The 10 Commandments of Proper Branding

Brand awareness and recognition are the most powerful tools in any company’s marketing toolbox. Without those, any of your efforts will be in vain. And in order to build a strong brand, there are some basic principles that any company must follow. Whether your goal is to expand your brand locally, nationally, or internationally, you’ll need to be able to strike the delicate balance between providing great services and/or products and tailoring your approaches to the various demographics you’re trying to reach. Here are the 10 commandments any business trying to build their brand or brand image should follow.

Thou Shall Know Your Target Market

The first thing you should do is make sure that you know your demographic and target market. This is the only way you’ll be able to not only create a brand that people will recognize but make sure that any effort at branding sticks.

Pinpointing your main demographic becomes increasingly crucial nowadays with the various tools at our disposal and online marketing methods that allow us to laser target campaigns to very specific groups and micro niches. Understanding your demographic is especially important for people with smaller marketing budgets who can’t afford to waste money on a shotgun approach.

Thou Shall Deliver On Your Promise

Marketer extraordinaire Guy Gabriele once said that brands are not what you want or wish them to be, but a promise. The gap between how big the promise is and how you deliver will eventually dictate what people think of your brand.

If you want people to have a positive image of your brand, stop focusing on your message and try instead to understand what kind of promise your brand is making. Either revise your promise for something more realistic or over deliver. These are the only two ways you can directly improve your brand’s perception with the public.

Thou Shall Use Storytelling to Your Advantage

Every brand should have a story, and conveying this story should be one of your major objectives when building awareness for it. The story needs to be consistent and connect with your target audience.

If you want to build a solid brand story, you want to first know what you want your brand to be known for. Let’s imagine you were featured on the first page of Forbes five years from now, what would you want your story to be about? Innovation? Quality? Great customer care?

The difference between storytelling and brand building is that you can completely control your story but not your brand. As a matter of fact, your story is only the starting seed of your brand, the rest is all perception. At the end of the day, storytelling is all about building an emotional connection between your brand and the customer. A connection that will allow you to cut through the clutter and make a lasting impression.

Any emotion, whether it is actually related to your product or not, can have a direct influence on your customers’ buying decisions. These emotions will be registered as part of the whole package, and will eventually fuse with your product and brand. Learning how to tell a story in this day and age is essential. For instance, a company like Upswing Creative will be able to take your brand’s essence form a story and convey it through video. They’ll also be able to look into your brand and give you suggestions on how to tailor your message and create a brand story that will resonate with your main demographic.

Thou Shall not Overthink your Brand’s Mission Statement

At the end of the day, building a nice mission statement for your brand may make you feel good about yourself. But again, what you say your brand is or what you think it is, is completely irrelevant when it’s all said and done. Brands live in your customers’ head, and it’s their direct relationship with your products and services that will matter.

Thou Shalt Always Work on Improving Your Brand

We all know that consistency is essential in any line of business, but you have to go beyond simple replication. Brands who work on constant improvement manage to constantly reinvent their brand. Improvement slowly becomes part of their brand and will not only reinforce their brand image with their core audience but allow it to expand.

Thou Shall Use Viral Marketing With Caution

Yes, viral marketing could potentially bring your brand in front of millions of eyes and could be a great way to spread your brand for a relatively low cost. But here again, you never know what could happen and could lose all control over the way your brand is expressed.

Not only that, but the reward is often not worth the risk. Morpheus Software once released a kitty viral video that was made using their photo morphing software. While the video did well over four million views, it did very little for the brand. As a matter of fact, it was said that they only made back about one cent for every view. So don’t bank on being the next viral sensation or think that it will automatically reach the people you want to.

Thou Shall Use all the Tools at Your Disposal

Make sure that you focus on all forms of media and platforms, but make sure that you are where your audience matters the most. Do your research on where your target audience congregates and which type of content they consume the most. You’ll then be able to tailor a content marketing strategy that will allow you to reach them where they are. This will also allow you to know where and on each type of content you should spend most of your money and attention while testing new methods and channels.


Building a brand is about more than dreaming about a mission statement, logos, or color palettes. It’s about making your value proposition clear from the jump, spreading your brand through the proper channels and supports, and ultimately delivering.