December 18, 2023

3 mins


What's Inside: A Sneak Peek at Our Brand Guide

Thomas Lee

CEO & Co-Founder

How can an emerging business build a strong brand identity? Start by building a powerful brand guide and strategy using these 5 proven steps.

Behind-the-Scenes: How to Create a Brand Guide for Startups

Have you ever mistaken a pair of Adidas shoes for Nike?  

We doubt it.

Yet, the ridiculousness of this question proves the power of branding. Even with hundreds of very similar competitors, your brand identity distinguishes you from them all. In fact, effective branding that connects to your target audience makes customers seek you out.  

But how can an emerging business build a brand identity like Nike?  

Well, it starts with a strong brand guide that’s guided and crafted by deep research into your business and audience. With it, you build the right product, run the right campaigns, create the right customer experience, and attract the right customers, setting yourself apart from the competition. All this helps ensure your business is unforgettable (in a good way!).  

Today, we’ll give you a sneak peek into the HyperPop branding process. We’ll also share branding tips on how we helped businesses like ArmSoar achieve their current growth and success.

5 Steps to Creating a Brand Strategy

Did you know that simply using a consistent colour palette helps brands be 80% more recognizable? While developing your brand is complex, some of it can be remarkably simple.  

Follow these 5 steps to give yourself a head start.

Step 1: Do Your Research

Imagine if Microsoft decided to sell a $2,000 computer to twelve-year-olds. It doesn’t make sense. Their product might be used by some kids for school, but most families don’t have that kind of budget—and neither do the kids.

That’s why researching is the crucial first step in your brand strategy.  

It ensures that your brand resonates with your audiences, fits the market and industry, and represents what you want for your company. Start your research by talking to your customers, sending surveys, conducting focus groups, and practicing social media listening.  

When we do market research for clients, we start with:

  • Target Audiences: What segments of the general population support your brand? You can also create detailed customer avatars and dive into their demographics and psychographics.  
  • Major Competitors: Which big brands do customers turn towards? Take note of what they do well and what they don’t.
  • Market Positioning: How do you fair compared to others and how saturated is your market niche?  
  • Status of your Industry: Is your industry growing, shrinking, or stagnating? This plays into your long-term company vision and is worth noting.
  • Inspirational Brands: Who do you admire? Looking at other brands that you respect in your industry or even outside it can help you forge your own path by seeing what works.

Pro Tip: Answer these 20+ branding questions in our free worksheet to start some of your market research.

Step 2: Craft Your Brand Identity

No one starts a business without reason. Generally, you build it to solve problems, share passions, or develop innovations. Knowing your business’s why, who, what, and how lays the foundations of an effective brand identity.  

Make sure to include the following to clarify your brand identity:  

  • Mission, Vision, and Values: These dictate your startup’s purpose. They guide your entire team toward the same goal because you’re all clear on WHY you exist.
  • Products, Services, Features, and Benefits: These are your company’s what and how. This part of your brand guideline details what you offer and what makes them attractive to customers.  
  • Positioning, Competition, SWOT, and Unique Selling Proposition: These cover how your product and brand differ from your competitors.  
  • Audience Segments and Customer Profiles: This defines who you’re targeting and share strategies to win them over effectively. It dives deep into the demographics and psychographics of your audience.

Step 3: Solidify Your Visual Brand Guidelines

UCLA reported that 80% of what we learn is visual. This shows the importance of having comprehensive visual brand guidelines. With a consistent presence every time your brand is seen, your brand becomes more memorable and trusted, and products more identifiable.  

When creating your visual brand guidelines, there is a lot to consider.  

We always include rules, best practices, and restrictions on the following graphic elements:

  • Logos: All businesses need a variety of logos for different purposes. We make sure that every client has this as well as tips for where and when to use them.
  • Colour Palettes: Primary and secondary colour palettes help give your designers more freedom as well as more guidance on the best ways to make your designs stand out.
  • Typography: Fonts might seem simple, but these are essential for all brand guidelines. It’s also an important part of accessibility, because some fonts just aren’t accessible or practical enough for people to read.
  • Videography: Next, if your brand does a lot of video marketing, then it’s good to define the rules surrounding that.  
  • Photography: All brands use photography in some way, so this section helps brands stay consistent.
  • Iconography: Finally, for websites, business cards, and flyers—it’s important to use consistent icons from social media links to how to represent your values.

Defining all of these design elements allows your team and business partners to know how to represent your brand correctly. You’ll also ensure that your company has a cohesive image across mediums.

Pro Tip: Learn more about Visual Brand Guidelines by reading our blog.

Step 4: Nail Your Brand Voice Guide

Imagine you meet someone for the first time. They sound mature, coherent, and professional. But the next time you meet, they start using slang and being rude. You’ll think something strange is going on or wonder if it’s even the same person.  

The same goes for your Brand Voice Guide. Even if your brand visual elements are on point, your customers will be suspicious if your brand voice is inconsistent.  

To nail your brand voice guide, lay down the rules on your brand language, tone, writing style, and personality. We also like to create a brand glossary, which is a list of jargon exclusive to your brand to make your personality more distinct. This also ensures your team is on the same page.

Step 5: Combine Everything into a Brand Guide

Now, it’s time to combine everything in one document. Make sure that your brand guide is clear and organized. That means anyone can fully understand your brand, even if they don’t work within your organization. Additionally, your brand guide should also be accessible to everyone who will be working on your brand.  

Establishing your brand is crucial to launching your business growth. It helps define your company culture, sets the direction of your marketing, and attracts the right customer to your business.  

Need help with branding for your growing business?  

At HyperPop, we’ve curated a team of expert marketers, writers, and designers with decades of experience. Reach out and let’s hype up your marketing.  

About The Author

Thomas Lee

CEO & Co-Founder

As a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of HyperPop, Thomas finds fulfillment in bringing his creative and professional ideas to life. Since 2010, he has founded and grown several businesses across multiple industries in Hong Kong and Vancouver. He has over a decade of experience in marketing, eCommerce, manufacturing, and logistics.