementation of the plan as well as results. Did the strategy get implemented as planned? What happened with the objective measures, such as search traffic and site visitors? How many new leads, employee applications and partnered opportunities were generated?
Only by tracking the entire process can you make sure you are drawing the right conclusions and making the right adjustments.
Now that your brand is up and running, we can look into its performance and begin to make adjustments.
We refer to this last part of strategic brand management strategy as maintaining and expanding the brand equity and value — making sure your brand continues to grow, improve products and service, while tapping into related industries as a leader.
Start by asking these questions about your sales data:
If you follow these 9 steps to brand building, your brand will stand a much better chance of succeeding in today's fierce competition. You’ll have a better chance of building a successful enterprise than the majority of companies and individuals who fail to take the proper steps toward building a successful and sustainable brand.
In case you missed it, feel free to check out our article on the top 5 things you should avoid when building your brand.
If you still feel you need help building your brand, contact us for a free consultation and we’ll discover areas of your business you can improve.