How to Create a Brand

What is a brand?

Probably the first thought you have in your head is a logo. You probably also think about the name and products that a company offers. In fact, a brand is more than just a logo:

The brand is not only a recognisable packaging like a bottle of Coca-Cola, Toblerone or Happy Meal:

From left: McDonald’s Happy Meal, Heinz Ketchup Bottle, CocCola Bottle, Toblerone, Marlboro

The brand is much more than an advertising slogan:

From left: Apple, Nike, McDonalds, L’Oréal, KFC, CocaCola

The brand is much more than a company’s mission and vision:

From the article “Mission Statements of Top Brands” by Arek Dvornechuck

Is a brand just what a company offers you?

Is a brand just a product you want to buy? Or is it a service you want to use? Brands can also be famous people from the world of politics, celebrities or historical figures:

From left: Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs

How does a brand work?

A brand should differentiate a product from its competition. Imagine a big shop with countless shelves and products on them. This is not hard to imagine, because today when we enter a shop we have a choice of over 30,000 SKUs (store-keeping-units).

As consumers, we are also bombarded with 3,500 to 5,000 stimuli during a single visit to the shop.

What needs to be done and what conditions must be met for the customer to notice our product from thousands of others and buy it?

How do we choose the best brand?

With so many products on the market and enormous competition between brands, it is sometimes difficult to notice the differences. Some products offer the same value in terms of quality and composition. Do we always choose what tastes better when we decide to buy it?

Blind test. Source: creating Powerful Brands Chernatony/McDonald 1992, S. 9

What is cheaper, healthier or of better quality? Our purchasing decisions are in fact much more spontaneous!

Why is the brand important??

The AIDA principle is often used in marketing. AIDA is an acronym for each successive reaction a customer has towards a product:

Attention – The consumer becomes aware of a category, product or brand (usually through advertising).

Interest – The consumer becomes interested by learning about brand benefits & how the brand fits with lifestyle.

Desire – The consumer develops a favorable disposition towards the brand.¹

Action – The consumer forms a purchase intention, shops around, engages in trial or makes a purchase.

Some people add another letter “S” which stands for Satisfaction. Satisfaction. ​​The reality is that our buying process is much more spontaneous. We make decisions quickly and effortlessly, dictated by intuition and often very unconsciously.

So then, what is a brand?

We have already answered that a brand is not posters, graphics, logos, slogans, memes or fancy marketing department copy.

A brand is a promise made to the customer.

A better definition of a brand is also what consumers actually have in their minds about a product, service or manufacturer, not necessarily what marketing communication tries to tell them. Remember, if you screw up your brand design at the beginning then even countless hours of work from your marketing staff won’t change the way people think about your brand.

What do well-known brands promise us?

Brands often make mistakes. A marketing department will release a bad campaign that will cause a storm on the internet. Small stumbles are always plenty. In general, consumers quickly forget about them. What promises and what values come to mind for the first time, in a split second, when we think about well-known brands?

Coca Cola — happiness

Undoubtedly, Coca-Cola is a brand known all over the world. Coca-Cola is a symbol of American culture and consumerism. It is also a brand from Andy Warhol’s paintings. It is a drink that perfectly quenches thirst on sunny days. There are endless associations with Coca-Cola. But in fact, for most of us the first emotion we feel when we think of Coca Cola is joy. Coca-Cola is a staple product of Christma especially for me, a guy from Central Europe. I still remember the adverts with the Coca Cola truck and Father Christmas.

BMWSheer Driving Pleasure

Most people immediately know what brand they are talking about when they hear this phrase. BMW right from the beginning. BMW is associated with quality, high performance, sportiness and elegance. It consistently delivers campaigns that give the recipient the feeling that the earth is moving beneath this car. Sheer Driving Pleasure.

How to create a brand?

Firstly: you have to be consistent. The promise that you make to the client at the very beginning should be the guiding principle in all the projects you do.

Source: Power Brands: Measuring, Making and Managing Brand Success Riesenbeck/Perrey, 2004, p.33
Photo from by Stewart Hodgson

Do you remember that scene in Inception where Cobb talks about what is most contagious and resilient? That’s what the idea is:

An idea. Resilient… highly contagious.
Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate.
An idea that is fully formed — fully understood — that sticks; right in there somewhere.

Design a brand promise that will fascinate people and that people will want to own.

