How to Build a Brand from Scratch: A Step-by-Step Guide

Welcome to our complete step-by-step guide on how to build a brand from scratch.
We’ll cover everything you need to know to get started from working through ideas,
to creating a brand strategy, to creating a brand identity, to maintaining your brand image.

Intro Text

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Read On

What is Brand?

Before we get started on the technical stuff, let’s look at why you might want to start a blog, what the important things to consider and what are the steps involved in starting a blog.

What is Branding and Why is it Important?

“Branding is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”  – Jeff Bezos

Your brand identity is made up of various elements that all work together to create a unique, cohesive look and feel that is the representation of your brand’s vision and core values.

  • Brand = Perception. As Jeff Bezos eludes to in his famous quote, your brand is your reputation and the perception that people have of you when you are not around.
  • Brand = Emotions. Your brand identity is not only made up of visual and physical elements but also has the ability to elicit powerful emotions in your customers.
  • Brand = Impression. Customers will perceive your brand in a certain way, experience certain emotions when interacting with your brand, and have an impression of your brand and what it represents.

Let’s look at a few reasons why branding is important:

  • Creates Brand Recognition
  • Creates Brand Trust
  • Creates Brand Loyalty
  • Supports Brand Communication
  • Inspires Employees

For more, check out our post on What is Branding and Why is it Important?

Types of Branding

Before we get started on the technical stuff, let’s look at why you might want to start a blog, what the important things to consider, and what are the steps involved in starting a blog.

  • Product Branding
  • Personal Branding
  • Corporate Branding
  • Service Branding
  • Geographical Branding
  • Cultural Branding
  • Online Branding
  • Co-branding
  • Service Branding
  • Activist Branding
  • Ingredient Branding
  • Public Branding
  • NGO Branding
  • Minimalist Branding
  • Celebrity Branding
  • Luxury Branding
  • Ethical Branding
  • Investor Branding
  • Spiritual Branding
  • Influencer Branding
  • New Age Branding
  • Historical Branding
  • Educational Branding
  • White Label Branding
  • Gender Branding

For more, check out our full article on the different types of branding.

Brand Elements

Before we get started on the technical stuff, let’s look at why you might want to start a blog, what the important things to consider and what are the steps involved in starting a blog.

For more, check out our complete list of brand elements and their definitions.

How Long Does it Take to Build a Brand?

Building a brand usually takes anywhere from approximately 2 – 5 years, depending on a wide variety of factors. Smaller, freelance-type personal brands can take as little as 2 years, in some cases even less, while bigger corporations can take anywhere from 5 to 10 years to build up and establish a successful brand.

Factors That Influence Timelines

Many factors influence the timeline of building up a brand like:

  • Type of Business. The type of business you are starting, or thinking about starting, is one of the primary factors that can influence your timeline.
  • Industry. The type of industry can also heavily influence your timeline.
  • Resources. The type and amount of resources you have to invest in the brand-building process can also heavily influence your timeline to a successful brand
  • Competition. Competition is also a very big determining factor in your brand-building timeline and path to success.
  • Commitment. This might seem like a very obvious factor, but worth highlighting nonetheless.

Steps in The Brand-Building Process and How Long They Take

This particular brand-building process is one that I have personally developed from all my years of experience. I divided the process into phases, which are then further divided into various steps, that if followed correctly, should set you on your path to building a successful brand.

Phase 1:
Brand Idea
approx. 6 months – 2 yearsThis involves the discovery, decision, and development of the brand idea.
Phase 2 & 3:
Brand Strategy and Brand Identity
approx. 3 months – 1 yearThis involves the define, design, deployment of the brand, and the creation or expansion of the digital aspects of the brand.
Phase 4:
Brand Management
approx. 1 – 3 yearsThis phase involves delivering and driving, data analysis, and directing the brand’s marketing campaigns.
Phase 5:
Brand Image
ongoingThis phase is constant and is ongoing as long as the brand is active in the market.

For more, check out our full article on how long it takes to build a brand.

