Brand Building process showing different color swatches

Brand Building: 7 Steps for Creating an Amazing Brand

Justin Lynch
Justin Lynch

Creative Director

Brand building is essential for creating a successful brand.

Think about it for a moment. When you look at the brands you trust and purchase from what attracts you to them?

If you’re like most, you’ll talk about how the products/services from that brand make you feel. You may even point out how they’ve transformed your life in some way. Rarely though does anyone like a brand because they have a cool logo.

The reason for this is simple — we connect with brands on an emotional level.

In the end, every successful brand has three main components:

  • A powerful purpose behind it
  • A clear benefit to those who engage with the brand
  • A consistent experience inline with the brand’s purpose and benefits

During the brand building process, your goal is to make your brand appeal to the emotional side of your customers.

Why is Brand Building Important?

Every time a customer interacts with your business it’s influencing their opinion of your brand. In fact, your brand is present in all elements of your business.

Customers See Your Brand

Often times, the first encounter a customer has with your brand is through their vision. When this happens they instantly start making assumptions about your brand based on what the visuals are telling them.

Brand visuals are your:

  • Logo
  • Marketing Collateral
  • Online Ads
  • Published Content

Customers Experience Your Brand

Brand visuals are often the first encounter a customer has with your brand. Yet, the most impactful elements of your brand are the ones a customer experiences. Unfortunately these elements often get overlooked.

You create brand experiences through your:

  • Physical Space (Office, storefront, etc.)
  • Customer Service
  • Product or service

If you do not have a strategy for controlling all these elements, you’re leaving your brand up to chance.

Brand building is a strategic process that provides you the framework to control the narrative of your brand.

What is Brand Building?

Imagine if your brand was a house. To start building it you wouldn’t immediately grab two pieces of wood and start nailing them together.

There’s a process right? You first need blueprints. Then you lay a foundation, etc.

The same goes for your brand.

Brand building is the process of creating the foundation of your brand. With that foundation, you can then develop a successful strategy to generate awareness in the marketplace.

When done properly, it ensures your brand stands out and compels your target audience to choose you over your competitors.

And, like building a house, if you follow the process you’ll build a solid structure that will withstand the volatility of the market.

Step 1: Brand Purpose

Brand building requires a purpose. Without it, your brand doesn’t have a reason to exist. And, if it doesn’t have a reason to exist, why even build it?

In the end, every great brand has a purpose behind it. While some brands have a crazy, ambitious purpose, your’s doesn’t have to. Don’t feel pressured to follow in the footsteps of others.

Your brand’s purpose needs to be unique to you, no matter how big or small it may seem. As long as there is a large enough audience who also believe in your purpose, your brand will find success.

Finding Your Brand’s Purpose

If you need help finding your brand’s purpose, answer the following questions:

  • Why does our brand exist?
  • What problem does our brand solve?
  • Why should people care about our brand?
  • What values do we want our brand to convey?

Example:

We built the Avlier brand because businesses deserve success for the unique and amazing services they provide. Brand marketing is the best way to create lasting change in a business’s ability to attract and retain customers.

Step 2: Brand Positioning

Once you have your brand’s purpose, you need to figure out how it fits into your chosen market.

A market will always have two components:

  • Customers
  • Competition

The goal of brand positioning is to attract the right customers for your business. We’ll worry about your competition in Step 3.

So, how do you use brand building to attract the right customers?

Target Customer Sweet Spot

First, you need to determine what types of customers you want to attract. Most of the time businesses want to target customers who are easy to work with, spend a lot of money, and are advocates for the brand. At Avlier, we call this the Target Customer Sweet Spot.

Target Audience Venn Diagram Infographic

While the Target Customer Sweet Spot contains great traits to target, it’s still too broad for effective brand building. To properly position your brand, you have to dig deeper to understand which customers share those overlapping traits.

Building Your Target Persona

Think about your best customers right now. What similarities do they have?

Use the following traits when looking for similarities between customers:

  • What motivates them to buy from you?
  • What goals do your products/services help them achieve?
  • What pain points do your products/services alleviate?
  • Which people/brands influence their purchasing decisions?
  • Which brands do they use and advocate for?

As you recognize the connections between your best customers note them down. These form the basis for your target persona — the one customer you’re building your brand to attract.

In addition, we’ll reference these similarities as we move through the brand building process.

Example:

Our Target Customer Sweet Spot is a business that is currently profitable, has a dedicated marketing budget, but is struggling to grow their business further. They know branding is part of the solution for achieving growth but they don’t know what steps they need to take to build the brand they need.

Step 3: Brand Differentiator

Why should a customer buy from you over your competitors?

It’s a simple question, but many businesses struggle to answer it.

The reason is those businesses have not differentiated their brand. When you differentiate your brand, you’re able to convince customers why they should choose you over your competitors.

Competitor Research

To differentiate your brand, you need to research what your competitors are doing. Build a spreadsheet and document the following information:

  • What is the purpose of their brand?
  • What type of customers are they targeting?
  • What makes their brand unique?
  • What products/services are they offering?

Once you’ve done your research you’ll able to see the similarities and differences between your brand and your competitors brands.

Example:

Most branding agencies fail to generate positive change for their clients. The reason is that they fail to tie the brand building process to business goals. Or, they convolute the brand building process with unnecessary steps. If you ever hear an agency ask you “If your brand was a car what would it be?” it’s a sign they’re convoluting the process (because the answer to that question will never motivate customers to buy from you).

