BUILDING A DIGITAL BRAND
We hear the word “brand” all the time, everyone likes to use that word, from agencies to consultants, to designers. but what really is a brand?
A brand is a combination of many experiences that come together to tell a story about why a business, product or service exist.
IN THE BEGINNING, THERE WAS AN IDEA
We all start out with an idea, this is the genesis of every business. And senpai started pretty much like every single idea out there. But it was clear from the start that we had to build a very strong brand to achieve the things we wished to achieve and I would love to share our journey and how we have been able to build the brand to what it is.
DEFINE YOUR WHY.
When I started reading on branding last year I went through over 600 articles on design and branding and counting and the single biggest thing about building a brand is to clearing define why you exist in the world. This is like the building blocks define every brand and it is the pillar that other things like visual identity, brand voice, and copy are built upon.
For senpai the why was “ SENPAI exist because there is a lack of a creative community of youths that are turning their passions into businesses using technology so we decided to build that community :) .”
Once you are able to define your why you can figure out what experiences or stories you want to let out there that would constantly remind and reinforce your why. This is basically the most important thing you have to keep in mind and even right down somewhere so you dont forget it and letting people know why your exist is what differentiate a regular product from a brand.
IN A WORLD OF MANY OPTION PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW “WHY” THEY SHOULD CHOOSE YOU.
Go and look at the brands you love and act yourself is their why out there in the open? Check your business and ask yourself the same question.
DEFINE YOUR VOICE AND STYLE AND AUDIENCE
Now you know why you exist the next question is
How can I let me target audience be aware of my why?
But first what is a “target audience”
Well every brand that exists was created for a specific type of person and this would ideally be the person that is more likely to use your product or service and would likely be included in your “why”
Let's state some examples.
Apple — Their target audience are creative people that want to change the world and appreciate clean, simple, aesthetically pleasing technology that would assist them on their mission. And you can see that they that this person into account while building their product by having a very specific style that is consistent across all experiences with the brand.
So who is your target audience? Who is your product made for? The more you can know about them the better.
Now you know who they are. What terminology do they use and how can you teach in a language they understand? You brand should have a voice that adds value to your target audience, by educating them, inspiring them and entertaining them. Kinda like we are doing with the post.
Your style is, of course, one that should be easy for your target audience to understand.
We have a very minimal, creative and visually pleasing style to our brand and try to keep it consistent and people that like those styles are naturally attracted to the brand.
TELL EPIC STORIES
Knowing your why, voice, style, and audience is a really amazing but in other to build a brand that grows and finds a spot in the heart of people you have to tell very epic stories about your brand that truly connect with your audience on an emotional level. I struggled with the part for a while because I constantly was thinking of what cool stories I can tell. But in reality there are a million stories to tell but a tip is to document your journey and constantly look for instances that could be used to reinforce your “why”. Many people filter out all the good stories because it feels very uncomfortable putting yourself out there, but if you want to build an epic brand you have to put yourself out there and tell your stories.
Humans communicate with stories and your brand should do the same.
What happens everyday at the office?
What's your creative process like?
What challenges did you have to face?
How much progress have you made
The more people know about your brand, the more they want to know
TO TELL STORIES JUST DOCUMENT YOUR JOURNEY AND SHARE THE RELEVANT INFORMATION THAT REINFORCES YOUR “WHY”
Be consistent, with your brand voice and style and storytelling and watch your brand attract loyalist from all over the world that share the same values as you. Keep at it, everyday, even when it seems like no one is paying attention, trust me someone is.
And remember to thank the people that actually pay attention to your brand and remain grateful.