Building a Brand: Where to Start

Before we get started on the technical stuff, let’s look at why you might want to start a blog, what the important things to consider and what are the steps involved in starting a blog.

Phase 1: Brand Idea

Just like the foundation of a house, this first phase is crucial in the success of building your brand.

You might already have an idea of the business you want to start or you don’t and are simply looking to find a need in the marketplace that hasn’t been sufficiently met yet, for which you will create the business to fulfill that need.

You will need to do the proper feasibility studies, competitor analysis, find the key differentiation that would separate you and make you stand out from your competition, craft your brand voice and personality, and create the mission and vision that will drive your business and inspire you, employees and stakeholders, to buy into and believe in your brand.

Let’s look at the steps involved in this phase and what each step entails.

Discover Your Idea

This step involves discovering and crafting your big idea.

You could already have an idea of the brand you want to create in which case you would do some market research to evaluate the feasibility of your brand while giving you certain indications on how to craft your brand to fit the needs in the marketplace.

Alternatively, you might not have an idea at all and would do the necessary brainstorming and market research to find a need that is not being met in the marketplace, then craft your brand to fulfill that specific need.

You could also have a unique idea that doesn’t exist anywhere in the marketplace yet and for which the need is not their either. You would need to not only develop your idea but also develop the strategies of how to realize or create the need for your products or services in the marketplace.

Your market research and competitor analysis should give you some sense of where the gaps are in the market where you could place your brand. At this stage, it’s important to just put all the ideas on the table and work through it one by one over a some time until the more prominent ideas begin to take shape.


Develop Your Idea Into a Brand

Once you have decided to pursue your specific idea and compiled all the data from your market research, you would spend time on developing your basic idea into a brand.

At the end of this step, you should have a basic layout and structure of your idea and where your brand would fit into the marketplace.

Phase 2: Brand Strategy




What is a Brand Strategy and Why is it Important?

A brand strategy, or branding strategy, is the strategy used by a company to brand its products or services to allow for the most effective brand promise and positioning for the intended target audience of the particular products or services. The branding strategy best suited for a business will depend on the nature and scope of the brand and its products or services.

Types of Branding Strategies


  • Product Branding Strategy. Use to brand an individual product or individual products with their own unique branding, brand strategy, promise, and positioning in the market.
  • Line Branding Strategy. Used by a company to brand a line of products or services, or multiple complementary lines of products or services while sharing the branding, brand strategy, promise, and positioning of the master brand.
  • Range Branding Strategy. Used to brand a range of products or services that fall under the same area of competence, under their own unique brand with their own brand strategy, promise, and positioning, while also still being tied to the overall strategy and positioning of the master brand.
  • Umbrella Branding Strategy. Used to brand a multitude of products or services, lines of products or services, or ranges of products or services, under one umbrella brand, all leveraging the overall brand strategy, promise, and positioning of the master or umbrella brand.
  • Endorsed Branding Strategy.

For more, check out our complete guide on Brand Strategy.

Phase 3: Brand Identity

Once your foundations are solidly in place, it’s time to design and build your brand, just like you would your dream house.

This phase involves all of the creative designing as you work to create a visual representation of your brand’s personality, values and brand positioning in the marketplace.

Creating a brand identity involves the following 4 steps:

  1. Defining your brand – personality, emotions, values, brand positioning statement, voice, etc
  2. Designing your brand – logo, colors, fonts, etc
  3. Deploying your brand – brand style guide, collaterals, etc.
  4. Your digital brand – website, social media, SEO, etc.

Before we get into the finer details, let’s take a quick look at what exactly a brand identity is and why it’s important for your business.

What Makes a Brand Identity?

The various elements that make up a brand’s identity include:

  • Name
  • Personality
  • Emotions
  • Values
  • Audience
  • Differentiators
  • Brand Positioning
  • Mission Statement
  • Tagline
  • Brand Voice
  • Brand Architecture
  • Visual Identity
    • Colors
    • Typography
    • Shape
    • Icon
    • Logo (symbol)
    • Design Element (Secondary Brand Mark)
    • Imagery Style

When it comes to branding, the key lies in the word “cohesive”, and it is therefore critical to make sure your brand’s visual identity matches all of the other elements in your overall brand identity.

