Brand Development can be described as the entire branding process from conceptualizing a product or service to executing the delivery of the offering. In order to complete this process accurately, you’ll need to prepare your brand from finding an offering to advertising methods and platforms. By foreseeing into the future of a fully operating company, you’ll be able to bulletproof your brand early on in the process.
While there is no perfect order in developing a brand, we've ordered the process according to what we've seen thrive. Using a baking analogy to (hopefully) make this more memorable for you, we've concocted a recipe for Brand Development that satiates the consumer taste bud:
Possibly one of the most important steps is conceptualizing the product or service you would like to offer. How is this product different than the current market? What makes your product/service better than similar products? Will it be it's ease of use? Affordability? Compatibility with existing products? The key is to ask yourself these questions and criticize your offering until you've found the solid necessity and appeal for your product/service. This is what we mean by pouring yourself into your product - it should be a somewhat exhausting process, but once you've poured your passion, time and energy into what you believe to be ground breaking, it gets easier. Don't be discouraged by this step - it often takes the longest, and may require you to backtrack back to this step as you go further into the process.
Now that you know what you'd like to sell, you'll have to discover your why. According to Simon Sinek in his TED Talk "How Great Leaders Inspire Action", people do not buy into the what of your company, they buy into the why. In order to find the driving motivation as to why you'd like to release your product or service, you'll have to peel back all the reasons to launch your offering, and think about who you're trying to help. Is your mission to administer your service within 12 hours? Is it a product only sourced from local, ethical materials? You're why has to do with who you're helping and what you're passionate about (Pro-tip: making money is NOT a why).
Once you have your product/service and know why you wish to offer it, you'll need to find out who your product is for. Chances are you've already created your product with a specific type of customer in mind, but this time you'll be thinking of as many possible customers as you can. Think of separating your customers like egg whites and yolks - think of your immediate, intended customers as yolks, and other unforeseen customers as whites. It's important to acknowledge that your offering may appeal to people you haven’t accounted for, and once your product is launched, it'll be key for you to circle back and get to know the different types of customers and why they're interested (see below for our related article on Buyer Profiles and Personas). Separating your yolks and whites will be crucial later on in how you advertise and reach each customer segment, however, it's important to consider your customers from now in order to build your brand in a way that best appeals to your consumers.
You've found your product, you've found your customers, and now you need to find out what makes your brand extra special. Here's where you add more value to your offering. By creating a value proposition, you'll promise your customers to fulfill your mission, and to deliver it in a unique way. While your value proposition can be heavily connected to your why, it can also be a form of unique execution. You'll want something different about your product or the way you offer it as a way to attract customers. For example, consider stores with living areas to sit, study and converse, or stores that serve champagne. These are examples of brands that have added extra value to the customer experience. Knowing your customers will make it easier to find an interesting way to execute your product or service.
We can not stress enough - blend your channels!! The world is currently in the age of omni-channel brands, and customers can be turned off if you limit yourself to just one platform. You've probably heard a friend complain about not being able to try clothes on when online shopping, but you've probably also heard that same friend complain about not being able to check the website first before visiting a store. Using just e-commerce or just brick-and-mortar will not be enough for customers in 2019. With integrated technology, customers place high value on innovative websites, but at the end of the day, the face-to-face service offers customers with an experience, which is what you'll find some customers prefer. At the same time, you'll want to consider what social media and advertising channels to use for your offering before it's launched. This way you'll get time to consider if you can sustain content on social media before throwing yourself straight into the brunt of it. Regardless of where and how you choose to deliver your brand, ensure that all platforms are working together to operate in harmony.
Once you've found a product and have verified your mission statement, it's finally time to name your creation. While there's a common misconception that naming comes right after conceptualizing the product, it's crucial to know your customers and your mission statement first before deciding on a final name. This way, you'll know what language is appropriate for your audience, and what type of emotional points to include in your name. For example, using trendy language may appeal to a younger demographic, while eloquent language may appeal to an older audience. Although language may not matter as much in the name, it's important to secure a consistent and appropriate voice when creating slogans, taglines and other ad copy. Your name should be catchy, memorable and relevant while somehow explaining your offering.
By a label, we mean a logo - think of this as a way to classify your brand (this is the divider that separates your recipe from other recipes in the book). While it can be tempting to create a logo that is wildly artistic, don't forget to link your logo back to what you do in some creative way. Your logo should be a visual summary of your product/service, as well as what your brand is all about. The key is to create a logo that explains all the key points about your company into one.
The last and most important step in the recipe for successful brand development is creating a long-term business plan. This is the icing on the cupcake, and will be the cherry to top you product/service. Before your brand is even launched, you should be considering where you picture your brand 10 years from now. The best way to achieve this is to brainstorm complementary products that can consumed with your original offering. This can be add-ons, upgrades, different lines of the same product/offering or new releases meant to complement your first offering. For an instance let’s use Kraft. Kraft is well known (and loved) for their easy-prep mac and cheese, but for customers who may opt for real cheese over the mix, Kraft offers a cheese line that can be used together with the macaroni. Brands who fail to upgrade their offering are the first to fall behind their competitors. Doing this step before releasing your product/service gives you insight into the potential lifespan of your brand and the efforts it will take to increase the longevity of your brand. The cost-analysis mentality of this step will let you know whether releasing your brand will be worth it.
While this is a very simple explanation to brand development, these are the key points brand developers should be prepared to complete before launching a brand. This process can be used for existing brands looking to do a re-brand, or brands who may have missed certain steps in the process before hand. Once you've launched your brand, make sure to look back at each of these steps and tweak them accordingly. You may want to match your expectations to your results and see if your brand has stayed true to your fundamental building blocks.
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Disclaimer: By no means is this the be-all-end-all order, as your circumstances may vary according to a case-by-case basis.