Building a Brand is like Building a House...Sort Of
Think about your fave Brand, is it identifiable without words?
When people think of Facebook the notorious curved ‘F’ behind a backdrop of the electric blue comes to mind. When ‘Youtube’ is mentioned, bold red automatically expands before their eyes with a barrage of cat videos and other weird and wonderful video content that we may choose not to disclose in public. But why are these small icons and simple colours so powerful? Well, that’s the beauty of branding.
BUT THE IMAGERY IS ONLY PART OF WHAT MAKES A BRAND, THE REST REQUIRES A LOT OF HARD WORK AND CONSISTENCY.
Building a brand is like building a house, you begin by designing the foundations of what you want to achieve and then implementing it into the structure until you get the full picture. Sounds simple right? Nope! Since when was building a house so simple?! But for any novice, there are three important things to consider when building a brand.
1. Market Research
Before you can begin designing the skeleton of your house, first you must establish what type of material is most suitable for interior support. In other words, do your research before you build anything! Who is your target market? What do they want? What will you offer them? Why should they even take a look at you? These are the questions you will need answers for first.
Use the holy grail (Google) of free information to look up your competitors, what are they doing? How are they doing it? Get on social media and take advantage of what it can offer you, it’s a direct voice from your competitors and potential customers! Talk to people in your market directly or perhaps do a little online shopping to put yourself in the customer's shoes. It does not matter how you do it, so long as you are getting valid information for your target audience. Now, you can choose the framing that is most appropriate for your house.
So you have established the type of market that you will inevitably attempt to break into but your next step is to decide who - as a brand - you are. This means everything from the colours, the logo and the website format that you will associate yourself with. Seeking something light and informal? Go for pastel colours and wooden hues. Concerned about the environment? Choose a logo that depicts nature. Don’t want to spend hours on end fiddling with complex website structure? Squarespace is your new best friend. This is the fun bit about building a house, you can decorate it in any way you want. And no, that Persian rug is not too extravagant - treat yourself!
ONCE YOU’VE DECIDED ON THE AESTHETICS, YOU’LL THEN WANT TO FOCUS ON THE MESSAGE YOU WANT YOUR BRAND TO PORTRAY.
A great example of that is TOMS founder, Blake Mycoskie. When travelling Argentina in 2006 he witnessed the poverty children lived in and wanted to help in some way, so he came up with the concept of TOMS which would, ‘match every pair of shoes purchased with a new pair of shoes for a child in need.’ But what stands out from his message is the ‘One for One’ slogan which is what the consumer is likely to remember TOMS for most. Although the colours and the message will act as the flooring and the walls for of your house, a slogan works the same way except it offers something a little more… a window into your brand's world, or vision you wish to accomplish. In TOMS case they have been able to extend this to eyewear, clean water and even safer birth, I don’t know about you but that is definitely something I want to be part of too, in fact, I already am!
By now, you’ll have painted the walls and nearly finished decorating your house - sorry, I meant brand! Before you even think about launching always remember the power of consistency and how you will use it to navigate your brand into the market field.
Take for example GoPro, as soon as you read that you automatically imagined their notorious blue fading block colour scheme and a small waterproof camera latched onto a bike riding through the mountains. The words, ‘Think It. See It. Do It.’ may have come to mind, but if they didn’t the urge to be adventurous certainly did. Or perhaps when you think of Uber, it’s monochrome phone app emerges and the first thing you can think of is a sleek black car that may only be a moment’s wait from where you are standing. ‘Your Ride, On Demand’ is what they want us to believe… but is it working? Judging by their multi-billion dollar empire, I think it is working pretty well. They’re clear and straight to the point but most importantly, they deliver accordingly.
But what do both of these equally successful companies have in common? Their messages are consistent and consistency means familiarity of an image, a colour or a personality. When we become familiar with a ‘thing’ we see it less as a product and more as a necessity, especially when we trust the brand and its message. Why? Because we too want to be part of that message. Besides, it doesn’t hurt if your brand is changing the way people live their lives for the better.
Just like a house that needs consistent attention and care in order for it to look clean and intact, it is very similar with what is required for a brand. One tool cannot work without the other which is why it is crucial that research, identity and consistency are taken into attentive account. Although building a brand requires more work than just that, it is these foundations that will keep your brand strong but consistency is what will make it relevant. And anyway, everybody wants to live in a clean home, right? right?!
Hi, I'm Tenille Villebrun,
I help Solopreneurs, Mompreneurs, Entrepreneurs & small businesses (1-2 people) - bring theirs business idea(s) to life.
Whether you're the "get someone else to do it" type or the "D.I.Y" type - there is an option for you to get your brand & website up and running!