Create a Brand
This optional lesson will help you learn more about branding your product and naming your business for your business plan.
In this lesson, you will learn how to…
- Learn about marketing and branding
- Create a name and identity for your business
After you create your app or AI invention and your business, how will you convince people to use your product? Marketing is trying to convince people to use your product.
Before you start marketing your product, you’ll want to create a brand for business. Your brand is the identity of your business, It is what people think about when the hear the name of your business or your product. If your product was a person, their brand would be their personality. It’s “who” your product/company is.
Think about some of companies you already know. Can you remember their logos? What do they sell? What is their motto or slogan? What is the feeling you get when you think about their business?
The Nike logo is one of the world’s most well-known brands. It represents speed, motion and ultimately, athletic excellence and performance. By getting successful and famous athletes to wear their products with their logos on them, Nike develops an attitude that says, if you want to be athletic, Nike will help you get there. And their famous slogan “Just do it” reinforces that idea. Here are some more examples of brands, their slogans, and what those slogans make us think about their brand.
Just Do It
Athletic, Powerful, Strong
Creative, Futuristic, Innovative
The Happiest Place on Earth
Entertaining, Fun, Inventive
Create Your Brand
To get started on your own brand, you’ll want to refer to your market research from ideation 7. You want to get to know your target audience really well. These are the people you want to sell to; your customers. This will help you focus on building a brand that really appeals to them, and makes them want to buy your product. Try answering the following questions to start getting a sense of your brand.
- Customer Benefits: What problem are you trying to solve for customers? Think about why would someone buy this product.
- Target Customers: Who are they? Be as specific as possible, try breaking it down into two parts:
- What are their characteristics?
- For example: age, gender, location, ethnicity, language, education, religion, income level, etc.
- What are their personalities, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles?
- For example: health conscious, busy, highly organized, family oriented, environmentally conscious, social, homebody, nerdy, etc.
- What are their characteristics?
- Brand Personality: If your brand was a person, who would it be? Try to match your company to a famous person you know. It sounds silly but it will help define what your business is about.
- For example, Nike identifies as a talented athlete so you might think of their personality being similar to Usain Bolt or Simone Biles.
In this lesson, you will also name your business. A name does not have to exactly say what a business does, but can become catchy and memorable over time, as a business and its brand becomes well known. In the beginning, the words Apple, Google, and Coca-Cola were just words or made up phrases. But they became well known over time, as people interacted with their brands more and more. They can even be acronyms, last names, or a combination of words, such as BMW, which stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke.
Remember, the name of your business does not have to be the same as your app or invention name, although they can share a name if you prefer. You choose how to name your business and your product! For example, Apple has several different products like MacBook and iPhone that still have an Apple brand. On the other hand, there are companies that have the same name as the product, like Coca-Cola.
Activity: We Are & We Are Not
This activity can be facilitated by a mentor or educator.
What You’ll Need:
- Note cards or scratch paper cut into small pieces. If you’re working virtually, try using collaborative software, like Google Docs or IdeaBoardz.
- Pens or markers
What You’ll Do:
- Distribute 10-15 note cards to each team member.
- Ask each team member to write down a descriptive word or short phrase for your company on each card.
- As a team, start organizing all the cards into 3 categories: We Are, We Are Not, and Not Applicable. Keep in mind, these words should describe how you want to be perceived by the customer.
- Narrow down the We Are and We Are Not categories down to 4-7 cards.
- Finalize your cards. Make sure the whole team agrees with the organization. If not, discuss and come to a conclusion as a group.
The We Are & We Are Not activity will help you figure out the main characteristics that best describe your brand.
With your team, write down adjectives on cards or pieces of paper that you think describe your brand and the way you want to be seen by your customers.
After, you will divide those cards into 3 piles: We Are, We Are Not, and Not Applicable. By the end you’ll want to have just a few adjectives that describe your brand in the We Are pile.
Now you’ve got the most important words for your brand. It’s time to apply it to your business! You can use these words as a guide for building your brand. These descriptions can be expressed through many aspects of your brand, including the name of your business and the name of your product.
They can also come in handy when you are developing your visuals, too! If your company adjectives are “young” and “fun”, you might want to use a lot of different bright colors, whereas if you company was “serious” and “professional” your might use simple, sophisticated colors instead. As you build your brand throughout this module and the competition, ask yourself if these are consistent with the adjectives you came up with in this activity.
Inspired by Brand Deck
Activity: Name your Business
Brainstorm a list of potential business names with your team! Use your creative brainpower, or use a naming generator. Naming generators can help by adding in the words you want to feature, and creating a lot of different options. Keep in mind, you’ll want to refer back to the adjectives you decided on for the ‘We Are & We Are Not’ activity, which will help guide your conversations and help you determine what name would fit your company best.
After you’ve narrowed down your list of potential names to less than 5 or fewer, try asking your target customers, friends, or anyone who might come across your business or app. It can help to get a lot of people’s impressions on your name, so you can see which name is the most appealing and makes the most sense to people. You should also review your competitor research from Ideation 7 to make sure that none of your competitors have the same name.
Once you’ve narrowed it down even further, it’s time to pick just one! Make sure you and your team all agree upon the final name.
- How will you include branding into your pitch video? Branding is an important part of marketing your idea to others
- [Senior Teams] Begin considering how you’d like to integrate your branding into your 5-10 page business plan - this marketing will help convince the judges that your product is a great solution
- Now that you’ve created a name and an identity for your business, the next step is to develop a visual identity. In the next marketing lessons, you’ll start developing color scheme and logo visuals!
Additional Resources: Positioning Statement
Here are some words introduced in this section
- Positioning statement – is a short description of your customer and how you want to be seen by the customer
- Point of differentiation – is how you are different from your competitors
- Frame of reference – is where you business belongs with respect to the marketplace
- Customers – the people who you want to buy your product
Now that you have a better sense of what your brand is, you can start working on your positioning statement. A positioning statement is a concise description of your customer as well as a compelling picture of how you want your customer to perceive your brand. When done well, this will dictate how your branding, logos, and even customer service will be accomplished. This should not be confused with a mission statement, which is broader and describes what an organization hopes to solve or achieve.
Your positioning statement will cover 4 main parts:
Great Brand Positioning Statement Examples
So what does a great brand positioning statement look like? It can take many forms, and many lengths, but it should always encompass the four elements listed above. Take a look at the following positioning statements for well-known brands. As you can see, certain elements are subtle or implied, but it’s important to notice how well-thought out each one is.
- Volvo: For upscale American families, Volvo is the family automobile that offers maximum safety.
- Home Depot: The hardware department store for do-it-yourselfers.
- Zipcar: To urban-dwelling, educated techno-savvy customers, when you use Zipcar car-sharing service instead of owning a car, you save money while reducing your carbon footprint.
Template for Writing a Positioning Statement
Now it’s time to write your positioning statement up! Here’s a template for writing a positioning statement:
For [Target Customer], the [Business Name] is the [Point of Differentiation] among all [Frame of Reference] because [Reason to Believe].
- The point of differentiation (POD) describes how your brand or product benefits customers in ways that set you apart from your competitors.
- The frame of reference (FOR) is the segment or category in which your company competes.
- The reason to believe is just what it says. This is a statement providing compelling evidence and reasons why customers in your target market can have confidence in your differentiation claims.
The wording of your positioning statement doesn’t have to match this template exactly, but to be effective, it must contain the five main components in brackets above. If you get stuck or just need some help, you can take a look at this generator that can help you write it up. Once you’ve written it up, you can also ask your mentor for feedback, or do this activity individually and give each other feedback as a team.