How to create a remarkable brand in this digital era

Written by Karlyne Zovitsky

Remarkable brands in this digital era

We are known as the deadline-driven generation in this digital era that want everything to be up and running as soon as possible. Patience is not our strong suit. BUT if you get it wrong in the beginning, the rest of your digital pyramid will come tumbling down and you will have to start over; and this time it might be more difficult as you now have to rebrand your already tainted image.

So how do you create your brand?

Firstly, don’t jump the gun and start designing your logo. It never works, and the amount of reverts and changes will get lost in translation. Start with plain and simple research. Now we know that there are endless “how to” articles online, and it gets overwhelming. When you google how to create a brand you will be bombarded with thousands and thousands of content pieces telling you how to create your brand.

But how do you know which method is correct?

How do you break through the digital clutter to find that one light bulb moment that will give you all your answers? I can’t answer that, but I can offer you one article containing tactics you can use to create a brand.

1. First off, know your audience

They might not know who you are yet, but it’s your job to know everything about them. From their favourite colour to where they live to their online behaviour and fears. Sometimes we forget about the audience and just start with the creative part. But in order to produce all your creative ideas, it’s good to know who you are creating it for.

Having the necessary insights will help you create a brand that will appeal to your chosen target audience, and that is the main goal of branding.

The easiest way to do so is to create your ideal customer as if they are a real person (in the form of a customer avatar).

What info do you need to create a customer avatar?

Demographics (Age, gender, location, income, marital status, job title, education)
Problems (Identify the customer’s problems specifically related to your products or services)
Solutions (Identify how your products or services can solve this customer’s problems)
Where will they go to find answers to their problems? Google
Where can you raise awareness about your brand? Google AdWords, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram
Identify your top 3 competitors and what their digital strategies are

Once you have all the information, you can create your ideal customer.

2. Find your differentiator and create your brand positioning

A brand positioning can take a few minutes to write down or it can take days to figure out. Whatever the timeframe, creating your brand positioning is the first step to marketing success. And many businesses skip this step either because they don’t know the importance of it, or they just have no idea how to go about creating it.

It’s not a difficult process, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

There are three steps you can follow:

Write down the benefits

Write down 5 benefits of your products, services or business offering. It can be emotional-driven, problem-solving, practical or aspirational. What you will realise is that writing and figuring out the benefits is a lot easier now, as you have your customer avatar to fall back on. If you know what will drive them to buy, you will know your benefits.

If your brand was a person, what 10 words would describe it?

If you had to describe your brand as if they were a person, what would you say? This may sound a bit bizarre, but it works. Choose 6-10 words that portray your brand. Is it adventurous and innovative, maybe sexy and edgy or classy and confident? Whatever pops up in your mind, write it down. Usually your first idea or thought is the honest answer. It’s good not to overthink this. If you know your brand, it will be easy to do.

What makes you unique?

Since you’ve already identified the benefits and your brand personality, it’s good to identify that one selling point that will differentiate you from other brands in your industry. What do you think you are the best at? What value do you provide your customers? Are the services or products you are offering confidently portraying that one differentiating aspect? Will the customer want to buy what you are selling?

These are the questions you should ask yourself. And I am not saying that you should write a perfect, error-free positioning statement. The key is to write down the main idea and then work on it until it is perfect. Once you know the answers to those questions, you can sum up perfectly who you are and what makes your brand different.

I have included two options below that are merely suggestions on how you can go about creating your positioning statement

(your brand name) is a (company category) that helps (your target audience) with (list of your services) to (the benefit of having your services).

Example: Conversion Advantage is a leading Digital Marketing Agency that helps Entrepreneurs and Marketing Managers with branding, SEO, PPC, website design, email marketing and social media management to promote their services or products online.

(your brand name) is a (company category) that offers (your target audience) (list of your products) to (the benefit of having your services).

Example: Conversion Advantage is Digital Marketing Agency that offers Entrepreneurs and Marketing Managers Digital Marketing and Branding services to reach their customers online.

*please note this sentence was adapted from the book ‘the only book you will ever need on branding to start, run and grow your business’ by Michiel Maandag and Liisa Puolakka

3. Finally, turn on the creative engine and design your brand

You’ve gone through the process. You’ve done the groundwork, and you’ve put together the perfect foundation to help with the last step: designing your brand. Usually, this is the part clients are the most excited about, and we don’t blame them. But as you may have realised, without the necessary preparation and research, the designing part would have been more difficult to execute.

