One of the most valuable assets a company should strive to own is a well-known and loved brand, just like we all understand Apple to be Apple and Nike to be Nike. Brand is now more customer-centric and with 59% of customers (according to Nelson’s survey), who would rather buy products from brands that have been able to build and foster a community of people who trust them. It is important that businesses find a way to differentiate themselves from their competitors, while still building a solid brand that is uniquely theirs, that customers resonate with.
A brand is so much more than that nice logo and well-placed advertisement you have representing your business.
A brand is so much more than that nice logo and well-placed advertisement you have representing your business. From deciding on a business name to brand strategy to logo design, and the creation of branded materials, a brand must create experiences that meet its customers’ needs as well as its business goals. In case you are wondering why it’s important to start from the business name - For a brand, a name must leave a mark in the heart of a brand’s target audience in that it must be easy to remember, recognize and pronounce, and resonate with the target audience.
But what is a brand? According to Marty Neumeier, A brand is not a logo. A brand is not an identity. A brand is not a product. Neumeier goes on to say that “a brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization.” Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, has another definition - Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” To simply put it, your brand is your reputation, how your customers perceive you. In today’s fast-paced world, it is important to remain consistent as you carve out a brand image across all touchpoints - prints, signage, packaging, website etc.
To better describe how we became a top branding company, it’s best to share with you how we help businesses build their brands. Just so you know, branding is not simple and it doesn’t happen overnight. Branding is a well thought out process that begins with a well-executed brand strategy. At DODO, we always recommend businesses begin with a strategy, where do you see your brand in the next few years? What do stakeholders (both internal and external) think about the brand? What is a good position for the brand in the market, meaning what is the brand’s sweet spot, where it stands between uniquely satisfying customer needs and standing out from the competition? These are questions we ask as we help businesses build their brands with the goal of establishing lasting relationships with their customers, as well as long term success and equity.
Some of the steps we take are:
1. Research: Discovering and Understanding the purpose of your Brand
Every successful brand has a unique purpose they are built to fulfill, both to their target audience and general stakeholders. Through research, we establish your ‘why’ and ensure it’s clear to all, why you wake up every day to change the world through your product or service. When defining the purpose of a business, we look at the following questions:
a). Why does the business exist?
b). What differentiates our client’s business from others in that space?
c). What problem is our client solving for their target customers?
d). Why should anyone consider any of our client’s offerings
e). Who is the ideal customer for the business and how can the business uniquely serve them, if it's not doing so already?
Our discoveries from these questions help us understand our clients’ businesses and also informs our work on what direction to take when creating the brand’s tangible and intangible assets. This ensures that things like the brand story, the tagline, visuals and every other brand touchpoint distinguishes their brand from others and serves their target customers. As part of this stage, we also research other Brands within the Client’s Industry, we dig deep into the existence of our client’s business to discover why they exist and to ensure we are not caught in the web of imitating what our client’s competition is already churning out in the marketplace. We also try to get some learnings from them for instance, why did some fail? The goal here is to position our clients appropriately to their target audience over what’s out there already. This is a step we NEVER skip in our brand-building process.
Beyond looking at competitions, we also learn from big brands to discover what they are doing right. Our research ends with developing buyer persona(s), in order to ensure the brand we’re working on, has a final story that customers can relate to as they interact with the brand across all touchpoints.
2. Establish the brand story, value proposition, unique differentiation and positioning in the market.
As humans, we connect through shared experiences, and our stories reveal our uniqueness, values, and vulnerability. Hence a brand story is more effective when it’s relatable (read human and real) and well-thought out. An effective brand story should speak to the target customer’s beliefs and values, that way, not only does the brand story stay with them, they connect with it and buy into it. Customers want to feel like they’re purchasing products from a brand that can relate to their lifestyle and overall values and beliefs. To successfully connect and communicate with your target audience, you must speak to their emotions just as much, if not more than communicating the rational benefits of your brand.
You probably have seen how major companies develop a brand story that sticks with their business long term. Nike prides itself on producing quality activewear, yet quality aside, they have consistently told (and sold) a beautiful story that not only do we humans connect with, it also helps in motivating us to hit the gym whenever we feel like hitting the snooze button. The process of creating a brand story is very collaborative, we work with business owners to explore the values, passions and experiences that birthed their business, leveraging on those important factors to form a real and effective brand story.
With the buyer’s persona, we are able to create a value proposition that speaks to the client's target audience. The buyer’s persona is a great way of defining your target audience and highlights the ways you can meet their needs. You need to carve your niche and define the exact value your target audience gets from patronizing your brand. In brand-building, this helps us get specific, with the mission to figure out detailed behaviors and lifestyles of our client’s target audience. A few things we note when creating a buyer persona - Age, gender, location, income, etc. For in-depth information about them, we dive into what their motivations are, brand affinities, pain points, goals, etc. Identifying your audience is one huge step to building a successful brand.
3. Creation of tangible assets such as logo, images mood board.
To simply put, it would be a bit off and odd to connect with a warm voice on Instagram and then visit a website that’s cold and impersonal? Customers would be confused by that kind of switch, and confusion fuels brand abandonment. In creating brand assets, we think about the voice you use every day, how you use them, images and how you use them, colors and fonts you find appealing - all of these are considered when we create tangible assets with the end goal of having visual guidelines that will instruct all aspects of your brand’s communication.
Usually, people don’t consider logo design as a major part of a branding project but that’s not the case. Though it is in many cases, the face of a brand, it is just a part (though an essential part of it). Because a logo is such an essential and customer-facing part of a brand, it must be well executed. Your logo will stare back at your customers from your website, your packaging, and your business cards. Great, professional logo design not only has the power to communicate what you stand for. It also makes a good first impression and helps you stand out from the competition.
Moving on, we sometimes create a mood board, this is for cases when clients aren’t sure how to communicate their brand to us and for when we must align with clients. To create moodboards, we ask questions like - does the brand love nature? Is it Afrocentric? Do you use emojis or GIFs, or both? And the list goes on. We look at your customer’s profile, including demographic and psychographic information to help visualize key elements of your brand’s personality in a mood board. Usually, there is an interconnected relationship and journey between elements, like images, colors, quotes and other things that inspire you and connect directly with your brand personality which are best visualized in a mood board. All of these tangible assets are what we consider in shaping the brand of a company
Overall, when building brands, we consider them sacred and ensure your brand story and message is unique, undiluted, and last but not certainly not least, visually appealing!
Also check out our previous blog post on: Why FMCG brands in Nigeria Struggle and How You Can Overcome it.