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  • Writer's pictureGemma

The Ultimate Guide to Logo and Branding Strategy in 2024

The 5 stages of successful branding, where brand strategy meets design – to build stronger and more authentic brands.



 

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The term ‘Branding’ is often thought of as the visual identity of a business – the logo, graphics and image. But that’s only part of it.

Branding actually goes much deeper than aesthetics. In order to create a successful brand it needs to have a strong core, from which to grow.

When we set out a plan for the development of a brand, it is called a ‘Brand Strategy’.


A complete Brand Strategy is made up of 2 parts: Brand Foundations and Brand Expression.






The 2 parts to a complete brand


‘Brand Strategy is a plan for the systematic development of a brand in order to meet business objectives’ – Marty Neumeier in ‘The Brand Gap’

Much like a tree, a Brand should have strong foundations at its core, from the roots to the trunk and

branches. The leaves and flowers that grow from the branches are like the Brand Expression – giving

the tree/Brand its visual character.


Together these 2 areas form our 5 stages of successful branding.



5 Steps of Branding


So let’s break down the 5 stages…



1. Brand Substance


Substance is the first stage because it’s the essence of the brand, which is made up of 4 pillars – Purpose, Values, Mission and Vision.


Purpose

The intent of the brand and why it matters to your customers.

We define the brand’s role and the purpose it serves for your audience. What impact does it make in their lives, how will it change their lives for the better?


Values

Values are what can influence buying decisions and customer loyalty. It’s how the audience will emotionally resonate with your brand.


These should originate from the business leadership team and consist of a set of ethics to stand by.


Mission

What is the brand's team committed to on day-to-day, in order to reach its goals.


Think about what commitments are important for the brand to keep. These should be used as a reference guide in the daily running of the business.


Vision

What’s the bigger picture for the brand? What does the future look like in the perfect world? How has the brand achieved this and how has it improved life for those connected to it.


Stage 1 of Branding: Brand Substance


2. Positioning Strategy


Now we take a look at how the brand is positioned in the market place by researching and defining – the audience, competitors and what makes the brand different.


Audience

One of the most important parts of branding is to define the audience, because without an audience there is no brand.


So we need to throughly research who you’re helping and create an audience persona to represent each group within your audience.

Within these audience personas we break down demographics – age, gender, geo locations and psychographics – values, desires and interests.


But more importantly we identify the emotional reason they need your product or service.


It’s through these emotions we can identify their pain points and connect the brand as the solution to the problem.


Competition

The purpose of this stage is to identify strengths and weaknesses of our competitors.


First we need to find out who is already in the market with similar products or services, then we need to analyse and observe.

From their website to social media presence, we thoroughly dissect each brand expression and note down any standout points where your brand could gain advantage.


Difference

The competition research will identify some nuggets of gold, which will serve as insight to create a differentiation message from.


Another really important step in branding, because unless you define the brand’s difference, it will disappear into the sea of sameness.


This message will enable your brand to stand out and influence how it’s positioned with your audience.



Stage 2 of Branding: Positioning Strategy


Now we move onto Brand Expression elements:



3. Brand Persona


The persona is where we start to humanise the brand and give it a character, as if it were a real person.


We pick and choose the people who we surround ourselves with, based on wether we have an emotional connection with them, the same goes for brands too.


If your audience can make a connection with your brand, they are more likely to keep it in their lives.


So that’s why it’s important to choose a brand persona that will resonate with your audience.


We do this through defining an archetype and developing a language and tone of voice.


What is a Brand Archetype?

Archetypes are the theory of Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung and date back to the early 1900’s.


His theory was that archetypes are subconscious characters present in all of us which influence behaviour and personality.


Archetypes can be applied in branding by choosing a persona that resonates with your audiences needs.


Brands that set out an archetype have a distinct advantage over their competitors, because of the opportunity to resonate deeply with their audience.

Language & Tone of Voice

You can show your brand persona through the language and tone of voice of all your brand communications.


Wether it’s on social media posts or newsletters - let your brand persona shine through to connect with your audience.


EXAMPLE

A really great example of this is Holly Tucker, Founder of ‘Not on the High Street’ and ‘Holly & Co’


Holly & Co's persona is based on Holly's own personality, but being the ultra busy lady that she is, I imagine she doesn’t write all the content for newsletters and social media herself.


So whoever writes the posts will write them in Holly’s tone of voice, which keeps consistency and builds trust with the audience.



Stage 3 of Branding: Brand Persona


4. Communication


Core Message Framework

It’s a basic principle that it takes seven touch points before someone will take notice or act on a call to action in marketing.


So with this in mind is a good idea to have what’s called a Core Message Framework to refer to when crafting emails or social posts.


This framework consists of a series of statements which summarises what we have already found earlier in the strategy.


Audience - Who the are

Pain Points - What they struggle with

Existing options - problems with existing options

Difference - Difference your brand provides

Benefit - How it will help

Emotions - How they will feel after


Use the framework as a tool to guide your communications and interchange them for different messages and posts.


Storytelling Framework

Cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner suggests we are 22 times more likely to remember a fact when it has been wrapped in a story.

This is partly down to neurons firing and wiring together and also partly down to the chemical oxytocin being released when we read a good story.


So stories help us remember and help us care, which is why a storytelling framework is an essential part of the branding puzzle.

It’s a common misconception that the brand story is about the business leaders and their personal journey, but it’s not.

The brand story should feature your audience as the hero. Include the problems they face and how they overcome the challenges with the help of a guide (your brand).


Name & Tagline

For new brands this is a good point to re-assess the naming choice and decide if it’s a suitable fit and assign a tagline.


Clever tagline are those which have a double meaning (example)


Ideal length is around 5 words.



Stage 4 of Branding: Communication


5. Visual Expression


And finally, this is where the design starts…


Brand Identity System

Taking all the new found insight into consideration we create a logo design that will speak to your audience and communicate your brand’s personality.

Along with the new logo there would usually be some deliverables such as graphic elements and patterns which complement the logo and brand persona.


These are shown on branded examples such as stationery and marketing material, as well as examples of logo application on social media.


Fonts and colours are also picked out at this stage and everything is presented together in a brand style guide.


Brand Presence

The final red carpet roll out of the new branding in all the various touchpoint required, like website, newsletter template and social media.


This is where the magic happens and all the communication works in harmony because of the hard work put in to establish the roots of the brand.



Stage 5 of Branding: Visual Expression


So this is your complete brand and as you can see the branding elements are all important components in growing a successful business.



Stage 5 of Branding: Visual Expression


 


Gemma from Emotion Brands logo and branding designer Bournemouth

About the Author

Gemma is a logo and branding designer at Emotion Brands and enjoys working across strategy and design. During her 20 year career she has worked with global brands, such as Davines, Secret Escapes, Wella Professionals and L'Oréal. She's constantly evolving her skills and enjoys taking a holistic approach to branding, with a particular interest in sustainability and eco print practices.


If you're looking for Branding or Design Agencies in Bournemouth get in touch.


Follow on Linkedin and Instagram.



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