We’ve been talking about branding a lot lately: “the power of branding”, “the resilience of branding”, etc.
Table of content
You’ll find in this article
- What we mean by “brand” or “branding” (and no, it’s not just the logo!)
- The right questions to ask yourself when building your brand
- How Jung’s archetypes have been adapted to brands
- Common mistakes to avoid
What brand means
The “brand” is everything that the name or a symbol of the brand will evoke in the mind of the customer or consumer.
It is of course all the incarnations of the brand: the name, the symbol, the logo, the font, the signature, the emblem… but it is not only the visual, sound or even olfactory identity (because that also exists).
Beyond these triggers that must be associated with the product and service, branding is in fact the association of these “triggers”, these embodiments that we have just listed, with a deeper identity. What does it remind you of? What is the “brand” associated with? The values, the personality, the positioning, the perceived quality, in short, the place it occupies in the mind of the consumer.
It is therefore essential.
Before embarking on a naming or a logo, the first step of a branding work is to know what is the mental image I want my brand to evoke.
The steps of brand building
As you can see, building a brand is not just a matter of choosing a name and a logo… So what do we need first?
The first step : the why
Because rebranding is complex, risky, and often expensive, it is best to define it well the first time. To do this, the why of the company, the vision of the founder is important.
To define your brand’s purpose, look ahead 5 years. Then 10 years. Then 20 years.
Can’t figure it out? Your why is not clear.
The corollaries of the why are the what and the how. The how in particular is very important because it normally carries the axes of differentiation. There may be competitors (or alternatives), the how will allow us to differentiate ourselves, it has to be unique.
Once we have the what, how, why, we ask ourselves the question of values.
Values are the cream pie of every company. Please, don’t choose excellence, benevolence, or innovation…
These values (3 to 5 maximum) must be felt at each point of contact with your customers, at each line of copy on your site, at each answer written in an FAQ, at each design element of your SaaS… and therefore do not need to be written or communicated externally.
Internally, they are built as a team, and absolutely must serve the why.
Once you have the why, the how, the what and the values, you can ask yourself who you are doing this for…
The “ideal customer”‘s journey
Whether you call them a target or a persona (I’m not a fan of the term), you have to identify for which people you are solving which problems.
Not the socio-demographic criteria (or firmographic in the case of a B2B customer), but first of all who is in pain, at what point they realize they are in pain, what state they will be in once they are no longer in pain, what alternatives they have available to take away this pain, what clichés they have about this typology of solutions or even the alternatives on the market, and in the category to which my solution belongs, who is the “monster”, the villain of the story? This is the first axis of differentiation.
You must therefore list the answers to these questions to arrive at your Minimum Viable Audience (as Seth Godin calls it).
- For whom?
- To treat what pain? To solve which problem?
- To achieve what transformation / what state afterwards?
- In the face of which alternatives (and not only competitors!)?
- Which clichés on the subject?
- Which monsters should I fight in my category of alternatives?
The alternative concept
Even if you’re convinced that you’re so disruptive that you have no competition, you do. If there’s a problem, there’s bound to be a solution. Maybe not as elegant, fast, or cheap as yours, but there is.
Doing it by hand, in no-code, on Excel… these are not direct competitors, but they are alternatives.
How to list the alternatives ? By thinking “Job To Be Done“. Forget about the technical features of the product, but project yourself in the problem that the solution solves.
Listing the alternatives, and the clichés and monsters, means already starting to work on the marketing insights to provide to the copywriter: the famous customer benefits. You’ve already seen landing page subtitles that say “in less than 10 minutes”, or “without spending 10 hours on an Excel file”. That’s what I’m talking about.
The 12 brand archetypes
If you want to go further in the definition of the brand, you can, once the above elements are defined, go as far as choosing the brand archetype that fits you.
- Leave your mark
- Provide structure
- Explore spirituality
For each pillar, there are 3 brand archetypes.
For example, Harley Davidson or Diesel are brands of the Rebel archetype, in the Leave Your Mark pillar. Apple and Lego are of the Creator archetype in the Provide Structure pillar. Google is of the Sage archetype in the Explore Spirituality pillar.
I’m thinking of doing a full article on the 12 brand archetypes, so don’t hesitate to subscribe to my newsletter to be notified when it’s published!
The common mistakes
The first mistake you should not make is to start with the tip of the iceberg (namely graphic design). The second is to listen to all the opinions on this part. Because everyone has an opinion on the colors, the logo… But it’s a job!
Another common mistake is not defining tone of voice. Yet, it’s a real accelerator of coherence, and it’s the key to allowing you to delegate writing internally or externally. To get started, start with the obvious questions: Mr/Mrs or first name? Will you use familiar words? Will you be didactic or knowledgeable? Beyond reflecting values, the tone will inform all future copy.
Among these writings, please don’t neglect the storytelling of the adventure: what links the founders to the problem that their solution solves.
That’s a wrap !
Defining your brand means knowing which direction not to take. It’s having the filter to eliminate when making choices. Whether it’s a backlog prioritization, a font, or the closing of a partnership deal…
- Define your why (and the companions what and how)
- Define your values (without proclaiming them loudly)
- Define for whom and to solve what problem
- Think Job To Be Done and not direct competition
The brand is at the center – and the origin of everything.
To put the elements of the brand together, one can (and should) call upon professionals, but the writing of a good brief for an AD, or for a naming agency, or for a copywriter, must stem from the vision of the founders.