Whether you’re starting a new brand or rebranding, you’ll need to know the ins and outs of the process of branding. You only have 7 seconds to make a first impression, so it’s important to make each second count.
Carefully going through each step of the branding process is important to help your company stand out from the crowd, particularly in an increasingly crowded digital world where 26% of marketers are worried about reaching their target audience.
The branding process may take several weeks to months, but you will reap the benefits in many years to come. Now, let’s look at the stages of the branding process and how important it is to your brand.
Table of Contents
What Is Branding?
In a nutshell, branding is the process that businesses go through to create a unique identity that resonates with their consumers and target audience. Business branding is comprised of basic elements, such as a company’s logo, tagline, graphics, and tone of voice.
However, beyond that, a brand’s identity is also determined by the effectiveness of its customer support, the quality of its products, and even its prices. Even if you don’t have a brand strategy in place, you can still have a brand identity by shaping how consumers perceive your business.
What Is the Process of Branding and Why Is It Important?
The process of branding is a systemic and long one. This approach is used to create, strengthen, and promote a firm’s brand to ensure the success of its business development and marketing program. The branding process can also be applied to existing brands, in which case, it is called rebranding.
The importance of branding is one that we’d also like to highlight. Here are some:
Develops Loyalty and Trust
An old business quote that encompasses what branding is about is one that goes, “People don’t buy products, they buy brands.” This all boils down to trust and loyalty. People buy from brands that they know well, as showcased in a survey showing that 46% of consumers are willing to pay more to buy from brands they trust.
When your branding elements are compelling and engaging and elicit a positive response from your target audience, that puts you on the map in your niche. It helps you build recognition and connection among your target audience. Eventually, this will create trust, where customers are confident in the consistency of the quality of your products and services.
Highlights the Value Proposition
Beyond being a set of unique selling points, your company’s value proposition is a summation of benefits that customers can get when they buy from you or subscribe to your service.
It’s basically what your company will be known for. For example, Amazon is known for having a huge selection of products, excellent customer support, and same-day delivery.
There are numerous ways to showcase your company’s value proposition, with the best ones being logos, taglines, and demos.
Building a solid value proposition is crucial, with statistics showing that 76% of brands that managed to create one experienced immense growth over a decade.
Stand Out from the Competition
Aside from helping you highlight your company’s value proposition, the process of branding aids you in determining what makes you different from your competitors in the market.
For example, when it comes to airlines, it’s because of effective branding campaigns that people know that Ryanair provides low-cost flights, while Emirates offers luxury.
Undergoing the stages of the branding process can help you identify your market position, so it’s easy for potential customers to differentiate your company from the competition.
Attract and Retain the Right Employees
A survey shows that 50% of job seekers don’t want to work for a company with a bad reputation, even when offered a pay increase.
It’s clear that a successful branding strategy is not only for attracting customers but also helps with captivating and keeping top talents. When a company is transparent about what it stands for, it’s only natural that it attracts skilled employees that share the same sentiment. Moreover, these employees tend to stick around because their sense of purpose is fulfilled.
6 Stages of the Branding Process
The process of branding involves six crucial steps, and each one has to be paid sufficient attention to in order to build a brand that’s engaging and coherent. However, not every branding campaign requires you to go through the entire process, and some companies have to pay extra attention to certain steps.
For example, a company that specializes in design may focus more on establishing its brand identity; that is, the visual aspects of its brand, including the logo and marketing materials. On the other hand, a retail company that depends on sales may need to emphasize brand building to increase brand awareness.
1. Brand Research
The first step in building a brand is gathering and analyzing information about your business, the industry you’re in, your competitors, and your target audience. When outsourcing your branding process, doing ample research beforehand can help you come up with an appropriate branding RFP so you can find the right vendor for your project.
This step of the process of branding also entails conducting internal interviews and discovery meetings, so you can identify company goals and market strategies. You must expect varying perspectives and learn how to listen to each one open-mindedly.
2. Brand Strategy
Now that you’ve gathered enough information, you can focus on determining your company’s mission, vision, and values. You will also need to identify what differentiates you from the competition; we call these your differentiators.
Each differentiator needs to be true, with tangible proof, and relevant to your target audience. For example, the differentiators for the French brand Hermés are its exclusivity and craftsmanship. The lack of mass production for Hermés products ensures that your luxury items are one-of-a-kind.
After you’ve identified your differentiators, you then have to write an honest and compelling positioning statement where you can highlight the benefits your brand offers to clients. Your positioning statement is utterly important because it will serve as a reference when coming up with other materials for branding development.
3. Brand Identity
Your brand identity is your chance to put a face, voice, and personality on the soul of your business. Essentially, it involves creating something tangible that represents your brand: your logo, name, tagline, color scheme, images, designs, tone of voice, and more. It’s also your chance to establish a visual differentiation for your brand.
4. Brand Tools
In addition to your brand strategy, your brand tools are crucial for putting your business on the map. However, the tools you use will depend on how you plan on promoting your brand.
According to recent statistics, a whopping 98% of small businesses have a website. You can either build one from scratch or revamp your current one to make it more engaging. Your website should reflect your brand positioning and convey the right messages to your target audience. It should also reflect your brand identity: include your logo and tagline and apply your brand’s color scheme.
Aside from a website, other branding tools you can use are newsletters, industry conferences, research projects, videos, and blogs. Videos, in particular, are not something you should skip—86% of marketers say that video has helped them generate leads.
5. Brand Implementation
Almost nearing the end of the process of branding, the implementation stage entails carefully planning the launch of your brand on numerous channels. This can vary from handing out business cards and launching a new website to releasing a series of product videos.
This phase can also happen instantly or be rolled out over several months. Particularly in the professional services industry, the success of branding implementation dictates the overall success of the branding strategy.
You should also keep in mind that before you introduce your new brand to the world (external launch), you should first make sure your employees understand it (internal launch). Explain the rationale behind the brand, whether it’s a new brand or a revamp of an old one, to avoid any confusion.
6. Brand Building
Now that you’re done with all the other stages of the branding process, here comes the fun part: brand building. This stage entails converting your brand into market value by increasing visibility.
Having a long-term and effective brand building program requires sustained effort and consistency. You should be able to measure the results against your goals and adjust your campaign accordingly.
How Long Does the Process of Branding Take?
The length of the process of branding depends on whether you’re building a new brand or rebranding an old one and which stages of the branding process you need to put more emphasis on. Some companies take several weeks, while some need several months to build and launch their branding strategy.
For example, the research process can take a few days to a week, and creating the elements of your brand identity might take a couple of weeks. However, building a website can take anywhere from two to eight months, depending on its complexity.
Hiring a branding agency can help expedite the process since they are experts at what they do and they can help keep the process going smoothly. However, if you want your branding strategy to succeed, you should be prepared to nurture it and invest your time in it. Don’t rush through everything.
Final Words on the Process of Branding
The success of any branding or rebranding strategy is dependent on the implementation of each stage of the process. The process we’ve laid out for you in this article is proven and tested. Master this process, and you’ll get an immense return on investment. However, if you want to reduce costs, expedite the process, and get a fresh new perspective, you can hire a branding agency that’s appropriate for your business needs.