Define Your Brand

Defining your brand is a crucial step and forms the foundation on which your entire company will be built, along with your short and long term goals, and strategies.

Think of it as the laying of the foundation when building a house. Your entire brand identity and all your future marketing efforts will be based on how you defined your brand in this step. You should, therefore, spend the time and effort to get this part right to put your brand on the right track.

This step involves defining your audience to have a clear idea of the consumers who will most likely be engaging with your brand or the customers you want to attract to your brand.

Defining your brand involves creating/defining the following aspects of your brand:

  • Name.
  • Personality. A brand personality is the set of human attributes associated with your brand that your customers can relate to.
  • Emotions. Knowing what kinds of emotions your brand elicits in your customer are valuable data points for you to be aware of and capitalize on.
  • Values. Your brand’s core values are the things that you, as a brand and company as a whole, believe in, represent, and stand for.
  • Audience. It is imperative to have a deep understanding of the specific type of customer you want to sell your products or services to and know exactly how to communicate with them
  • Differentiators. The key differentiators that make your brand stand out from the competition in the marketplace.
  • Brand Positioning. A brand positioning statement is a unique, 1-2 sentence statement that in the simplest, yet most comprehensive way describes the service or product that your brand delivers to your specific target audience in a way that is unique in the marketplace and thereby differentiating you from your competitors.
  • Mission Statement. Your brand’s mission statement basically defines the purpose for your brand’s existence.
  • Tagline. A tagline is a short, memorable phrase that encapsulates the core of what your brand represents.
  • Brand Voice. Your brand voice is the way in which you communicate with your audience and the tone of that communication.
  • Brand Architecture. Similar to something like a family tree, brand architecture is a system that organizes a brand family in a way to show the complete structure of a brand and how it all fits together. It also helps customers to make sense of a brand.

Design Your Brand

The design step is where your brand’s visual identity is created, which would be a visual representation of your brand’s core principles, values, personality, and positioning.

Your brand’s visual identity is one of the most important components of the overall brand identity, because it is the visual representation of your brand and the one thing that will be seen by everyone in the marketplace. It is therefore critical to get it right and be the embodiment of who are as a brand.

Your brand’s visual identity is made up of the following:

  • Colors
  • Typography
  • Shape
  • Icon
  • Logo (symbol)
  • Design Element (Secondary Brand Mark)
  • Imagery Style

Deploy Your Brand

Once you have your brand’s visual identity designed, you need to deploy the visual concepts to all of your brand’s various collaterals that you would be using.

These collaterals include things like business cards, letterheads, envelopes, invoices, company brochures, promotional flyers, signages, email signatures, uniforms, advertisements, etc.

Build Your Digital Brand

We are living in a digital age and it is crucial for any brand to have a solid digital presence and to utilize this medium to its fullest.

Many brands would be exclusively digital, online businesses and would not need the deployment step.

This step includes the designing and development of websites, social media accounts, social media marketing campaigns, search engine optimization (SEO), etc.

For more, check out our complete guide on creating a Brand Identity.

Phase 4: Brand Management

The third phase is where you have to deliver your brand to the marketplace through marketing and awareness campaigns, digital marketing campaigns, product launches, store openings, etc.

I have created the four steps in this phase as a big feedback loop from delivering your brand in the various campaigns, to driving those campaigns on the various media channels, to collecting and analyzing data to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your campaigns, directing and re-aligning the campaign elements in a way to be more effective in achieving the short and long term goals of your brand, to finally redesigning your campaigns based on the new directives and delivering your brand again.

But before that, let’s take a quick look at what brand management is and why is it important for your brand

What is Brand Management and Why is it Important?

Deliver Your Brand

This step is where you deliver your brand to the market through various campaigns and other methods.

Examples of these are traditional marketing campaigns, experiential marketing campaigns, digital marketing campaigns, search engine optimization, social media marketing campaigns, product launches, store openings, and can also include things like specific staff training on how to communicate with customers, specific promotions that communicate something about your brand, etc.

