A beginner’s guide to branding

New businesses need to take marketing seriously. Your network of contacts will only take your business so far, and to draw in new clients and customers, word-of-mouth marketing alone will not suffice. Every fledgling business should form a marketing strategy and plan for its implementation if it wishes to build up a sustainable client base. However, central to your marketing plan, there are several key elements which you need to nail or else your marketing strategy will never take off. One of these elements is branding. There are many misconceptions around branding, but in short, your company’s brand is its personality. What makes it special in the sector, what are your company’s core values and how are they reflected in your products? While this may all seem slightly abstract, in this article we’re going to examine how to establish a brand for your company, and how it’s key to your marketing strategy.

Brand elements

A brand is made up of many complementary components. These include:

  • Visual elements, such as logos, font, colour scheme and graphics.
  • Names, both of your company and its products.
  • Taglines and catchphrases.
  • Company values.
  • Company reputation.

When forming a brand for your company, you must decide which audience to target and how to interest them in your products or services. Consider Innocent Smoothies. Although owned by Coca-Cola, they have a well-defined brand. We know them for their friendly, informal nature and their quirky approach to marketing – that’s their brand. Innocent’s brand is so strong compared with its competitors that the company has achieved an enviable market share. While smoothies were once seen as posh indulgences, Innocent have convinced families to buy the products for their kids, opening up an entire new market. So, how can you match the strength of their brand?

How to create a brand

First, you should decide on one or two core concepts that your company believes in. These could be anything – security, trust, fun, freedom, health, value, teamwork, etc. These themes should guide you in the construction of your brand. With these values and your target market in mind, begin to craft your visual identity. The direction supplied by the core concepts of your brand should make the task of creating logos, brainstorming product names and writing copy far easier.

Branding and marketing

In marketing, your aim is to make your product or service stand out from its competitors. You need to be able to provide succinct reasons for paying attention to your company and its products. The branding process is all about crafting these reasons and reflecting them in every aspect of the brand. Branding enables you to present a marketing strategy that has direction, integrity and focus. Without a strong brand, it’s tricky (or perhaps impossible) for your marketing strategy to be successful. If your company has no apparent values or personality, it’s hard to turn heads.

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Ian is the founder of Opportunity Marketing marketing, with over 18 years of experience in successfully setting up marketing departments, creating marketing strategies and implementing these strategies across a wide number of SME companies in both the B2B and B2C sectors through a variety of channels.