User-centred design is a term used to describe a set of tools and/or processes used to design services that maintain a strong focus on what users will need at every...
The importance of brand building is now widely recognised. If you take the time to build a recognisable and well-loved brand, it will be one of the most valuable assets your business will ever own. Create a brand without clear direction and an inconsistent identity and you'll end up a Zonkey!
Almost 60% of consumers prefer to purchase new products or services from brands with which they are already familiar  and as modern marketplaces are hyper-competitive, you need to do anything and everything you can to stand out, build an authoritative presence and cultivate a loyal audience who care about what you do.
Determine your Target Audience
You simply cannot be everything to every consumer, so you need to know precisely who you want to engage and what kind of first impression you want to make. Specificity is important here and you will need to understand what your ideal audience’s lifestyles and behaviours look like.
When you have an insightful view of your target audience, you can use this information to develop a brand identity that they can both understand and relate to. The brand building process ultimately relies on a variety of data, metrics and creativity. However, as your audience will influence almost every important decision you will make for your business, this is an essential first step that should not be rushed.
Create a Mission Statement
It is impossible to build a brand that your ideal audience finds engaging and trustworthy if you don’t know what you can do to add value to their lives. Your mission statement should be your driving force, clearly setting out what makes you want to get up and work every morning. This statement should ultimately be reflected in everything from your logo to your brand voice, so aiming for clarity here is essential.
Nike’s mission statement is: ‘to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world’ and we see this reflected in everything from their tagline; ‘Just Do It’ to their inclusive advertising. As a large multinational corporation, Nike can afford to be bold with their reach, however, you should ensure that your mission focuses keenly on your niche target audience initially, at least until your brand loyalty grows and you can look at expanding your own reach.
Undertake Comprehensive Market Research
Although you should never seek to copy what other businesses are doing, it is important to understand the state of the current landscape within your niche. Differentiating yourself is imperative and you can’t do this if you don’t know what is already being done.
The research process will help you to understand what other businesses are doing well and identify areas in which you can improve and immediately start to outperform them.
Outline Your Value Proposition
It is inevitable that you will encounter brands with access to more resources and larger budgets than you have available to you. Provided that you understand precisely what you can offer that no one else can, you will be able to build a unique brand that will resonate with your ideal audience and help you to maintain a competitive position within your marketplace.
Is your brand a Zebra, a Donkey or a Zonkey?
Establish Brand Guidelines
One of the most important branding process steps is maintaining consistency. Your brand guidelines should include everything from your values and strategic approach to your visual style, preferred fonts and tonality.
Your brand voice is particularly important, as this will help you to connect with your target audience and cultivate a loyal community of people who really value what you do. Remember, you need to be your own biggest advocate and ensuring that every member of your team is on the same page at every point will help you to do this effectively.
The brand development process will help you to determine how to differentiate yourself from the competition, establish emotional connections with your ideal audience and forge long-lasting, meaningful relationships with the people you most want to engage. So, gather your team and don't rush it!