HOW TO START A BRAND | cathhalim.com

HOW TO START A BRAND


On top of my full-time position as the Marketing Director of Ride Jakarta, I spend my time helping brands to strategize and provide consultation on how to achieve their goals. A brand is what identifies your product from other competitors. There are so many components to what makes up a successful brand — from branding, to sales strategy, and even to customer service. Before you start any business, be it an e-commerce or a traditional brick and mortar store — read on the below guide to set the tone for your business that you're about to start or a business that you already have. As a part of this guide, I'll be using two different fashion brands as a comparison of how they differ in terms of being a brand. The reason being why I chose these brands is because there are so many people who would like to start a clothing line. There can be a reason why you'd like to start something — perhaps you realize that there's a lack of such products in the marketplace, or perhaps you think that starting a clothing brand is an easy job and a money-making machine. There are plenty of reasons for you to start your own brand but read on below to guide you on building a brand that lasts.

The two brands that I'll be using for the purpose of this guide is Zara and Céline. Both companies have products that are of the same categories — women's clothing, accessories and shoes. Zara is a clothing company that focuses on providing fashion and quality for the best price while Céline is a luxury fashion house.

Picture Credit: Zara

Picture Credit: Céline

IMPORTANCE OF RESEARCH
Think of yourself as someone who is about to spend $3,000 on a 1-day gym membership. Do you think twice about spending that amount of money on it? What do you do before you pay that amount? Yes, exactly. Researching the market you're about to enter into is so important. If you're thinking twice about spending that amount of money, then that process should be incorporated into the brand that you're about to start. A successful business is when there is a demand for your product and that demand isn't just one-off. As it is so easy to start a brand these days (the only requirements being an Instagram account), there are so many brands. Take clothing brands for example, hands up if you realize that there is a new brand surfacing into the market daily. Know what is the product or service you're offering and understand whether there is a need for it. In a traditional luxury brand, it generally takes 6 to 8 months before someone can buy the look of the runway. The success of ZARA is outlined by its identification of delivering these trends to its customers faster than any other brands.

Photo Credit: Zara


SETTING A TONE FOR YOUR BRAND
Before the start of anything, understand the product you want to sell and set a tone for how you'd like to define your brand. Setting the right tone is key to building your business and will provide you a skeletal structure to pricing, target market, sales channel and promotional material. Before you go onto the next few steps, ask yourself — if you were to define your brand with three words, what would it be? For Zara, it would be trendy, affordable and fast-fashion. On the other hand, Céline would be luxurious, expensive and high-quality. With these definitions, it sets the tone of your brand and helps to provide a vision for your brand.

Picture Credit: Céline

Picture Credit: Zara

DEFINE YOUR TARGET MARKET
As much as you'd like to target the whole universe, the most important step of establishing a brand is to know who are the people you'd like to target. Different products naturally attract a different group of people. Different prices of a product attract another different group of buyers. You need to clearly define your target market before the start of your business because then you'd be able to identify how to sell to them. A person who shops at Zara may be completely different from a person who frequents a Céline store, depending on their disposable income or their level of product knowledge.

Picture Credit: Céline

BRANDING YOUR BRAND
Once you define what your brand is to become and who you're selling to, branding becomes far easier. Branding, as mentioned, is how you'd want another person to perceive your brand and is also what sets you apart from your competitors. As we move towards a generation whereby visuals are everything, how your brand looks becomes more important. Branding covers a bigger scope other than how your brand is presented visually. It is about the look and feel of your brand, the customer service of your brand, the sales channel of your brand and so much more. Imagine an online shop that only sells through Instagram and compare it to Céline which does not entertain any orders through Instagram, what does that tell you about the brand? A luxurious brand charges premium prices because of their brand equity (how much the brand is worth), the quality of their product, the service quality of how they provide their products and so much more. Why do you pay for a Céline bag that costs more than 10 times the price of a similar bag in Zara? If you're selling a premium priced product, invest in your brand by hiring someone who can visually present your brand at that premium price. 

Picture Credit: Céline

Photo Credit: Zara


KNOWING THE IMPORTANCE OF CONSISTENCY
When you pay a premium for a certain product, you're expecting to receive more. What makes the difference of paying for a $20 and a $2,000 bag? It could be store experience, packaging, after-sales service or consistency in your products. If you want to start a brand, know that consistency is key. If you're looking to start a luxurious brand, then everything needs to feel, look and be luxurious. At Céline, clothes costs at least $300 but consumers pay for it. This is because they know that at a premium price, they're receiving a high-quality piece of item.



The steps to starting a brand and making it successful takes time, patience and effort. It is not about just spending money on advertising. In fact, ZARA's success is credited to it almost having spend close to zero on traditional advertising. Being a marketeer is an interesting role because the landscape of marketing is always changing, I would also love to hear your thoughts or receive any questions on this article. Are you looking to start your brand? What are your thoughts or advice on starting your own brand? Share with me through email or comment below!

* Please note that the above post is solely based on my personal opinion and is solely for the purpose of discussion. 

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1 comment

  1. Wow its a nice post! You beautifully present everything in this post. I like this post very much. Thanks for sharing this post. Branding for business

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