Brand building: 6 tips for creating a rock-solid brand

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Chantelle Little
February 14, 2022
8 min read
Blocks spelling out the word brand

So, you have a great product. And if you can just get customers to give it a shot, you know they’ll love it forever.

How are you going to attract and engage them? Yes, you need effective marketing campaigns, intuitive product design, and the right features. But your brand plays a critical role in helping you stand out in a crowded market.

Seth Godin quoteAnd the software market is crowded. From 2020 to 2021 alone, the SaaS market is expected to grow by nearly 21% – and then keep growing:

  • 2020 – $225.6B
  • 2021 – $272.5B
  • 2025 – $436.9B

The SaaS (software as a service) market is rich with opportunity. But also competition. New solutions are popping up every day, and it’s never been more important to differentiate your company through branding.

The basics: what is a brand?

Your brand is much more than your company logo. In fact, it isn’t one tangible thing. It’s what you say, how you say it, and how people perceive you. It encompasses every touchpoint that a customer has with your business.

Strong brands are the foundation for business success

Seth Godin quote about brand

By strong, we mean strategically-crafted, resilient, long-lasting, and valuable. Nike, Apple, and Slack are classic examples of strong brands (just to name a few).

Strong brands build brand equity which positively influences the valuation of your brand. Let’s break this down further:

  • Brand equity is customer-driven. You earn brand equity when a customer is willing to pay a higher price for your product over a less-expensive, more generic product. Customers are willing to pay more to do business with your brand because they know and trust your name.
  • Brand value is finance-driven. It is essentially the sum total worth of your brand. You might think about this as how much it would cost to recreate it from scratch. Or how much an acquiring company would pay for the right to use your brand (name, logo, visual identity, etc.).

Simply put, the more customers are willing to pay for your brand (brand equity), the more your brand is worth (brand value). And if you’re going to drive up brand equity and value, you’re going to need a rock-solid brand that customers love.

6 tips for building a rock-solid brand

There are many facets of brand building. This isn’t intended to be a step-by-step guide, but rather to give you a few helpful brand building tips.

1. Learn the basics of branding

Whether you’re starting a business or rebranding a long-standing company, it’s helpful to understand the foundational principles of branding. Over the years we’ve found a few books that help capture the importance and process of successful branding. Here are three of our favourites:

2. Develop your brand story

With a bit of foundational branding knowledge under your belt, you can start to explore and develop your brand story.

Your brand story is the story of who you are to your audience. What problem do you solve? Why did you set out to solve the problem in the first place? What makes you the best solution out there?

Donald Miller quote about story

Brand stories don’t need to be polished copy, but they should have personality and emotion and imbue your values. You don’t need to publish it on your website or blast it out to your customers. But your story should lay the groundwork for all customer touchpoints. Every interaction with your brand should align with your story. Even your sales team should work to weave elements of your brand story into their pitch to help prospects understand why they should choose you.

3. Craft your brand identity

Brand identity is what most companies think about first, and it is incredibly important. But it’s not the first thing, and it’s not the only thing. In fact, visual brand identity is rarely successful without first developing your brand story and other elements of your brand strategy. First, lay the foundation. Then, bring it to life with epic visuals.

Your brand identity includes (but is not limited to):

David Ogilvy quote about brand personality

  • Logo
  • Colour palette
  • Typography
  • Imagery styles
  • Icons/illustrations/patterns

These elements must come together to form a cohesive look and feel of your brand. Consistent brand application helps others recognize your brand in the market (even if your logo isn’t present).

4. Build brand awareness

After building your brand, you need to share it with the world. Consider exploring these brand awareness tactics:

  • Social media
  • Digital advertising
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Industry partnerships and collaborations
  • Event sponsorships
  • Podcasts
  • eBooks
  • Blog
  • Email newsletter

 

David Ogilvy quote about advertisements

There are many strategies for building brand awareness, but they won’t all be right for your brand (at least not at the same time). Take the time to understand the use cases for various strategies and determine if they align with your brand goals. For example, LinkedIn advertising can be very effective for B2B brands looking to connect with target accounts. But if you’re a B2C eCommerce solution, it might be more productive to focus your brand awareness efforts on Facebook or Instagram.

5. Know when to invest in an agency

Many companies waste precious time and money trying to piece together a brand instead of engaging an expert. And considering the incredible influence brand has on your business – customer acquisition, recruitment, company valuation, etc. – it’s a risky place to take a cheap out or cut corners.

Yes, there is a time and a place for bootstrapping a brand, but it’s important to know when to partner with an experienced agency that can help you define and execute a targeted brand strategy.

At Tiller, we work with all kinds of businesses – each at different stages and each with their own unique story. Some come to us right out of the gates, freshly funded and looking to lay a solid foundation for the brand right away. Other clients have had a brand for 10+ years, but something has shifted within the business (e.g. new target audience, change in product focus, etc.) or the brand itself needs an update to stay current. These signs, among others, signal that it might be time to rebrand.

Although brands engage us for many reasons, the reasons can typically be boiled down to this: the brand isn’t supporting the company’s mission or goals. If that’s true for your brand, we would recommend you consider working with a branding agency.

Donald Miller quote about customers and brand

6. Get customer feedback

We all like to think we have full control over our brands and what we say about them. But the truth is, your brand isn’t who you say you are, it’s who your customers say you are. Your reputation (and by association, your success) depends on what your customers say about you.

Jeff Bezos quote about brand

Do you know if people love your brand? The only way to find out is to ask. Gather feedback from them via customer service or experience surveys or Net Promoter Scores (NPS). These will help you understand how satisfied they are with your brand and how likely they are to recommend it to others. It takes very little effort and time to ask, and the responses you receive can help you improve your customer experience strategy and brand in the future.

Summary

Brand building can’t be captured in a one-size-fits-all 10 step process. And it shouldn’t be bypassed by entering a few pieces of information into an AI-powered machine that spits out brands. No, brand building is much more human than that. It takes strategy, focus, and skillful execution to build a brand that can stand out from the pack and last for years to come.

Donald Miller quote about branding goals

As you venture down the road of brand building, remember:

  • Focus on building a brand your customers will love, trust, and come to rely on
  • Develop a compelling, emotion-driven brand story to connect with your customers
  • Bring your brand personality to life through thoughtful messaging and visuals
  • Focus on building brand awareness using strategies aligned with your stage of business
  • Work with a branding agency to maximize your investment in your brand
  • Ask for customer feedback to improve your customers’ experience with your brand

Branding is an investment. It takes time, money, resources, and effort – but considering what’s at stake, it’s worth it.

 

profile chantelle
Chantelle Little
Chantelle founded Tiller in 2008, with a vision to build out a digital agency that would help companies express their brands and grow their revenues. She’s grown Tiller from a tiny one-woman-shop into a thriving agency with clients all around the world. Naturally curious about the world around her, Chantelle is constantly focused on learning, growing and broadening her perspective so she can better partner with Tiller clients across industries. She’s also especially passionate about getting to know Tiller’s team members on a personal level, and then helping them grow professionally inside of the company. On Chantelle’s expansive list of other interests, you’ll find real estate, coffee, golf, more coffee, seeking out and trying new restaurants, and winding down the day with something to read. All of which helps her get up the next morning and do it all again.

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