At Avlier, we offer a streamlined brand building process that focuses on generating positive impacts in your business. In the end, we create everything with your business goals in mind.

Finding Your Brand Differentiator

In the end, it’s okay if your brand shares some similarities. However, it needs to have at least one major differentiator if you want your brand to stand out.

If you find that your brand is too similar to another brand you have two choices:

  • Pivot your brand so it has a differentiator
  • Restart the entire brand building process

Building a brand that differentiates itself will significantly increase the success of your brand. 

Step 4: Brand Benefits

So far in the brand building process you’ve established what your brand stands for, who it wants to attract, and how it’s different from your competitors. Now it’s time to give customers a compelling reason to buy from you.

When establishing your brand benefits, you need to start at the end. The goal is to determine what transformation your brand can offer to customers.

Start by answering the following questions for each of your products/services:

  • Why do you offer that product/service?
  • When a customer uses that product/service what change do they experience in their lives?
  • What has happened in the customer’s life to make them seek out your product/service?

After you’ve answered those questions you need to create one (yes, just one) benefit of your brand. This is your primary brand benefit. To help with this process, review your answers from the questions above and look for commonalities. Are there any benefits that show up again and again?

Example:

At Avlier, our brand benefit is the attraction and retention of more customers for your business. While the strategies and implementation of our marketing services differ, the benefit is the same.

Once you’ve created your own brand benefit write it down and place it somewhere visible at all times.

Your brand’s benefits combined with your brand’s differentiator will form the basis for brand marketing efforts.

Step 5: Brand Mission

Your brand mission is the keystone of the brand building process. It combines all the information from steps 1 – 4 to provide the roadmap for your brand building strategies.

When creating your brand mission you’re translating your brand’s purpose into an actionable vision.

Example:

To help businesses attract and retain customers so they can grow and be rewarded for the unique and amazing services they provide. Our personalized brand marketing framework streamlines the often bloated brand building process.

When you read through the Avlier brand mission you can see how it combines elements from each of the previous steps.

But wait! Isn’t a brand mission the same as a company mission statement?

Not quite. Here are the differences:

  • Company mission statement = a vision to a goal that will benefit the business
  • Brand mission = a vision to a goal that will benefit the customer

Your brand mission can be shared with the public or it can be kept internally. Both are valid options. Regardless of your choice, all elements of your brand should still convey that mission at all times.

Step 6: Brand Story

One of the most compelling ways to convince customers to buy from you is to make them the hero of a story.

When a customer can see the journey and transformation they’ll experience, it increases their relationship with your brand.

To create a compelling Brand Story you need to provide clarity to the following questions:

  • What issues are your customers is currently facing?
  • What can their life look like after using your product/service?
  • How can you help them accomplish the transformation?

What issues are your customers currently facing?

Think back to Step 2 when you positioned your brand and identified some of the pain points a customer has before they buy from you. Those pain points are the starting point for your Brand Story.

You need to remind customers of the pain they’re experiencing right now. While it may seem harsh to bring up those negative emotions, your story won’t have an impact if it does not evoke emotion or convince them to take action.

What can their life look like after using your product/service?

Now that we’ve reminded the customer of their pain, we need to remind them that it will be better. Once again go back to Step 2 and look at your answer to the question about the goals your customers are trying to achieve.

Regardless of how big or small you feel those goals are, they are relevant to your customers. You need to remind them of how their life will improve when they reach those goals.

How can you help them accomplish the transformation?

Finally, you need to show customers how your product/service will make their goals a reality. Also, make sure they know you will guide them through the process. Having a guide eases hesitations and provides reassurance in their transformation.

In the end, your story needs to be clear, easy to understand, and evokes them in to action.

Note:

Don’t get this confused with your business’s story. While some customers may want to know your history, your Brand Story is a tale of the customer’s transformation — not yours.

Step 7: Brand Personality

This is the part of the Brand Building process where you start planning the promotion of your brand.

Before you can start promoting your brand though, you need to give it a personality. Is your brand serious? Perhaps it’s fun and energetic?

The personality of your brand is dependent on your brand purpose, your target customers, and your industry. While you want your brand’s personality to stand out, it still needs to feel familiar and aligned with your customer’s expectations.

Personality Questionnaire

Here are some common personality questions you can answer to guide in developing your brand:

  • Formal or Informal?
  • Conventional or Quirky?
  • Calm or Energetic?
  • Stoic or Emotional?
  • Funny or Serious?
  • Neutral or Rebellious?
  • Technical or Casual?

The answers to these questions will form the personality of your brand. It’s important you carry this personality through all elements of your brand — from your logo to the way you handle customer service.

In the end, the most important part of your brand’s personality is to keep it consistent.

Next Steps: New Brand

Building a new brand is exciting! 

New brands = clean slate. You have the freedom to explore different ideas and visual styles without the worry of ruining your brand.

The downside though is it requires a lot of important decisions to be made. The decisions you’re making at this point will carry forward into your brand for years to come.

So, it’s important to know how to make the correct decisions.

Our Brand Building Next Steps for New Brands article will walk you through the process of those decisions.

Next Steps: Established Brand

Most companies start the brand building process a few years into their existence. So, if you’re in the same position it’s not a problem.

But, it does mean you need to do a little more work to make sure this entire process will actually work.

When you start the brand building process with an established brand, you can’t completely change your brand overnight. If you do you’ll confuse customers. And, when you confuse customers you’re going to lose business.

To start the process of reviewing your brand head over to our Brand Building Next Steps for Established Brands article.