Did you know that a Toyota and a Lexus are essentially the same car?
They’re one company, and line up a few of the models without the markers and you’d be hard-pressed to see the differences.
What compels people to pay Apple thousands for a laptop when they can get a PC version for a fraction of the cost?
Why does Target have a huge and raving fan base… while people lament walking into a Wal-Mart?
The answer is simple: a well-crafted and perfectly positioned brand.
They have created customer experiences that delight and messages that connect in a way that create a new identity. They make it easy for people to say “yes” to paying more for the same outcome.
The difference between the person selling $1,000 products and services and the one selling $10,000 products and services isn’t just results or experience (at least we hope that’s the case), but it is almost always their branding as well.
As your business grows, it’s important to make sure that you’ve got a premium brand to go along with it so you can grow too.
What is a premium brand?
A premium brand sets you apart from your competition. It instantly establishes some level of trust and elevates you above those in your niche.
At the very base level, it shows people that you are polished, professional, and take your business seriously… and that immediately helps cement in your audience’s brain that you’re legitimate.
Finally, a premium brand speaks to premium customers and clients. It communicates your vision, values, and voice in such a way that the people you really want to sell to are drawn in. They see who you are and it speaks to them directly.
That instant connection increases the trust in you, your business, and what you can do for them… which creates the ability to sell higher priced offers or, at the very least, sell more of them.
What are the essential elements of a premium brand?
When I say the word “brand,” the image in your mind probably went first to a logo then likely on to some colors. And, yes, those are important elements… but what makes a premium brand is SO much more than the look.
It goes deeper. It can’t be superficial. It has to be very clear, and today I want to break down some of the areas that you need to get crystal clear in order to be able to create a brand that builds the trust necessary for you to charge premium prices for your offers.
Getting to know your audience is essential to nailing every other piece of your brand. If you don’t know who your business serves intimately, you’ll never know how to position yourself in the market to attract them.
Plain and simple.
The first step in creating any kind of brand—but especially a premium one—is to develop a very clear picture of who your audience is. This helps you cater directly to them and avoid wasting time attracting the wrong people to your site and services.
This picture needs to include both basic demographic details and more abstract characteristics and traits. You need to ask yourself questions like…
- Where do they live?
- What do they do for work?
- How old are they?
- What are their biggest challenges?
- What do they dream about?
- What do they do for fun?
Focusing only on the demographics is too shallow, but focusing only on the heart side can make it hard to know how to appeal to your people visually. That’s why you have to have every aspect of the picture built out in order to craft the brand that draws in just the right person (and not all the wrong ones).
The tone of your brand is a key piece of the branding puzzle. A tone is the general character or attitude. This is conveyed in words and visuals to create a well-rounded expression of your business in the world.
When you are creating a premium brand, you need to establish a definitive tone through the look and feel of your elements. This ensures that the brand you develop is consistent and cohesive across all platforms, and because it’s deeply rooted, it often grows with your business through multiple evolutions.
A consistent tone drives all of the design and messaging behind your brand, and it all starts with getting to know your brand’s vision, values, and voice. You need to ask yourself questions like…
- Why did I start a business?
- What does my brand bring to the world?
- What are my non-negotiables in how I work and in my clients?
- What elements of my personality do I want to bring into my business?
When you put this piece together with the audience you desire to attract, you’ll start to see how to shape your message and the visuals behind your brand for maximum impact.
When you’ve worked through the audience and the tone, you have established the internal foundation for all the external brand elements. Now we turn to those external elements—the message and the visuals.
We start with the message because it helps to provide the initial context for the visual identity we will create. It gives us the feelings we want to share because we’ve done the work to dig them up.
This is one of my favorite parts because now we’re getting really practical. Here are some questions you can ask at this stage…
- What stories define you as a business or brand?
- What is the value you provide your customers?
- How do you impact their lives?
With those answers, you are then able to establish the ultimate message you want to send to your audience. Once you nail down this piece, you can use it to drive every piece of communication you put out into the world.
The fourth and final piece of a premium brand is the actual design, and it does, in fact, go in that order.
Establishing your visual brand before getting the clarity from those other three pieces creates a disconnected look that ultimately confuses people and leads to losing customers—especially high-end ones.
The visual design of your brand should be created systematically so that when you’re done, you have a set of elements that comprise a cohesive and consistent brand (while still having the flexibility to grow as your business does).
Your brand’s visual design should include these 3 elements at the very least:
This is a set of logos that will act as the cornerstone for your brand. You should always have one primary logo that is your most visible and recognizable. But your system may also include logo variations that can be used in different contexts. For example, your brand may include a monogram or a version of your logo that is meant for smaller sized applications.
You need to not only develop these but also develop the guidelines for how they’re used so you can be consistent instead of confusing.
Second, you should have a system of typography that is used in all the applications for your brand. This includes type that works in print and on the web. And whatever this includes for you, they should be used consistently everywhere.
In most cases, if you use one typeface for headlines on the web, you should use that same typeface for headlines in a brochure you’re printing. This kind of consistency adds a level of professionalism and trust.
Last but not least, you need a color palette that reflects your brand’s tone. Color is one of the best ways to establish a look and feel for your brand because it makes an immediate impact.
It’s important to establish a system of colors that can be used consistently across applications and also for specific purposes. Your palette should always include at least one primary color, at least one highlight color and at least one neutral color.
Here’s the real bottom line of all of this:
Having a brand creates consistency.
Consistency creates trust.
Trust creates customers.
And the more trust you have, the more premium your brand becomes and the better positioned you are to charge more, sell more, and make more.