How to Build a Brand

Your brand is your reputation, and a powerful brand opens all doors. Here are 3 parts to building a stronger brand your customers will love.

August 31, 2023

As a business, you are what your brand says you are.

Your reputation precedes you; it tells potential customers who you are, what you’re about, and - most importantly - what you can do for them.

A strong brand opens doors. A weak - or heaven forbid, negative - one will keep them closed shut. 

Fortunately, your company’s reputation is within your control. Branding is the process by which we shape how we’d like ourselves to be perceived, by putting our best possible business selves forward.

We can’t control what consumers ultimately believe. But as Electromagnetic media director, partner, and resident Tetris dominator Randy Webb explains, with the right branding mindset and know-how, you can influence consumers far more than you think - and for good.

Crafting a Cohesive Narrative

At the heart of a brand is the message the brand wants to communicate: the really important things you want a consumer to know.

This intersection between branding and messaging is incredibly important - and you can’t really have one without the other. Says Randy: “Great messaging with bad branding? People may not read or listen. Great branding with bad messaging? You might capture their interest for a second, but you won’t hold it.”

What makes for a strong narrative? In general, a business should:

Those steps are in order of importance. Consumers do care mainly about what’s in it for them, but they won’t really believe you can best fill that need unless your narrative is credible and cohesive, i.e. you connect the how back to what and the what back to why.

You get bonus points if your why is personally appealing and provides meaning and relevance to the customer’s interaction with you.

Don’t forget to ensure that the narrative is consistent, too. As Danny says about branding and messaging, “Both have to be strong and consistent throughout your marketing efforts.” Repetition breeds familiarity, and familiarity breeds money. (What, you thought it grew on trees?)


Telling Authentic Stories People Want to Hear

People love a good story. 

A story takes a narrative and adds a character (your brand) who is undergoing a journey to save the fair maiden in the tower from the fiery red dragon. Except in this story, the person being rescued is your customer, and the fiery red dragon is whatever pain they’re wrestling with. (Which may be an actual fiery red dragon.)

Storytelling is how you craft and spin a winning yarn people want to be a part of.

“Marketing is nothing but storytelling,” Randy says. “If your story is authentic and told well, the people who resonate with it become fans. What those fans say to everyone else is your brand.”

How do you evoke genuine connections and inspire loyalty? A few principles:

Through good and bad, a trustworthy story will carry a brand, especially if you remember that each of your customers is in their own story, with their own trials and travails. If they can trust your tale, they’ll include you in theirs.

Building a Picture-Perfect Brand

Of course, branding isn’t just about words. It’s also about how well your company is recognized visually in the world.

Imagery is incredibly important. People who may not know much at all about a brand will nevertheless gravitate toward it if they remember something about the brand’s logo, or color, or theme, or signage, or any other symbol connected with the brand.

(People can recognize the brand even if the logo is incomplete. Try this quiz to see for yourself.)

It’s better if the visual and verbal go hand in hand, though: “Every visual you create or use should support the message,” says Danny. “The messaging is the cornerstone and the branding is the style of the architecture. If your identity is Mad Magazine, but your design aesthetic is The New York Times, your target audience might not ever open the cover.”

The secret weapon to ensuring consistency and congruity between your brand and your message is with a branding & messaging guide. “A good guide will keep you consistent, and consistency is king,” says Danny. “It will take the guesswork out of your marketing efforts, it will keep you out of trouble, and it will make you more efficient.”

To help maintain consistency, Danny advises you to keep it simple. “Simple color schemes. Simple logos and Icons. The easier it is for someone who sees your branding to take it in, the better. Think Apple, Adidas, and Target.”

One thing to note when creating your visual identity: don’t pursue fleeing trends. Just like a lot of parents shouldn’t have named their daughters Khaleesi until they finished watching season 8 of Game of Thrones, brands shouldn’t spend time and money creating logos and themes and messages focused on trends that can disappear virtually overnight.

“Trends are important to watch and understand, but don’t bend your branding to meet them,” says Danny. “Bend the trends to align with your overall brand strategy. If you get creative, you can improve them and tap into their power or even better yet, become a trendsetter.”

At the end of the day, marketing is telling a story that influences what your customers think and feel about you. Branding is how we get better at telling that story. 

We can’t control what people think, ultimately. Danny’s job would be a lot easier if we could. But how we tell our story and communicate our message and value is within our power - and with the right brand, even a fiery red dragon won’t get in our way.

Contact us to start building your brand today! 

SK Vaughn

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