Differentiating your brand among competitors can be a long and arduous process. In fact, the branding process is never fully complete, but to initially build a prominent brand presence, a branding checklist is the best place to start.
Branding affects business and revenue in several ways, only some of which are related to marketing and communications. A large part of this has to do with the public perception of your brand and the message consumers believe your brand conveys. While there may be several ways to communicate your brand ideology, consistent and well-thought-out brand messaging is critical.
There are many important nuances to the branding process that range from developing your brand’s mission, voice, and personality, to researching the market and consumers, to designing a logo. All of these steps help build a brand that can be consistent, reliable, and beautiful.
What Is a Branding Checklist?
A branding checklist is a list of elements, processes, and actions that branding agencies, consultants, and designers use to ensure a strong brand foundation is built.
Whether you are working on an existing brand, rebranding a company or product, or building a new brand from scratch, making sure there is a set strategy in place will help ensure success.
While people have different perspectives on what to focus on when building a brand, there are some general guidelines and steps that almost all branding teams follow. Below, we’ve listed some of the most important things to pay attention to.
The Ultimate Branding Checklist
1. Write the brand mission statement
Before you start your process, it’s vital to define your brand’s mission statement. A brand mission statement clearly articulates the brand’s purpose and objectives the company aims to accomplish.
This statement ensures all stakeholders (including both employees and consumers) who associate with your brand understand the impact you’re trying to make.
2. Create and be vocal about your brand values
Creating and being vocal about your brand values through all forms of communication is essential.
Brand values can range from “be innovative” to “think different.” Regardless of your brand’s values, sharing them across touchpoints in a positive and socially relevant way is crucial for a growing brand.
3. Research the current market and industry
At this stage, it’s important to research the current industry you’re venturing into with your new brand. Understanding general trends, what’s in demand, and gaps in the industry can help immensely.
In order to see how your brand can add value and stand out from the crowd, you must first know the market.
Although it may seem simple, including this in your branding checklist will save you both time and energy in the long run.
4. Know your competition
In addition to market research, understanding your competitors and their business models will help you understand where your brand needs to grow, how it needs to be positioned, and where it could improve.
Keeping close tabs on your competitors is critical while both building and maintaining your brand.
5. Develop customer personas
To better understand your target customer base, you’ll need to create a variety of customer personas that include their demographics, behaviors, the products they are inclined to buy, and their motivations to buy them.
In the process of developing customer personas, doing research and understanding specific details of various demographics can help you understand how to make the brand relevant to the wide range of people interested in your company or product.
Also read: Three tips for marketing to millennials
6. Develop your brand voice
Now that you understand your consumers, it will be easier to develop a brand voice that connects to both your brand values and your target audience.
As you develop your brand voice, be sure to revisit your mission statement to ensure alignment. Your brand voice should also help express your brand personality, which will support the establishment of your brand image.
7. Choose your color palette
When selecting your brand colors, ensure they relate to your brand’s voice, consumers, and market. Generally, dark colors are associated with sophistication, while bright colors can prompt more impulsive and emotional responses.
If the budget allows, investing in a designer to support this process can be extremely effective and helpful. For those with a limited budget, several websites offer color palette ideas and free-to-use color palette generators.
8. Identify your fonts
At a high level, there are three basic classifications of typography: serif, sans serif, and script. Keeping these classifications in mind is an important aspect of the process as you narrow down your options.
Serif fonts lean toward sophistication and class, while sans-serif fonts lean toward approachability and a more modern aesthetic. Script fonts, on the other hand, evoke a more delicate aesthetic.
9. Design the logo
While several sites help generate logos for free or at a minimal price, working with an experienced brand designer or consultant will pay dividends in the long run. Your logo must be designed to be responsive and flexible for a wide range of creative assets.
As you begin the logo design process, be sure to keep your brand values in mind and ensure your logo will help your brand stand out.
10. Create marketing materials
Now that you have established your brand colors, fonts, and logo, you have everything you need to start creating your core marketing materials.
As you begin the list of materials needed, be sure to think through details like what dimensions each material needs to be and where each material will be presented to the public. For example, when you create your website (a top priority), make sure to do the research ahead of time to see if your brand’s name—or a variation of it—is available as a domain.
Also read: You don’t need that exact dot-com domain
11. Create brand guidelines
Now that you have completed your branding checklist, creating brand guidelines is the last crucial step to maintaining your brand image. Specific items to include in your brand guidelines are your developed mission statement, values, personality, logo guidelines (versions, sizes, treatment on various materials, etc.) color palette, and fonts. All internal and external stakeholders can follow these guidelines to ensure brand consistency across all touchpoints.
You now have a complete branding checklist to help you as you start your process. Although there are several other aspects to branding, following this list is a simple start to developing the core elements of your brand. Did you find this article helpful? Let us know in the comments below.