What's in a brand? Top tips for utilising your brand for your business growth

Christina’s most recent article on Branding and how to use it to grow your business has been published on the HSBC Knowledge Hub – you can read it here:
Brands are a whole lot more than just a logo and packaging design. The most powerful brands mean something to people. This meaning leads to customers repeatedly buying that brand, even when it might be more rational to choose a cheaper option. Creating this meaning is down to more than an attractive logo.
The first step is to accept that a brand is an impression that exists in your customer’s mind derived from how you look, what you say, what you stand for and how they are treated by your staff. You cannot necessarily control this; but you can influence it by ensuring that what you want your brand to stand for runs through your entire business so that it lives up to your customers’ aspirations.
What’s in a name?
Think about all the invented or partially invented words that are brand names – Google (derived from an obscure term for a very large number), Spotify, Kodak, Dreamworks, Pepsi, and so on. These names have all created very strong brand impressions in the minds of their customers.
But before each of these companies defined what they wanted to stand for and shared this ‘definition’, those words meant nothing. The best brand names tend to be punchy and memorable and not associated with anything else. Kodak founder George Eastman liked the letter K because he felt it was “decisive” and he felt his company name should be “short, easy to pronounce and not resemble any other name”.
Conduct a trade mark search to ensure your name is not already in use and you’ll also need to be sure that the internet domain name is free. IT’s also worth checking whether your chosen name has an alternative meaning in another language – remember the Vauxhall Nova, that was renamed because ‘Nova’ means ‘No go’ in Spanish?
Define your brand building blocks
To create effective brands, the work starts long before the creative people are let loose with their colouring pencils:

  • Identify what makes your brand different within the market, and define clearly what you deliver to your consumers.
  • Define your values and ethics – this is about clarifying what you believe in, what you will always do, and what you never do.
  • Think about the personality of your brand. The easiest way to do this is to imagine the brand as a person and describe that person. What are their qualities?

Breaking it down into these constituent parts enables you to identify what your brand is and what you want to mean. Then you can work on the words, behaviour and images that will portray this identity to your customers.
Bring it to life
The visual part of branding will follow, including the logo, colours, fonts, even the tone of voice you use to bring your personality to life. This is the artistic bit and requires a good brief for a designer that outlines what you want to mean, and to whom.
If you create strong enough visual codes, your customers will know it is you even when you play with your codes – like Google does with their daily doodles.
If you have a story, use it
Most entrepreneurial brands have one consistent thing – a powerful start-up story…
Read the rest on the HSBC Knowledge Hub here