Standing out is actually the key to starting and sustaining a successful business amidst the ever-competitive market of today.
No matter what size your business is, or what kind of products and services you’re offering, you need to be instantly recognizable to your customers.
Branding gives you an identity amidst the crowd and makes it easy for target customers in need of your product or service to find and relate with you.
Now, there’s branding and then creative branding.
When it comes to creative branding, some amateurs may tell you that creative branding is just the exploration of creativity during the design of your professional brand logo, well that’s true, but it really is just a fraction of the concept of creative branding.
Creativity in branding goes far beyond design. It is not just the vital component in any modern marketing strategy, it is the vital ingredient within any institution that seeks to drive change by design-driven strategy.
In this Creative Branding guide, we’ll explore the concept of creative branding a little more, and then a step-by-step process to ensure premium creativity in all aspects of your branding process.
1. The Concept of “Creative Branding” vs “Branding”.
2. The Ultimate Creative Branding process:
- COMPETITION & MARKET RESEARCH
- VALUE PROPOSITION
- NAMING PROCESS
- PLANNING: COMMUNICATION STRATEGY
1. The Concept of “Creative Branding” vs “Branding”.
As stated in the introduction, Branding, and Creative Branding are two separate entities.
Branding is the process of creating a new identity for your business. It is how your customers recognize and experience your business.
Creating a logo, packaging, and messaging are used in some aspects of branding a business or product when talking about a specific product their store sells.
It simply involves the creation of a product under a particular name or establishment.
Creative branding on the other hand goes far beyond that. In simple terms, it is Branding with a spark of creativity.
It involves building an archetype with its own unique storyline and identity. It is solely not reliant on visual appeal but also on the emotional attachment it stirs within its target audience.
To put it into a set of defined words, Creative Branding is basically shaping and enhancing how the global audience perceives your company (by the exploration of creativity). It is the conscious decision to exert control over varying elements to achieve aesthetic excellence and psychological impact on consumers.
2. The Ultimate Creative Branding process:
There is a right approach to creative branding. Follow us closely as we explore this process together.
- THE BRIEF.
The first step to delivering unique products & services with creative branding is the development of a brief.
A Brief is a comprehensive report that defines a brand – company values, context, mission and vision, short- and long-term goals, competition, target audience, etc.
It serves as the communication guide for your brand and is key to validating all the ideas as the project goes on. It is also very useful to share with others in your team or an external agency involved in the business to make certain they are aligned with the brand goals.
When a brief is created, where your company's values, vision, mission, etc, will be clearly stated, it'll ensure all your product designs are tailored towards your company's specificity, this will make them unique in the market, and when your products are unique, customers can easily establish a specific emotional connection with your brand.
Once you have your brief created, the next step in the creative branding process is a thorough investigation of direct competitors and your target market.
- COMPETITION & MARKET RESEARCH.
"A greater understanding of your target market and competitors will allow you to create a brand unique to the marketplace and cater to consumers’ wants and desires."
Before you talk of delivering unique products or standing out amidst a crowded market, you should at least know how those you'll be competing against are faring and what they are currently doing. With that information, you can plan how and what to do differently.
To get a greater understanding of your competitors, you should carefully analyze key indicators like how their product design is, which fonts and colors are used, what kind of packaging they employ, if they have a website, and what they are trying to communicate, etc.
Answers to these key indicators will put you on the track to delivering unique products and services.
After you've gotten a comprehensive report on your competitors, you should work on your target market or target audience as well.
Once you have the right data analytics for your target audience, you'll find it very easy to tailor your product designs to meet their needs.
- VALUE PROPOSITION.
Staying relevant in the ever-competitive market of today requires you to offer something different and unique at the very least. And you can only offer something different and unique when you have your company's values clearly defined.
At this stage of the creative branding process, you must show potential customers that your brand solves their problems or fulfills their needs.
What you're doing at this stage of your creative branding process is picking the values that are most relevant to your brand, the values you would like to communicate, and the benefits and solutions your product or service offers.
You should provide answers to these questions:
- What’s the competitive advantage of my product? (You should note that you're not looking to compete on price but on value).
- What value and experience will customers enjoy when consuming your product? (You should think far and wide, then come up with the best of your product's values).
If you've got this aspect of your creative branding process properly aligned, you can move onto the creative branding stage where you craft out a name for your brand.
When it comes to crafting a name for your new brand, it’s necessary to brainstorm to find the perfect name that fits with the brand.
If you're confused about one, you can check out competitors and try working out something creative. And if you don't want to be bothered with that, you can hire professionals to help you out.
At this stage of the creative branding process also, you would be needing a tagline. A tagline is a catchphrase or a slogan used to communicate the unique value proposition of your brand or your products.
That short sentence is relevant, trustable, and should synthesize your brand’s main vision. The goal of a tagline is to leave customers with a lasting impression of your brand.
Here are some examples of popular brands and their taglines,
Apple's tagline: "Think Differently", Coca-Cola's tagline: "Taste the feeling"
- PLANNING: Communication Strategy.
After you've explored creativity and got your brand name, vision, tagline, and value proposition set, you can now move to the part where you create a plan to attract potential clients.
The goal here is to ensure we create a trustable brand so that people think of you when they are willing to consume products in your niche bracket (instead of thinking about their competitors).
How do we go about this aspect of creative branding?
What is needed in our communication strategy?
TONE & VOICE: This is where you define how your brand is going to communicate with its target audience.
Examples include Formality, emotional approach, humor, storytelling, etc.
COMMUNICATION CHANNELS: Here you define the contact points that will serve as a channel between your brand and your target audience, then you adopt a tone of voice for each one of them.
KEY MESSAGES: What words are you putting together to transmit the values of your brand?
MOOD BOARD: You can set up a mood board. This is basically a creative technique using a board on Pinterest to collect visual inspiration that will help you define a visual concept for the brand. This board includes images, textures, patterns, colors, typographies, etc.
Once all is ready, you can move on to the design phase of your creative branding process.
This is the stage where you tend to figure out how to create eye-catching visuals (be it a logo design, product design, or a website) that will serve as the face of your brand.
While exploring creativity with the design of your logo, product, or website, it is important also to ensure that the end product is something that people can easily remember and relate with. It should embody the entire personality of your brand and invoke specific emotions when your customers come across it anywhere.
The steps to creating great designs are Brainstorming, Defining the Product and its goal, User Research, Sketching, Prototyping, Design, and Testing.
You can apply these steps to the design process of your logo, product and website. It produces optimum results every time.
In a situation where you don’t do much designing, we’ll advise you to reach out to experts to ensure great output.
To wrap it all,
The rise of consumerism makes creative branding strategies inevitable.
The competition between a sea of brands offering similar services and merchandise would only mean survival of the fittest. Only products that have captured the hearts of consumers will make it into the market.
You only then capture the hearts of consumers when you explore creativity in your branding process.
Once the brand is created, all decisions will be aligned with that concept.
From there, you can explore creativity and come up with unique ideas to enhance your own product, services, and communications.
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