How to build a brand from scratch

Building a brand is an intimidating prospect, and you might be tempted to plunge in without spending time on careful consideration and research beforehand. That's a mistake.

Here's a handy guide that should help you (fairly easily) identify the three core aspects of your brand - your audience, your brand values, and your tone of voice.

Define your demographic

A vital step in building your brand is finding your audience. It's challenging to create a successful brand until you know who you're designing for.

This stage should be taken at a gentle pace. If you only start thinking about your audience halfway through the branding process, you might have to go back and change things that no longer work.

Once you've made sure that your demographic is specific, you'll be able to research what that particular audience wants: which products do they buy? Do they prefer colourful or minimal design? What sort of things do they find ugly or cliched? Asking your demographic as many questions as possible at this stage is the best way to ensure you're moving on to the next step with plenty of research. The more you know about your demographic; the more successful your brand will be.

Define your emotional appeal

Lingerie designers make their customers feel sexy. High-street banks try to make their customers feel safe. High-end automotive companies want their customers to feel powerful.

Now you know who your audience consists of, what do you want them to feel when interacting with your brand? A designer will ask you questions to whittle the options down until you have a list of three emotions that feel like a good fit for your brand and your demographic.

Eliciting these emotions in your audience is your brand mission. Write it down like this:




when they interact with our



We want to help

[outdoor enthusiasts]


[proud, caring, ethical]

when they interact with our

[environmentally-friendly products]


We want to help

[all genders, all body-types]


[sexy, fun, fearless]

when they interact with our

[inclusive lingerie]

It can seem a bit fluffy, but spending a decent amount of time thinking about this will be helpful in defining your brand values - the qualities that distinguish you from your competitors.

Define your personality

Every brand has a personality. Brands like Innocent have a sassy, cheeky personality which means they're allowed to make jokes and interact with their audience on social media playfully. More serious brands, like Nike or The Financial Times, have a lot more gravitas. Finding the right voice for your brand can be tricky, but a good method is to try and identify public figures who align with your brand values and imagine them writing your marketing copy for you.

For example, if your brand spokesperson was Stephen Fry, how would he sound? Warm, friendly, and with an intelligent sense of humour. If your spokesperson was RuPaul, would it sound different? What if it was Oprah? They're both bright, reassuring and confident, however, RuPaul uses more pop culture references and double-entendre than Oprah, who takes herself more seriously, and never uses bawdy humour.

You should be able to find a celebrity spokesperson who aligns with your brand. Write down the features of their speech patterns, and whittle them down to four simple rules your brand should always follow when communicating with your demographic, like this:

Brand Spokesperson:

James Bond

Highly intelligent

Our grammar is impeccable but never obnoxious. We use short sentences to drive home our expertise. It's subtle. But it works. We don't need to show off, so we don't use words people won't have heard of.


We know what we're doing, and we want our demographic to be as confident in our skill as we are - but we've left arrogance and conceit in the past where it belongs.


We don't waste time trying to be friendly with our demographic - we win our audience over with our self-assured and comfortable use of technical language.

Once you've established your rules, ask yourself whether your audience will respond well to the tone of voice you've created. Ask yourself if your personality aligns with your brand values.

Once everything matches up, you should have established a solid foundation for your brand, which will help inform every decision you make as your company evolves.