What is a brand? And how do I create one?

 
 
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Wow, where do I even start? Branding is such a huge topic and I could talk about it forever but I’ll try to keep it brief and to the point.

Everyone has their own definition of what a brand is, but essentially...

A brand is the intangible feeling that you create in your audience’s mind.

It’s what differentiates you and your product or service from all of your competitors and it’s the sum of all parts that come together to create a complete experience and impression that your business makes on its audience.

Whether that is through a unique symbol/logo, brand name, a slogan, a set of values that your business stands for, your visuals, the experience within your website or your shop front, the way you answer the phone, the way your team acts and communicates with your clients etc. the list honestly can go on forever!

There are so many elements that make up and create a mental picture of your brand in your client’s mind and it’s important that you get it right from the start so that the mental picture they hold about you is a positive one.

 
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Here’s what some of the top entrepreneurs and thinkers have to say about branding:

Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.
— Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon.com
Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind
— Walter Landor, Designer and Founder of Landor Associates
Mass advertising can help build brands. But authenticity is what makes them last. If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.
— Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks
Branding is the process of connecting good strategy with good creativity
— Marty Neumeier, The Brand Gap

I especially resonate with this last quote as this is exactly what we believe and exercise here at Visuable. We combine great strategy with great creativity in order to create digital brand experiences that engage and inspire.

 
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We believe that there are 3 key steps that each business needs to take in order to bring a great brand to life. And those exact 3 steps form the basis of our brand building methodology here at Visuable:

 

Define – Create – Grow

1.

The first step is to define the strategic foundation and the creative vision you have for your brand so that you stand out as unique in today's crowded marketplace and are seen as the only solution for your ideal clients.


It’s crucial that you pinpoint things like your brand essence, your mission, values, strengths, personality as well as the visual aesthetics and also clearly define your target audience, offer and value that your business brings to its customers. It’s a lot to think about and at Visuable we take our clients through this process using a series of strategic and creative assignments that help them reach the ultimate clarity. We then go through everything and iron out any final uncertainties during our brand clarity session so that both us and the customer have a clear picture of the brand vision in mind and we can move to the create stage with confidence and intention.

 
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2.

The second step is to create your visual communication tools. This consists of an essential collection of authentic brand photos, an iconic design style and an engaging website that guides your visitors down a purposeful journey.

You probably wouldn’t have thought about it, but even the locations and outfits you use in your brand photos and the typeface that you choose to use within your designs will have a huge impact on people’s perception of your business. It’s vital that all elements of your brand are created with specific intention and target audience in mind so that you’re able to appeal to your chosen target customer group.

 

Brand Design

Ensuring your brand has uniformity and visual coherence helps to build trust and recognition with your ideal audience. Use your strategic foundation and creative vision summaries from step 1 to inform all visual elements of your brand design, such as your: logo (simple and memorable is best), brand colours (here you should refer to colour psychology) typography (here an understanding of font personality and how it affects buyer’s decision will come handy) and overall design aesthetics (here you should have your target audience in mind). Take a look at a few examples of brand identities that we’ve created for our clients and try to guess what those businesses are about and what audiences they are aiming to reach:
 

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Brand Photos

People love exclusive, behind the scenes insights. Give them exactly that by telling the story of your brand using a wide range of professional brand photography. The types of photos we recommend to our clients are headshots (formal and casual), team photos, candid photos showing personality which look like were captured casually, behind the scenes photos showing how you work with clients, photos showing your process and photos showing who you are outside of work and so on. Remember that quality of your images is unconsciously linked with quality of your service so professional quality brand photos are currently a must! Great brand imagery will add personality to your website and social media presence, help you to communicate who you are and what you do without having to say a single word, and will build trust with your potential clients. Remember that your potential customers will want to get the flavor of who you are and how it’s like to work with you before making the final purchase decision. Choose the locations and outfits for your photo-shoot wisely – make sure that the places you select reflect the taste preferences of your target audience and that the outfits you choose reflect the personality of your business and the level of service you provide. And don’t forget to smile, nobody wants to do business with miserable people! Take a look at the below examples of how we’ve helped our clients build trust and showcase personality through their brand imagery: ….

 
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Website Design

There’s a lot of pressure riding on your website’s shoulders. It needs to be everything! It’s one of, if not, the most important asset for your business, it’s your first impression and your potential customers first port of call. Your website needs to be well-designed, easy to navigate, engaging, fast, optimised, up-to-date, and add value to your customer! And most importantly, it needs to have a clearly defined goal and user journey so that your potential customers get the feel for who you are as they interact with your website, see you as a credible expert and are persuaded that you are the perfect choice for them. Make sure that your website showcases your credibility in several ways – any professional badges, logos, certificates, and awards will help with that. Another way to add credibility to your website is through case studies and testimonials – if you have some, display them, if you don’t – get some asap! Make sure that you add value to your audience – can you give away a sample of your knowledge for free through your blog? This will help you position yourself an expert in your field. 

At Visuable, we specialise in creating websites that are simple to navigate, purposefully designed and take users on an insightful brand journey that engages, educates and inspires.

 
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It’s no coincidence that all of Visuable creative packages are designed around the 2 points listed above. As I said before, we’re all about combining great strategy with great creativity – those 2 for us go hand in hand and form the foundation step for any of our clients to move to step 3 which is to grow your brand.

If you do need a hand with any of the above then get in touch or check out our creative packages and we would be very happy to help you build a brilliant brand for your business!

3.

Once you have the strategic and creative foundation down to a T, you can move to the third step which is to grow your brand – you now have to master the tools, techniques and strategies available to communicate your brand in a way that tips the odds in your favour, not your competitors.

With the internet marketing and social media being at their lifetime high in popularity levels, every one of us have an equal chance to get their brand out there into the world. Google and Facebook ads, SEO, Social Media, Blogging, PR, Email Marketing are just a few marketing strategies and tools that are at our fingertips nowadays.

At Visuable, we consult our clients on ways to grow their brand through a series of brand marketing sessions. We focus specifically on helping our clients get themselves out there through visually enticing brand strategies that help them build trust and credibility, engage and inspire their audiences and create a long-term consistency across all communications channels. 

 

Unfortunately, many small business owners often skip the 1st step – Define and rush to have their photos taken and their websites and logos designed with no clear intention in mind. The results are usually bland, confusing or impersonal brands and websites which fail to convey what the business is about or what value it brings to its customers.


So, if you are looking to build a great brand for your business just remember the 3 key steps you need to take, in this particular order:

Define – Create – Grow

 
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If you have no idea where to start or are unsure about what your business needs you can either:
 

a) Take our Brand Audit Quiz – it will give you an honest assessment of where you are on your brand building journey and where you need to focus your energy next to take your brand to the next level.

b) Book a FREE 30 min Brand Espresso with us and we can talk it over!

c) Register your interest in our competition to win a £7000 rebrand! (available to UK-based businesses only – check out www.vfactorcomp.com for more details)

JOIN #BEVISUABLE!

Join our #BeVisuable Facebook Group and online business hub to network with other business owners just like you.