Everything we have done up until now has not been for nothing. We’ve put together the pieces, now it’s time to finish the puzzle.

Choose your brand colours

The colour of your brand all depends on your industry, the type of business you have, your offering (products or services), your brand personality and your positioning statement. If you are in the financial industry pink might not be your first or even second option. If you own a bakery, then it might be more appropriate. There is a particular psychology behind colours and how it subconsciously influences a person’s perception of a brand or product.

Colour may even have a cultural influence. For example, in Western cultures green represents greed, money or even freshness, whereas in eastern cultures, green is associated with fertility, health and youth.

Let’s have a look at some associations that has been formed with the primary colours (mostly western):

  • Red –urgency, excitement, danger, bold, passionate, appetite (for example, KFC, Coca Cola, Avis, Canon, Lego, Toyota etc.)
  • Blue – trust, secure, dependable, traditional (For example, Standard Bank, HP, Facebook etc.)
  • Green – nature, fertility, wealth, money, growth, natural (For example, John Deere, Starbucks, Animal Planet etc.)
  • Purple – creative, royalty, imaginative, beauty, vanity, decadent (For example, Yahoo, Cadbury, Aspry etc.)
  • Orange & Yellow – energetic, warmth, optimism, friendly, cheerful (For example, Amazon, Best Buy, Yellow pages, Mc Donald’s, National Geographic etc.)
  • Black – (For example, Dolce & Gabanna, Nike, Chanel, Montblanc etc.)
  • Grey – balance, calm, security, stability (For example, Apple, Wikipedia etc.)
  • White – pure, innocence, fresh, clean, goodness (For example, Disney etc.)

So, when you go about choosing your colours, take into account all the aspects of your business and then choose.

Select a font style

As with colour, it is important that you choose the right font combination. Together with colour and imagery, it forms part of your brand package that will hopefully grab the attention of your target audience and portray your brand positioning. When you choose your font, remember that a font that looks good in your headline may not look as great in your body copy. That is why it is important that you not just choose the right font, but the right font combination.

There are 2 main font types to choose from:

Serif Fonts
More traditional font with small serifs on the edge of letters

Sans-Serif Fonts
More modern font with no small lines on the corners of the letters

Under Serif and Sans-Serif fonts there are multiple styles you can choose from.

Above all, the font should be easy to read online. On the web, preference is given to a more modern, clean font with no curls and twirls.

Decide which imagery style you will use

Think about the feelings you want to evoke when choosing imagery and whether or not it reflects your brand accurately. It helps to go back to your avatar and think about the problem you are solving, the product you’re selling or the lifestyle your avatar is aspiring to. Including people in your imagery is one way to make your avatar stop in her tracks as she considers someone either similar to her (relatable) or someone she’d like to be (aspirational) that will convince her that this is the right product for her.

Type of imagery you can consider:

  • Imagery showcasing a solution to the problem
  • Product focussed imagery (more in retail)
  • Imagery showing a certain lifestyle your target audience aspires to live
  • Imagery showcasing the problem and how your product/ service solves it
  • Showcase your target audience in your imagery so that they can relate
Create your Logo

Apart from the colour and font type of your brand, your logo is essential to complete your brand. It is your brand’s key identity piece and the visual trigger that should make customers think about your brand.

If you’ve followed the whole process, you will know by now what type of brand you have and the logo that should go with it. It might be your company’s name written out or an entire separate icon representing your brand in some way.

When creating your logo, you have a choice between 6 logo types:

Icon Brand
For example, Nike, Apple, Shell, Mc Donald’s

Word Mark
For example, Chanel, Absolut Vodka, Cartier, Calvin Klein

Combination Mark
For example, Adobe, Macy’s, Puma, Rolex

Icon and Letter Abr.
For example, IBM, CNN, HBO, NBC

For example, Harley Davidson, Starbucks Coffee, UPS, NFL

For example, KFC, Jack Daniels, Johnnie Walker

Once you have chosen your logo type, it’s time to start playing around with designs until you have what you are looking for.

Are you ready to create your brand? Let’s see what you come up with.

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