The branding journey - a visual guide to building your brand

When you've got a great business idea, having a brand that lives up to your concept can be critical to it's success. Your brand is usually the first point of contact with your customers, so being able to communicate your vision is key a loyal following.

But how do you get a brand like that? And how do you know you will be communicating your vision to your customers effectively?

Getting your brand right can seem like a complicated process, but it doesn't have to be that way. Building a great brand is about asking the right questions at the start, and following through with the process from discovery and understanding, to building and maintaining your brand.

Here are the steps from idea to brand success, the straight forward way:

  1. Idea conception
  2. Brand naming
  3. Understand & define your brand
  4. Visual design
  5. Design Implementation
  6. Live & maintain

So, here's a break down of each step:

1. Idea conception

You have a great business idea, here you may want to work with a business advisor or start-up space to get valuable advice on idea validation, business planning, registering your company and carrying out initial market research etc.

If your solution is digital, you should start looking at how it will work by thinking about prototypes and Minimal Viable Product development.

For physical products and solutions you should start researching and developing your product.

Who can help? Business Advisors, Start-up Incubators.

2. Brand naming

With idea validation and research under your belt, both into your solution and the market you'll be operating in, you're in a good position to name your brand.

We have a Brand naming workbook that can help you develop a great name, and check that it is available (Naming PDF here). There are also naming agencies who can help you with this step.

Who can help? Creative Agencies, Naming Agencies.

3. Understand & define your brand

By this point, you probably have a lot of ideas formed about what your brand stands for and what it should look like. Turning your thoughts and ideas into actionable concepts is the next step. This is the strategy driving your brand - understanding the core foundation of what you are building (and why you are building it) gives your brand purpose. With an understanding of what drives your brand, you are able to build a consistent and powerful voice for it.

Who can help? Creative Agencies, Brand Designers / Brand Strategists.

4. Visual design

Branding is often associated with the visual design and the logo of the brand exclusively, but the visual design is just a small part of your brand as a big picture (see branding as an iceberg). Branding is built up by the experience you create with your product or service, and the way you deliver it as well as it's visual design.

The visual design (brand identity) part of your branding is more likely to align with your values if it is created after you understand what your brand stands for and who your customers are (i.e. the strategy in step 3).

Here, all of the knowledge on what your brand stands for at its core is used to create a fitting identity that will appeal to, and connect with your customers.

Who can help? Creative Agencies, Brand Designers.

5. Design implementation

Once you have established your brand identity, all of the other visuals such as your website, socials, physical location, product and packaging can be designed. This step is often done in tandem with the identity design.

You may need a brand designer or graphic designer, website designer and marketing specialists here.

Who can help? Creative Agencies, Brand / Graphic / Web Designers, Marketing Specialists.

6. Live!

Once your brand is live, you should continue to look back at your brand values and your initial vision, to make sure you are staying true to your original promise to your customers. Brand consistency is something that customers look for, so it's important to make sure you are supplying a reliable product and experience.

Maintain consistency in your core values, but don't get stuck in your ways! Over time, your brand can, and should, evolve to grow with your company flexibly.

The most important people here are you and your team. Make sure everyone understands the brand values and actively works to promote the brand experience your customers have come to know and love.

Who can help? Your team and Creative Agencies, Designers, Marketers and Strategists.

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I hope this article helped simplify the branding journey into digestible steps. For more in depth information about getting started with your branding (from who to hire, to the different aspects of the brand design), see this article: 4 things to know before beginning your branding journey.

Looking for more resources? Get the brand naming workbook on our resources page.