Companies don’t just sell products or services. What do we mean by that? Companies and businesses are known for their products and services, yes, but they are much more than that. They sell experiences, values, stories and emotions attached to their product. In other words, what differentiates a brand from a regular product or service-based business? An identity and that’s what branding is about.

According to a Gartner 2020 CMO Spend Survey, 37% of CMOs stated that a brand strategy is crucial for successful marketing and showcases an increase of 20% per year. According to the same survey, 65% of marketers felt that brand strategy fuels buying behaviour among existing customers.

Branding is the process of creating a unique name, design, symbol, and image that identifies and distinguishes a product or service from others in the market. It is the representation of a company’s identity and the promise it makes to its customers. It plays a crucial role in brand development, recognition, marketing, and management.

Branding is more than just a logo or tagline; it encompasses everything from the values, personality, and voice of a brand to the emotions and experiences it evokes in its customers. This comprehensive guide explores the ultimate branding strategies and techniques to establish a strong presence, foster customer loyalty, and differentiate your brand from competitors. A brand strategy helps the business create consistent messaging and scale while improving customer perception of the brand.

We have seen some of the world’s biggest brands perfect their branding strategy, for example, Apple, Starbucks, Nike, and Coca-Cola to name a few. No matter what industry your business belongs to, proper branding will help your business grow in ways that just marketing will not be able to achieve. Without proper branding, marketing will not be as impactful. 

In this comprehensive article, we will dissect the easiest and most effective steps to establish impeccable branding for startups and small businesses. This is the top branding guidebook that will provide you with invaluable insights and strategies to ensure your brand stands out from the competition and resonates with your target audience.

Get ready to dive into the best branding guide available.

Define a Brand Identity

In this essential step-by-step branding guide for beginners, the first crucial thing for businesses is to establish their brand identity and archetype before considering elements like the logo, colors, language, tone, or tagline. By defining what your brand stands for, including core values and unique differentiators, you can create a strong brand identity. For example, in the competitive market of shoe retailers, effective branding helps customers identify the specific brand they want to show loyalty to.

This can happen before or after you pick a brand name, but this is important to be able to choose the perfect tagline for your brand. Is it necessary to have one? Not really, but is it helpful? Absolutely.

A tagline that holistically reflects your product, values and USPs will definitely help your business create an impactful identity. Disneyland’s tagline “The happiest place on earth” reflects exactly what it stands for.

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Pick a Brand Voice and Tone

In the complete branding strategy guide, one crucial aspect is defining your brand’s voice and tone.

If your brand is a person, what language would it use and what’s its style? That is exactly your brand’s voice and tone. If your brand had to address a group of people at a dinner party, what would they say and how would they say it? There are various ways a brand’s voice and tone can change the way the brand is perceived. Is the brand quirky or formal? Is it entertaining or informative or both? Is the brand political or is it more neutral? By following the expert branding guide and establishing well-defined brand guidelines, you can effectively convey your brand’s values, message, and build a strong brand identity that enhances brand awareness.

Identify your Brand Audience

This works for both B2B as well as B2C companies. Knowing who your business addresses will help you communicate with them better and in a consistent manner. Build a customer avatar and narrow down your target audience based on demographics, age group, geography, etc.

Brand Visuals

Your brand visuals create the first impact. So, the next step in this effective branding guide is to have your brand kit in place. A brand kit is an all-inclusive document that clearly lays down what the brand is and isn’t. It’s the dos and don’ts of your brand. Your brand visuals include your brand’s logo, colour palette, font and typography, photography, and iconography.

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Brand Story and Message

Now that you have all the above in place, it’s time to create a brand message, including your brand origin story! A brand story helps a customer connect with a brand on a deeper level. For example, Toms Shoes has an origin story that leads people to buy their shoes.

Once this is in place, you have made through this advanced branding guide and hence, you can create brand awareness. Brand awareness is spreading your brand message through marketing.

Even though the specifics for B2B and B2C may be different, the above 5 guidelines work for both! Effective branding helps establish a strong presence in the market, builds customer loyalty, and differentiates a company from competitors. By following these simple steps businesses can create a brand that resonates with their customers and helps them grow in ways that just marketing alone cannot achieve.

We Think North
We Think North

This piece was collaboratively written by multiple members of the We Think North team, bringing you perspectives from across the branding, marketing, content and tech verticals.