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In the world of branding, the terms used to refer to different processes can be confusing and frustratingly similar. So, before we discuss the stages of fashion branding, let’s get the jargon out of the way.
Branding is the umbrella term that refers to the process of coming to a consensus on a brands style, design, and purpose. In a way, branding is a verb, an action item. Brand identity design is the actual use of all of these conclusions to design the logo, decide the type, etc. A brand style is all of these elements like logos and packaging put into action across media, and a style guide or a brand guide is your one-stop reference point for all of these attributes.
Now that that’s understood let us look at the six key stages of the fashion branding process.
- Who Is Your Business? The ‘who’ is important, because every fashion business represents a distinct personality. Many people confuse this with, “who are you?” and quick ironically end up transferring their own personality to their brands. Branding professionals spend most of their time digging out this aspect- workshops, questionnaires, interviews are all a part of this process. This is also the stage where you define how your fashion brand’s personality aligns with business goals. For example, a house of fashion always puts quality over numbers.
- Where Is Your Market? In the second stage of the process, you need to understand if your business goals align with who you think your audience is. And for that to happen, you need to know your audience. Market research can be conducted through surveys, interviews with real people, designing consumer personas, etc. Your brand’s design eventually needs to appeal to these people.
- Designing The Logo. Most branding agencies design the logo before moving on to other visual elements. This is because your fashion brand’s logo has the highest recall value among your audience. A lot of thought, therefore, needs to go into it. Quick example: Think Forest Essentials, Nike, Good Earth. Surely, the logo popped into your mind with no effort involved.
- Designing The Visual Elements. Using the insights from steps one and two, and using the logo as inspiration, the visual elements are born. For example, think Zara. The typography used to represent the brand is recognizable in almost every language. Likewise, every fashion brand has elements other than the logo, such as what goes on a shopping bag, that help reinforce the brand’s image.
- The Corporate Kit. Once all these elements are in place, they still need to make sense to a designer, or a production manager. Most branding agencies also help with designing the visiting cards, letterheads, bags, boxes, etc. to depict how the branding elements must be used across different elements. Needless to say, this is also the aspect that most clients look forward to seeing.
- The Style Guide. This is like the bible of a fashion company’s branding exercise. A style guide is often a very comprehensive document, developed to serve as a future reference. Some branding agencies may pass on the mantle of advertising after a while. In such a case, the style guide helps all stakeholders use all of this material correctly.
As you can see, the first two stages of the branding process can seem like a black box to those just beginning to contemplate branding for their business. This is also why experts come into the picture at these stages- because a keen understanding of the industry and prior experience with niche branding always helps you come to more accurate conclusions.
Overwhelmed? Why not take a look at this article we did on branding secrets to know what you need to, and need not, do?
And as far as branding your fashion business goes, you’re in good hands because
a) We’re fashion branding experts, and can help you make the process seamless. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org for a consultation.
b) We’re dedicating the entire month to discussing all things branding and style. So, do drop in your questions, subscribe to the blog, and sign up for our newsletter (businesses, here and students, here) to learn more.
Supriya Ghurye is the founder and owner of Fuel4Fashion. She is a Freelance Fashion Designer and Brand Consultant helping fashion brands to create great products from idea to launch. Fuel4Fashion social links: Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram