Does your brand tell your story?


When the time comes for a customer to select a brand, will you be their first choice? Your brand needs to tell your story to the customer both consciously and subconsciously conveying the qualities that make you the best choice. Plainsail Solutions is a team of experienced branding specialists who understand that your brand is more than just a logo.

Just a few of our custom branding and corporate identity design services we offer:

  • Brand Evaluation / Rebranding
  • Name Development
  • Logo Design / Corporate Identity
  • Brand Guidelines
  • Taglines
  • Company & Product Naming
  • Content Strategy
  • Copywriting
  • Product Marketing

7 Steps to building a better brand

Research your target audience and your competitors

Before you start making any decisions about how to create a business brand, you need to understand the current market, i.e., who your potential customers and current competitors are.

As you go about your research, make a note of:

  1. Who your “lowest hanging fruit” customers are—the ones you could most easily sell to
  2. Who your top-of-mind competitors are—the brands that are established and known in the market
  3. How your customers speak and what they talk about—the interests they have and the language they express them in

It’s important to have a handle on this before moving forward, as it will inform what your brand should focus on and how it can position itself apart from competitors.


Pick your branding focus and personality

You can’t establish your brand to be everything to everyone, especially at the start. It is important to find your focus and let that inform all the other parts of your brand as you build it. Here are some questions to get you thinking about the focus and tone of your brand.

1. What’s your positioning statement
2.What words would you associate with your brand?
3. What metaphors or concepts describe your brand?

Thinking about your brand identity as a metaphor, or personifying it, can help you identify the individual qualities you want it to have.


Choose your business name

As a business, your company’s name is probably one of the first big commitments you have to make. It’ll impact your brand logo, your domain, your marketing, and your trademark registration. Ideally, you want a name that’s hard to imitate and even harder to confuse with existing players in the market.

Since your brand name will affect the domain/URL of your website, be sure to shop around to see what’s available before deciding on a name for your brand:

It's also a good idea to run your name by a focus group of close people, if for no other reason than to make sure it doesn’t have an unintended meaning or is too similar to something else that you might’ve missed.


Write a slogan

A catchy slogan is a nice to have asset. Something brief and descriptive you can use as a tagline in your social media bios, website header, custom business cards, and anywhere else where you only have a few words to make a big impact.

Keep in mind that you can always change your slogan as you find new angles for marketing. Pepsi has gone through over 30 slogans in the past few decades. A good slogan is short, catchy, and makes a strong impression to boost brand awareness. Here are some ways to approach writing a slogan of your own:

Stake your claim. Death Wish Coffee: “The World’s Strongest Coffee.”
Make it a metaphor. Red Bull: “Red Bull gives you wings.”
Adopt your customers’ attitude. Nike: “Just do it.”
Leverage labels. Cards Against Humanity: “A party game for horrible people.”
Write a rhyme. Folgers coffee: “The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup.”
Describe it literally. Aritzia: “Everyday luxury to elevate your world.”


Choose the look of your brand (colors and font)

Once you’ve got a name, you’ll need to think about your branding design; How you’ll visually represent your brand, your colors and typography. This will come in handy when you start to build your website.

Choosing brand colors

Colors don’t just define the look of your brand, they also convey the feeling you want to communicate and help you make it consistent across everything you do. You’ll want to choose colors that differentiate you from direct competitors to avoid confusing your potential customers.

Color psychology isn’t an exact science, but it does help to inform the choices you make, especially when it comes to the color you pick for your brand logo.

Consider how legible white and black text will be over your color palette and how colored text might look over white and black backgrounds.Try using a tool like Coolors to match colors that work together.

Choosing fonts for branding

The best way to build a brand when it comes to fonts is by keeping it simple. Pick two fonts at most to avoid confusing clients: one for headings and one for body text (this doesn’t include the font you might use in your brand logo).


Design your brand logo

A brand logo design is probably one of the first things that come to mind when you think about building a new brand. And for good reason: it’s the face of your company, after all, and could potentially be everywhere your brand is.

Ideally, you’ll want to create your brand with a logo that’s unique, identifiable, and scalable to work at all sizes (something often overlooked).

Consider all the places where your brand’s logo needs to exist:

  • Website
  • Social media profile picture
  • Product packaging
  • Video ads
  • YouTube channel banner
  • Favicon (the tiny icon that identifies your open browser tabs)

If you have a text logo as your Instagram avatar, for example, it’ll be almost impossible to read. To make your life easier, create a square version of your brand logo with an icon or symbol element (called a logomark) that remains recognizable even at smaller sizes.

Invest in a logo that can appear anywhere around the web and in physical print.

Notice how the Walmart logo has both the “sparks” icon and the wordmark, which can be used together or separately.


Apply your branding across your business

Applying your branding across your business gives it a cohesive brand story. A brand story represents “who” your business is and what it stands for. It sets the stage for every interaction customers have with your brand, in-store and online.

If your business has a brand story, share it, because it can help the shopper feel reassured yours is a legitimate business.

When building a new brand, your positioning statement can get you started, but you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions to nail your brand story:

  1. What motivated me to start my business?
  2. Why does this company exist?
  3. How do we contribute to the world?
  4. What is the story behind my business the customer should know?

Not every business is mission-driven, but if you create your brand with a mission or values at its core, share your brand story and tell customers why the business was started.