Tips for Building and Optimizing a Brand Design
If you own a small business or if you’re trying to promote your personal brand then knowing how to cultivate and optimize your brand is an essential part of growing your business. In this blog, we’ll cover a few main components of brand building, where to get started, and how to track brand success. We’ll cover:
- Value Propositions
- Target Markets
- Brand Voice
- Color Choices
- Font Choices
- Brand Testing and Optimization
Where to Start
But before we jump into aspects like color, font, and voice, let’s define two major points: value proposition and target market. Understanding these concepts will establish guardrails for your brand and ensure that you’ve given ample thought to your customers and your business.
What is your unique value proposition?
A unique value proposition is like a guiding light for your brand. Defining your unique value proposition will force you to think about how you are different from your competitors. In essence, this proposition should define who you are and what you do for your target market. There are several ways to write a unique value proposition.
Here are some formulas you can use to define yours:
[What you do] + [what makes you unique] + [Geographic reach]
Ex. An interior design firm specializing in the Maximalism design style serving the Bay Area.
Promise to your consumer
[End result the customer wants] + [Specific period of time] + [Address objections]
Ex. We'll find your dream home in less than 30 days, or we'll take 20% percent off our commission fees.
[What something is] + [What something does]
Ex. An annual plumbing subscription for rental agencies that promises 24/7 access to our fleet of plumbers 365 days a year.
Traditional Positioning Statement
Among [target market], [x] is the brand of [frame of reference], that [point of difference] because [reason to believe].
Ex. Among rock climbers, Climbing Turtle is the brand of climbing harnesses that offer the most protection because each harness is reinforced with Dyneema® fabric.
Evaluating your Position Statement
Here are some important questions to ask when evaluating your positioning statement:
- Is it relevant – Do customers care?
- Is it easy to understand – Will customers get it?
- Will customers think it's credible – Will customers believe it?
- Is it unique – From your customers' viewpoint, does it set us apart from the competition in a meaningful way?
- Is it attainable – Can we deliver? Are our claims consistent with our performance?
- Is it sustainable – Can the position be maintained over time?
Who is your target market?
Choosing a target market is crucial to setting your brand up for success. But failing to properly segment your target market can lead to brand dilution, resulting in inferior products or services.
A target market is a group of potential customers with defined similarities that the company wants to sell to.
For example, a computer manufacturer might target a broad market of laptop computer users. But they would segment this market into homogeneous groups of customers who will respond to a marketing mix in similar ways. For example, these target markets might be gamers, casual users, office workers, and students–each group with its own needs. And these needs will drive your product features.
This is a very simple example, but it helps to illustrate an important point about target markets–while your product may have a large swath of potential customers, it’s best to segment that market into approachable groups that align with your product and brand.
Evaluating your Target Market
This step requires some research. You’ll need to interview individuals in your target market. Put yourself in your customers' shoes and start listing questions to evaluate your customers' interests. For example, if you’re building a personal brand as a Youtube influencer that makes video reviews for collectible sneakers, you might ask:
- What brands of sneaker reviews would you like to see?
- What aspects of sneakers, like price, rarity, and style, are important to you?
- Where else do you go to get information about your sneaker collection hobby?
- What style of voice, and communication do you resonate with? More informal, more masculine, etc?
The brand voice is the personality of your brand. It’s how you communicate, and sometimes, it’s a literal representation of your brand, like Flo from Progressive. Choose a brand voice that matches your customer.
If you need inspiration, look up your favorite company’s brand guidelines document and search for their brand voice. Here are a few examples.
The Uber brand voice is considerate, simple, bold and consistent.
The Coca-Cola voice is positive, friendly, and down-to-earth.
When you think of Ferrari, you probably think of a beautiful red sports car. But do you know why red became Ferrari’s unofficial color? In the European racing circuit, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) had a rule that race cars needed to be painted according to their country’s color code: green for England, blue for France, and Red…for Italy. Thus, Ferrari painted their first race car red even though Yellow was the dominant color in their logo, followed by black. The logo is composed of a black prancing horse, which was a symbol of luck, and a bold yellow background to represent the city of Modena. The point is, color can have an abundance of meaning. Some colors tell a story, and some colors emit a feeling. And some colors, as in Ferrari’s case, are chosen for you.
Here are some common color meanings used by brands when choosing a color pallet:
Blacks and Greys: these colors are often used to represent brands of luxury. If your brand is looking to be more prestigious or where quality is more important than price, this might be the color for you.
Red and Orange: these colors communicate energy and enthusiasm. Red specifically demands attention. If your brand tone aims to be the life of the party, these are great colors to consider. However, it's important to note that red can also imply danger and warning. Therefore, use this color with consideration to your industry.
Green: is your brand health, environment, or goodwill focused? If yes, then green is the color for you. Green is a go-to color for brands that hope to put humans and the environment first. It also communicates relaxation and feelings of trust and tranquility.
Blue: need a safe option? Blue is the universal color of trust and security. It's used heavily by engineering, pharmaceuticals, technology, and manufacturing companies where quality and trust are of utmost importance.
Purple: have you ever heard that "purple doesn't exist?" Purple is an interesting color because it's a color that our brains interpret when blues and reds are blended. Technically, purple is not a spectral color, as opposed to violet, which is a spectral color, meaning our brains perceive it through a single wavelength of light. Purple is often associated with royalty, power, and ambition. Purple was once the rarest pigment, reserving its use to the royal and religious elite. For what it’s worth, my favorite color is purple. 🤓
Choosing a font can be an exciting, yet overwhelming endeavor. Like all brand choices, start by thinking about your customers. What fonts would they use? Does your brand voice speak in a lighter, more playful font like Helvetica, or a serious and formal font like Georgia?
For new brands, a good rule of thumb is to start with a single functional font that works well in both print and on the web. No matter what font you chose, make sure it is easy to read. Using two fonts in a single design is hard to pull off. But if you’re committed to the idea of two fonts, try pairing a Serif with a Sans Serif font.
A Serif font, like Times New Roman, uses decorative strokes at the ends and corners of letters, whereas a Sans Serif font, like Helvetica, is absent of these strokes. Generally, Serif fonts are preferred for long-form copy, whereas Sans Serif is preferred for shorter copy, like a headline or advertisement.
When selecting fonts, consider the following characteristics:
- Stylistic Tone (playful versus serious)
- Serif vs Sans Serif
- Contrast options (does the font include various weights)
Once you have a few fonts selected, test each font in a document using various Header sizes, blocks of copy, and calls to action. You need to make sure the font choice looks when paired with your logo and colors.
A Note About Translation
For brands that scale quickly, choosing the wrong font can be a costly mistake. That’s because not all fonts scale well across different languages. Fonts like Myriad Pro and Google’s Noto Sans are well equipped to handle just about every language. If your brand develops mountains of content that require translation, you’ll sleep a little better knowing that your font will remain on-brand when translated to a character-based language like Mandarin, or a Cyrillic-based language, like Russian.
Testing and Optimizing your Brand with Stagger
Now that you have a brand vision, it’s time to test how your brand resonates with customers. First, start by creating and sharing content using your new brand. Use our campaign workbook guide to walk you through the steps of launching your first content campaign.
Then use Stagger’s design platform, which combines drag-and-drop design, analytics, and professional templates to help tell your story across every digital and social channel.
The Stagger design platform provides features like a brand scrapper that allows users to build a brand library based on your website. See how it works below:
Stagger collects key data points from your brand, then auto-generates creative assets on performance, not preference. The more you use Stagger, the more you can fine-tune your brand look and feel.
Get started with Stagger today by clicking here.