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How to Build a Brand

When you’re building a brand, it’s important to cut through the online noise and create an identity that resonates with your target audience. By following a few key steps, you can establish a brand that will attract, engage, delight, and grow your customer base, no matter where they interact with you online. 

From defining what a brand is to developing one that will last, read on to learn more about brand building.

What is branding?

Branding is a holistic communications system that develops, maintains, and evolves a company’s or individual’s reputation. It begins with a detailed understanding of the organization’s customer base, and it continues through the way the organization presents itself to those customers. 

It’s common to think of branding as being synonymous with logo design, but a logo is just one part of a much more sophisticated process of creating a visual identity. 

Know your audience

The first step toward building a brand is to identify and understand your audience. Spend time answering a few key questions to understand your target customer base:

  • Who is most likely to love what you have to offer?

  • What drives their behaviors?

  • What will encourage them to click through to your website?

  • What will convince them to convert and make a purchase?

  • What will turn them into loyal customers and promoters of your business?

  • What will convince them to come back to you if they drift away from your brand in the future?

If you already have a website and social media presence, you can start to answer these questions by looking into your website analytics, seeing what people are saying about your brand on social media, checking out how your competitors interact with their customers, and potentially carrying out some surveys.

If you have more than one target customer base, you can segment your audiences, which involves identifying them by more detailed characteristics, such as demographics, tastes, and buying behaviors. For example, a frugal college student might interact with your brand in a different way than a 40-year-old professional with disposable income.

Once you have a comprehensive idea of the kinds of people who make up your audience segments, you can build a brand that caters to their needs and interests.

Read more:
Identify and Understand Your Target Audience

Define your mission and vision

What inspires you to do what you do as a business? And what is your ultimate end goal? The answers to these questions will provide you with your brand mission and vision, respectively.

A clear mission and vision will give your brand a sense of purpose, and will also show your target customer base:

  • What you intend to do for them—what desire or need you’ll fulfill, or what problem you’ll solve

  • How you intend to go about delivering on that promise—the features of your products or service delivery that make them valuable

  • Why their world will be better as a result of engaging with you—the impact of your product or service

Think of your brand mission as the driving force behind your activity, and of your brand vision as where that activity will ultimately take you. The vision is where you want to be, and the mission is how you intend to get there.

 You can also create company values, which help your audience—and employees—understand why your mission and vision are important to you. Brand values will bring a sense of authenticity to your mission and vision, and to your overall business. 

Read more:
Define Your Brand Mission and Vision

Develop your brand message and voice

Establishing a compelling brand message and voice is just as important as your visual identity when building a brand. They might sound similar, but your brand message and brand voice are two separate aspects of brand building.

Your brand message is a uniform system of expressing your company’s value proposition. It is also known as your brand narrative. A strong brand message tells the story of your company across all touchpoints, presenting your target audience with consistent information that will develop their understanding and trust in your brand. 

While your brand message is what you say about your business, the brand voice is how you go about saying it. Your tone of voice will both express your brand personality and mirror the personalities of your target audience segments. Your brand voice will help people connect with and remember your brand.

Read more:
How to Create a Compelling Brand Message and Voice

Identify your brand touchpoints

Brand touchpoints are the interactions a member of your target audience is likely to have with your brand. Depending on the reach of your brand, a person might experience multiple brand touchpoints in a single day — from a paid social ad, to a blog that appears in their search results, to browsing your products in a brick and mortar store. It’s important to deliver a meaningful experience for your audience at every touchpoint.

The easiest way to track brand touchpoints is online, where you can follow the customer journey as they travel from email marketing campaigns or social media pages to your website. To see how customers interact with your brand online, review your website analytics.

Once you have tracked how your customers are interacting with your brand, it’s important to conduct touchpoint analysis. For example, you might find that people visit only a single page on your site before leaving, which leads to what’s called a high bounce rate. That could cue you to experiment with a social media tool like Squarespace’s Unfold App or try out a new design template on your website to see if it helps reduce bounce rate.

By reviewing and understanding each of your brand touchpoints, you can ensure a more consistent experience for customers throughout their journey. 

Read more:
Identify Your Brand Touchpoints

Create a visual identity system

Ever passed by a fast-food restaurant and known what it was before you even saw the signage? Branding can be expressed in taste, touch, feel, sound, and smell, but it’s more likely that most of your brand interactions will be visual. Whether on a laptop or phone screen, or on a subway or billboard ad, it’s important for your brand to be unified by a consistent, high-quality visual identity system.

 When you’re creating a visual identity for your brand, consider these design elements: 

Logo design

A business’s logo is the visual essence of its brand. Whether it’s a typographic representation of the name, an icon, or a symbol, a logo is an important first impression of your brand. Make your brand memorable from the very start by designing a logo that stands out.

It’s easy to develop a DIY logo with a logo-building tool, like Squarespace’s free logo maker.

Color palette

You can conduct audience research to understand which colors resonate with your target audience, and start to test different colors to develop your brand’s visual style. 

Consider how you want your brand to make your audience feel. Whether you want your brand to soothe, excite, or delight your audience, different colors will connect people with different sets of emotions. Try out a few different color schemes on your website to see what works.

Typography

Do you want to be a playful brand or a serious one? Something in between? Does your audience connect more to a blocky font or flowing script?

You can easily try different fonts on a Squarespace website and decide what suits your brand. You might apply one font to your logo, another to your headlines, another to your subheadings, and another to your body text. Just make sure they’re complementary on the page, as they’re the real finishing touch of your visual brand.

Imagery

From illustration to product photography, brand imagery helps you to craft a consistent visual experience for your target audience.

Consider the shapes, textures, lines, and patterns that you’ll incorporate into your graphic elements. These small details will keep your visual aesthetic consistent. Design choices can help express the mood of your brand as well. For example, bubbly borders around images imply a playful personality for your brand whereas a more subdued line-only border may be a bit more serious. Regardless of the direction you choose, make sure your visual appearance aligns with your overall messaging and mission.

With Squarespace, you can easily translate your logo, typography, brand color palette and more across your website, email campaigns, and other channels where you connect with your audience.

Read more:
Create a Visual Identity for Your Brand

Maintain brand reputation

Branding is an ongoing pursuit that doesn’t come to a halt with the launch of your visual style. Great brands have to be nurtured and maintained. That means continually analyzing the performance of your brand assets to ensure your business reputation is improving.

Get feedback from your audience through email sign-up forms, customer surveys, social polls, and more. The more you understand what resonates with your audience, the stronger your brand will be.

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