Why brands are like cakes...

Brands are created from the inside out, and experienced from the outside in... In this article I'll explain why a brand is a bit like a cake, and how building a brand properly, from the inside out is the correct process to follow to create an attractive brand.

Added on:

June 13, 2023

File under:

Branding

Written by:

Ben Stanbury

If a client wishes to have a brand identity designed for their company with Prosper, I will take them through a Brand Strategy Workshop. This is a workshop the client completes with me where I seek to understand a multitude of things about the business, the people behind it, and how they help their customers.  

Clarity: The internal part of your brand

One of the first steps I take in the brand workshop is to uncover the internal brand values of the company. This part of the strategy workshop is called the 'internal brand' and is developed through conversations with the company owners and directors. What are the company's objectives on a day-to-day basis, and what are its long-term goals? Together we will also seek to define what the company's values are and what kind of promise they are making to their customer.

Using the 'brand as a cake' analogy, this internal brand is the 'ingredients' of your cake, which gives your brand its uniqueness, or its 'flavour' if you like.  It is the very first thing we discuss in a brand strategy workshop and is there to provide unified clarity and direction for the business owner as we move forward through the strategy and branding process.

Communication: The messaging and personality part of your brand

Next, we look at your target audience, competitors and point of difference, the three pillars that will make up your brand positioning. Referring back to your internal band we'll explore ways to communicate how your brand is meaningfully different to that of the competition. How will you stand out, and what do you want to be known for? What is the one thing you want your customers to understand about your company?

The internal brand is the very first thing we discuss in a brand strategy workshop and is there to provide unified clarity and direction for the business owner as we move forward through the strategy and branding process.


A series of exercises look at your ideal customer personas, and what kind of traits they share. What do they have in common, and what are their pain points? Only once we understand your customers, can we then begin to develop a brand personality that will appeal to them. We begin to craft and shape this brand personality through discussions around tone-of-voice and brand character. How should your brand come across, and act? Are you formal and conservative, or youthful and humorous? What sort of language might your brand use on its website for example, in order o attract these kinds of customers, and stand out from the competition?


During this communication stage, as we build this personality and positioning, those ideals and visions around our internal brand start to take shape. It is this 'substance' that surrounds and breathes life into the 'ingredients' of your internal brand that helps it become more tangible.

Connect and Captivate: Your brand strategy is made visible

Finally, we move on to the way you present your brand, both verbally and visually which can be thought of as making your brand strategy visible. Remember, as humans we interpret things visually, and the first interaction your customer has with your brand may be a visual one. Your brand will be seen through what is known as 'customer touchpoints'.

This will include your website, your social media channels and of course your brand identity design, essentially anywhere your customers experience your brand in the 'real world'. You can imagine these visible, public-facing parts of your brand as the decoration on the 'brand cake', and this is what I refer to as the 'connect and captivate' stage.


How are brands experienced?

So we've seen that all brands are unique, and once we've uncovered the motivations and drivers that create the internal brand, this clarity lays the foundation for the brand to connect and captivate its audience through a visual identity system. This is the order in which we create a brand. Now let's consider how a brand is experienced.


Remember, your potential customers will experience your brand in reverse to the way you build it. The first interaction your customers may have with your brand is through its website and its brand identity (created during the latter parts of a branding project).

Remember, your potential customers will experience your brand in reverse to the way you build it. The first interaction your customers may have with your brand is through its website and its brand identity (created during the latter parts of a branding project).


As your customer experiences your brand (by looking through your website for example) they will develop a deeper understanding of your brand personality, your tone-of-voice and how you help your target audience.

Later, if this potential customer chooses to buy from you they will begin to understand if your brand is fulfilling its brand promise. It will be clear if your company is adhering to the values claimed during the internal brand workshops, as these will reflect in the level of service provided and the subsequent reputation the brand develops.

A final analogy... Let's take the cake...

So imagine you've created a brand from the inside out. Your brand 'cake' sits on the window of a bakers, decorated and looking scrumptious, standing out among the other cakes vying for attention. Now you wait for the customers.

Someone walks past and sees your cake, and they are immediately attracted to it. They purchase it and take their first bite. If there's substance to the cake and it tastes as good as it looks, they'll take another bite. Ultimately, when they've eaten the entire cake they'll tell their friends to buy one (i.e. use your services).

You attracted the customer with a visual identity that suggested certain qualities about your brand. It created a perception and helped your stand out from the competition. Then, as your customer went through the process of experiencing this brand they resonated with the communication and personality and ultimately discovered that you delivered an authentic service.  

So when you build a brand properly, from the inside out, it goes to show you can have your cake and (they'll) eat it...


Have a project in mind? Get in touch with me here...