What do I need to consider when building a brand?

What do I need to consider when building a brand?

Looking at building a brand, or giving your small business a makeover? Edward Fraser of digital content marketing agency the tree looks at how to go about defining and implementing your brand...

If you are ever in Soho, you must drop in to Pit Cue. It is a tiny bricks-and-mortar restaurant that has matured from a cult food truck to a fully-evolved brand.

Founded by distinctive chefs with a farmhouse eye for rare breed livestock and lesser-known cuts of meat, they have real clarity of their concept. The business is small; the impression is big. 

Pit Cue sparks out-of-the-door queues. Its cookery book is a best-seller among butchers and foodies alike and the owners have just built a brewery.   

This represents the potential of a brand. While developing a brand is an intimidating process, a well-crafted small business brand can achieve things way beyond the given potential of the business.

A remarkable small business leaves its staff, suppliers and customers with an afterglow, something that feels organic and provides a new dimension of interest outside its core products and services.    

At Pit Cue, rather than eating at a restaurant, you feel like you have been accepted into the upper echelons of a food movement.  

So how could your small business replicate the success of Pit Cue and stand out from the crowd? Here are a couple of tips...

 

Define your brand

Branding is often labelled as a woolly service. Admittedly, it is a bit soft. Many marketing activities can be judged on what has been created or resulting figures.

A brand, on the other hand, is a mix of thoughts and feelings. It is the impression you want to give. This in itself makes it a difficult thing to understand and cultivate. 

That said, after interrogating and rebranding many small businesses over the last few years - and directing a small business myself - I understand the value of branding.  

Often it’s good practice to start by working backwards. Ask yourself how you want people to perceive your business, then break down the fabric of what you already have to find the attributes that may give your desired perception. Look at how other powerful small brands are perceived and apply this logic.  

I suspect that, during its record breaking £20m crowdfunding push, cost-cutting app Revolut wanted to be seen as fresh and innovative brand in order to excite the crowd. As a result, they put their sub-30 founders and sharp FinTech user-interface at the forefront of the raise. The result was a smash. People bought into the young founders and their exciting ideas, not just the app.

 

Implementing your brand

Your brand is your business. It isn’t your logo. Your visual identity adds to it, but when rebranding or starting a brand it’s important to think of the process as a complete set of activities, otherwise you run the risk of building something without meaning.

By setting your brand, you are implementing a set of guiding principles by which your business is run, creating a consistent, reinforced and measurable approach to growth. It makes future marketing decisions easy – “if it fits the brand, it works.”

When implementing a brand to this extent, the customer is not first. To start you must motivate your staff to communicate the brand, starting with key stakeholders then working it through the rest of the team. Brand days, including presentations and activities, work for most businesses. Interim competitions and initiatives for brand-related achievements also help to sustain what you’ve created.

Also, marketing people aren’t the best brand advocates. Some of the world’s largest service providers pick natural leaders and allow them to carry the flag. They involve them in the from the outset so they have a vested interest in making the process work, allowing them to influence the rest of the team.

 

Here, we’ve only skimmed the surface. Branding is not a simple process but by using a strategic approach you can take an idea and create a business.

If you already have a business, you can restructure you brand in a way that improves every single part of your offering. It gives you that potential.