This step focusses on crafting the overall campaign strategies and designing of the campaign material and collaterals.

Drive Your Brand

Now that you have your campaign ready to be rolled out, you need to find the drive them through the right channels to achieve the goals set out for the individual campaigns.

The channel selection is set out as part of the overall campaign strategy from the previous step, but this step is about ensuring that all the relevant elements are driven through the various channels in the most effective way.

Analyzing Data

Once your campaigns and/or other initiatives have been working its magic in the marketplace, it is vital to assess the impact and effect of your efforts through various assessment methods to collect the necessary data to make your determinations.

The advantage that you would have from your digital marketing campaigns compared to more traditional methods, is the sheer volume and quality real-time data you can access to assess the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. You can also make fairly quick adjustments to your digital campaigns compared to more traditional marketing methods, which is why I always encourage my clients to invest in digital while it is still very inexpensive compares to traditional media.

Direct Your Marketing

Just like a director on a movie set will direct the actors until they get exactly what they are looking for from a scene, you need to re-align your marketing efforts for maximum effectiveness.

This step is all about strategizing the necessary adjustments needed to improve your marketing efforts in general or towards a specific campaign, after which you will loop back to the delivery step and start again.

For more, check out our complete guide on Brand Management.

Phase 5: Brand Image

Before we get started on the technical stuff, let’s look at why you might want to start a blog, what the important things to consider and what are the steps involved in starting a blog.

What is a Brand Image?

Brand image is the perception of a brand in the mind of its customers. These perceptions are made up of the impressions, ideas, and beliefs that customers have about the brand.

Brand image is also:

  • Character. It is essentially the character of a brand as seen through the eyes of its customers and the individual characteristics they associate with a brand.
  • Connection. The connection that customers have with your brand and its personality.
  • Emotional value. The emotional value customers derive from your brand that drives their motivations for buying your products or services and want to be associated with your brand.

Brand image goes beyond customers just buying your products or services. They also choose to buy into and associate themselves with the image that comes with that product or service.

It’s essential to keep all your brand elements, marketing, and messaging consistent because different people could perceive your brand differently.

A brand image is made up of specific or conceptual attributes that drive the reasons why customers choose to engage with your brand and buy your products or services.

The three types of benefits to these associated attributes are:

  • Functional benefits – what you do better (than your competitors)
  • Emotional benefits – how you make them feel better (than your competitors)
  • Rational benefits/support – why they believe you (more than your competitors)

Examples of Brand Image

  • Coca-cola is original with a unique taste and it’s associated with times of happiness, joy, and good experiences, shared with friends.
  • Volvo is all about safety.
  • Rolls-Royce is an ultra-luxury, exclusive brand enjoyed only by the wealthy and elite.

Why is Your Brand Image Important?

A strong, positive brand image can make or break a brand. Here are some benefits of having a good brand image and how it can positively impact your brand.

  • Increases brand trust.
  • Increases brand loyalty
  • Inspires employees
  • Attracts new customers
  • Easily introduce new products or services.
  • Provides valuable feedback
  • Increases brand value

That being said, the flip side is also true in that having a bad brand image can negatively impact your brand and make it very difficult to perform well in the marketplace.

What Makes a Brand Image?

Brand image is essentially the end result of all of your branding and marketing efforts paying off once customers react to your products and services, and your brand, by engaging with your business.

There is most often a disconnect between a brand’s identity and its image, and it’s marketing efforts and messaging need to continuously recalibrated and realigned towards achieving this goal.

Similar to people and the impressions you have when first meeting them, customers’ first impression of your brand is very important for establishing a connection early on and leaving them with a positive image of your brand.

For more, check out our complete guide on Brand Image.

Brand Consultancy

Before we get started on the technical stuff, let’s look at why you might want to start a blog, what the important things to consider and what are the steps involved in starting a blog.

For more, check out our complete guide on Brand Consultancy.


Before we get started on the technical stuff, let’s look at why you might want to start a blog, what the important things to consider and what are the steps involved in starting a blog.