Building a successful brand takes a lot of time, energy and patience. There’s no denying that it can be a long process — but building a brand can also be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do.
At LBD Studio, we help ambitious business owners create brands that are creatively unique and strategically sound. To help simplify the process, we’ve created a short ‘how to build a brand’ guide along with a range of supporting articles. These are designed to explain every corner of our business clearly, from brand strategy and visual identity design to specific print and digital materials. We hope you find this section helpful and that it will empower you to make positive, informed decisions about how you position and market your business.
What's in this guide?
The articles shown below include learnings from our daily practice, bringing together design theory with examples from real-world projects. We’ve chosen these topics as they broadly reflect the type of work we specialise in — our ambition is to expand upon these over time, so please check back regularly. If you are interested in discussing how we can help develop your brand, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Introduction: What does 'brand' really mean?
Before we get started, it is probably helpful to clarify what a brand is. In its simplest terms, a ‘brand’ is an accumulation of perceptions. These perceptions come from both internal and external audiences, and it is essential to note that not all of these can be easily controlled.
For most businesses, these ‘brand perceptions’ will include a mixture of logical and emotional attributes such as a sense of value, trust, originality and fun. Brand messaging and branded materials can directly influence these opinions, helping consumers form opinions based on how the business looks, speaks, and acts. Together, these opinions form a kind of collective perception of the business. Over time, this becomes the company brand.
It is also essential to clarify what a brand is not. It is not simply a logo, a slogan or a set of colours. While these can be crucial tools in building a brand, they are almost useless on their own. It is also not a single message or campaign.
A successful brand will utilise all the available tools to build and manage a reputation. This process is called ‘branding’ and is essentially the set of actions taken to help guide these perceptions, focusing the minds of customers and clients on the messages that the company in question deem most important.
Many businesses suffer from simple miscommunication. This can result from a lack of brand planning. When no authentic brand exists, consumers will actively fill in the gaps as best they can, drawing conclusions and forming opinions that are often wrong or damaging. This leads us to the first step in building a successful brand; developing an actionable brand strategy.
Every strong brand needs a plan. The first step in our ‘how to build a brand’ guide is probably the most important. This section will explain how to set the foundations for businesses to build all branded marketing and advertising campaigns.
We often use the analogy of building a house. You would never construct a home without an architects plan — the same logic applies when building a brand. A brand strategy essentially acts as a blueprint for how a business is positioned, communicated, and (hopefully) understood by customers.
When aiming to build a successful brand, we always recommend first considering a strategic audit. The audit process will look at the different areas in which a business operates, finding strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to help reshape the brand. It will also define what is achievable, what has been accomplished by other companies and what activities should be avoided.
For more information on brand strategy, please read the detailed articles below.
We almost always produce a brand strategy during the initial stages of the branding process. The workflow itself does not have a specific pre-defined formula. However, it does usually feature some of the following methods, workshops and activities:
The next step in building a brand is to create a unique brand identity that your audience will understand and remember. A brand identity is the assets developed to help form a brand image — elements such as a logo, colour palette and tone of voice. These are then collected into a brand guidelines document to be used consistently across print, digital and experiential materials.
Please see the article below or continue scrolling to explore the various elements that make up a brand image for an introduction to brand identity design.
Businesses can use print design to bring the brand identity elements to life. For example, a company that produces a product like a whisky or perfume should consider how its packaging is constructed and made, as this will significantly impact brand perception. Cheap materials and poor use of design will create a poor opinion and lead to negative brand perceptions. Conversely, quality materials and appropriate design detailing will make a positive brand image that consumers will remember.
This logic applies across all printed material. The tangible nature of print means that tactile materials and finishes can create a sense of luxury. The right choice of paper, for example, will signify how your brand feels about itself and how it wants its customers to perceive it.
For an introduction to print design, please see the article below or continue scrolling to explore specific areas of print design.
Digital design is another essential step in creating a successful brand.
As step 4 in our ‘how to build a brand’ guide, this is one of the later phases of the journey, and we recommend forming a robust brand strategy and brand identity before commissioning a website or app. Unfortunately, creating a website without a clear brand position can quickly become an expensive exercise — most credible agencies will require an understanding of a brand before beginning any digital work. Again, this takes us back to our house-building analogy — without a clear strategy, a website will be unlikely to succeed in building a positive brand perception.
Please see the article below or continue scrolling to explore digital assets for an introduction to digital design.
The final step in our ‘how to build a brand’ guide is to produce meaningful branded content. Brands should always use content creation in conjunction with a robust brand strategy — this will ensure that everything remains on message and helps set the right tone.
Original branded content is a fantastic way to keep people engaged, challenge perceptions and build strong customer relationships. Content can range from brand films and campaign advertising to more specific tools like photography, illustration and copywriting. Please read the article below or continue scrolling to learn about the fundamental building blocks of content creation.
We hope this ‘how to build a brand’ guide has been informative.
As mentioned at the beginning, a successful brand takes a lot of time, energy and patience. We hope you have learned something about the various steps in the process and how to use them.
As a responsible strategic brand consultancy, we help our clients to build their brands sustainably. We place a lot of value on transparency and ethical design and are members of the Good Business Charter and signatories of the Conscious Ad Network.
If you are interested in discussing how to help develop your brand, please get in touch at email@example.com.