Now that you know exactly who you are selling to, your brand identity is the next thing you should establish.
One of the most crucial elements necessary at the beginning of any new business venture that often goes overlooked or in some cases completely unheard of, is branding.
Chief Creative Officer of DDB Worldwide Amir Kassaei defines a brand like this, “A brand is not a product or a promise or a feeling. It’s the sum of all the experiences you have with a company.”
Bottom line, your brand is what you would like customers to remember about their interaction with you.
It is not just the visuals. Brand identity is about your company’s core foundation, integrity, values, and the overall experience you provide.
Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos sums it up this way, “Your brand is what people say when you’re not in the room.”
Therefore, your brand should reflect what you want your target market to think about you.
Do you want to be known for style and comfort? Chic and high-end? Affordable and good quality?
Your brand identity should encompass everything from what you create, why you create it even to what price range you’re known for. It should appeal to your target audience in a way that it connects with them mentally, emotionally, and yes, economically.
There are obvious visual elements that pull a brand together like web design, logo, packaging, colors, fonts, brochures, pitch decks, and more. These are important features used to characterize a brand but it doesn’t define your brand per se. Branding is the feeling people get when they think about you.
Why is branding important?
With so many fashion designers entering the industry, it has become harder to set your brand apart from everybody else. Finding your space can become a challenge in a crowded industry that’s undeniably full of talent. Not to mention the competition to be top of mind of buyers and editors.
There are multiple contributing factors to this dilemma, the biggest one is that most designers are not spending enough time creating an experience around what they’re offering. For example, anybody designer can make an asymmetrical top. But what will make the customer buy your design?
Branding is important for the following reasons:
1) It differentiates your product line from the rest.
2) It gives you personality.
3) It allow you to form relationships with your customer.
4) It builds your credibility.
5) It defines what you are and why you exist.
Without great branding, no matter how great your product is, it will not get the attention it needs to attract customers. It will just be another piece of clothing without any connection to its wearer.
What is branding all about?
Branding is about providing an emotional experience for your target audience.
Great branding offers acceptance, provides a sense of comfort, and yet challenges the customer. Branding inspires a customer on a level that is not solely about the brand.
You must find a way to link the story of your brand to your target customer. Make them interested in your story, move them to ask for more, and connect with them on a personal level. This is basically how relationships are formed and how you relate through branding is no different.
What goes into good branding?
Authentic branding requires time. From the creation of your brand name to the story behind that name, it takes time to develop one’s unique fashion brand. It would be helpful if you already have an idea about the type of brand you want to build before you launch it.
It is crucial to understand the qualities required to implement such vision right from the get go.
Begin by asking yourself the following:
1) What will your brand be known for? – This is your long-term vision.
2) What does your brand stand for? – This is your mission.
3) What is your brand’s point of view? – This is your positioning.
These characteristics need to be echoed throughout your entire business in order for your customers to trust you. They need to know who you are and why you do what you do.
You may not predict how your brand will evolve but if you establish a good foundation at core of your brand identity, you are giving it a great chance to grow dynamically over time.