Secondly: remember those simple solutions work best. If you can’t explain in one sentence what you have designed then your project sucks. Others won’t understand it either. Try to work on your brand methodically, so that you can move from chaos to simple solutions. You can use multiple formats to create a mockup that will better organise your work:

Thirdly: all your work will ultimately always come down to four key questions that you will need to answer.

Your Four key questions to Create a Brand

1. Who are we for? — communication target group

2. What do we promise? — brand promise

3. What is the role of the brand? — brand archetype

4. Who are we? — brand character.

1. Communication target group

The communication target group defines the consumers we want to reach and engage first. It is according to consumers’ needs and expectations that we choose the main benefit of the brand. In doing so, it is important to distinguish between users and purchase decision-makers and to define their mutual relationship when it comes to choosing a brand. Define:

A. who buys the brand?
B. who uses the brand?

It is important to distinguish between objective criteria describing the target group and its self-perception.

Brand Identity vs. Brand Self-Concept: what is it?

What do you think? Who actually buys motorcycles from Harley-Davidson?

Harley-Davidson — “Peanuts” campagne

For most of us, what probably comes to mind are “True Harley Riders” i.e. cis guys with facial hair, wearing leather clothes all the time, riding around the American streets. This is actually not the reality! The target group are totally different consumers.

These “True Harley Riders” make up just 10% of the brand’s total customer base and generate 3.5% of new motorbike sales.

Let’s talk about Apple.

Probably everyone who has come into contact with Apple products remembers their “Think Different” marketing campaign. In numerous marketing promo materials, you could see people who are unconventional and rebellious. Those who think differently from the rest. People who have had a significant impact on our world. Pablo Picasso, Alfred Hitchcock or Thomas Edison. All of them in their time were “thinking different”. And who actually uses a Mac? We don’t know the exact sales figures of products in specific target groups, but one thing is certain. A large number of consumers are those who perceive themselves as “Thinking Different”.

Remember to divide your target group into two categories.

A. Objective target group — those who will actually use the brand.
B. Their self-perception — who the target group would like to be.

2. Brand promise

What are the key criteria for a brand promise?

You can find countless criteria on the internet to define a brand promise.
Remember that the promise you design must be a form of a contract/agreement between your company and the consumer, so to speak.

1. Relevant promise — bringing something good into the consumer’s life. A promise that will make the consumer’s life better.

2. Credible promise — a benefit that the brand can deliver. A promise that solves a real problem for the consumer.

3. Specific promise — a measurable and clearly defined benefit. A tangible benefit your customer will receive is that they can measure and see with their eyes.

4. Unappropriated — a promise not offered by another brand in your category.

5. One supreme benefit — one slogan that will define your brand.

3. Brand archetype

How do you design a brand archetype?

Brands meet consumer objectives while performing specific roles. Personality archetypes facilitate the communication of a brand’s role. Defining an archetype for your brand is a “shortcut” when you design a new brand. Do not be afraid of simple solutions and those that have worked for hundreds of years!

From the article “The Power of Brand Archetypes” by Matt Yow

By referring to archetypes in communication, you will automatically activate a whole set of associations, equally understood by most consumers.

4. brand character?

How to design a brand character?

This is a design task of the “designing emotions” category. After defining the brand archetype — that is, its personality ask yourself what exactly is the character of your brand? Character is a variable thing in humans. But your brand should have a clearly defined character.

The archetype — the hero — can be helpful to you.

I have a simple task for you. Answer the following question: what kind of film is it?

“The adventures of an agent who travels around the world and fights extremely cunning and power-hungry villains.”

Maybe it’s a hero from the Mission impossible movie?

That question is probably too general. But let’s add some details:

The secret agent in the company of attractive women. To achieve their goal, they use both physical strength and advanced technology.

Is the hero only must be serious?

It could be James Bond, it could be the main character from Mission Impossible, Jason Bourne from “The Bourne Supremacy” or even Austin Powers.

The hero character. Is a Serious or funny?

The same idea but always a different character!




🦄 I design products. Digital products to make digital things simpler, smarter and more helpful to users people. I assist companies with digital transformation.

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Krzysztof Walencik

Krzysztof Walencik

🦄 I design products. Digital products to make digital things simpler, smarter and more helpful to users people. I assist companies with digital transformation.

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