In the luxury marketplace, it’s about selling more than a product; it’s about emotionally and visually creating a world that your target audience wants to be a part of. When I was in the early stages of my apparel company, OTHERWORLD, I spent 2 months working on the brand before getting started on product development. I come from a branding and advertising background, so I felt confident in my process, which allowed me to really focus on the creative evolution of the brand’s identity. For many people starting a company, though, they may enter into the business with other (equally important) backgrounds – finance, product development, design, etc. So in an effort to help those who may need some direction on the branding front, I’m sharing my 5-step process to creating a strong brand identity.
Decide on your brand values: If this brand were a person, what would he or she value? For OTHERWORLD, it’s style, travel, wellness and celebration.
Create your brand personality: If this brand were a person, what would he or she be like? For OTHERWORLD, we’re daring, soulful, worldly and free.” Make sure your words are truly communicating what you mean.
Identify your product offering: From a product standpoint, what is the brand offering, in a short, simple sentence? For example, OTHERWORLD offers luxury resort wear for the bold, bohemian adventurer. I wrote all of my options on index cards and taped them to my wall after this exercise. Day by day, I took down the options that didn’t quite feel right, until I had one final card on the wall. I kept that final card on my wall for another week and even asked my friends to explain what it meant to them. You’re going to use this line a lot to explain your company, so make sure you love it, and it clearly represents the brand. Don’t be afraid to run it by a few friends also.
Determine your product differentiators: Once you’ve identified this overarching offering, know your product differentiators. In the case of OTHERWORLD, our main point of difference is our photographic prints and our design aesthetic, which is always artistic, luxe and effortless to wear.
Determine the brand’s mission: What does the brand do for people, beyond providing a product? With OTHERWORLD, we want to emotionally transport women to exotic locales around the globe – through our products, our branding, our content, our prints, etc.
OPTIONAL BONUS STEP: Craft your tag line. Is there a single sentence or phrase that captures the essence of this brand? (e.g., the brand’s personality, values and mission?). OTHERWORLD’s tag line is ‘WANDER WITH PURPOSE’.
I say “bonus step” because a tag line is not always necessary; but rather, a nice way to sum at all up.
As I look back on the OTHERWORLD brand one year after its launch, I’m proud to say that everything we’ve done – from the products we sell to our marketing and partnerships – has been informed by the initial branding exercise. So give these exercises a go and share in the comments below how it goes for you!
Get Beyond The Branding Basics:
- 5 Steps to Creating a Strong Brand Identity
- Finding Your Brand Identity
- How to Design Your Brand DNA From the Ground Up
- The Secret to Creating a Compelling Brand Story