Build Your Brand: Branding is the key to building a relationship with your audience. Without it, you aren’t identifiable or memorable. Yet, there’s so many businesses out there that do not invest in their branding. 

In our latest Business Leaders episode, we discover how to use branding to maximise business opportunities. We learn this expertise from Oranga Creative’s Chiho Tang, who calls himself the ‘creative thinker’ behind the company.

To find out more, check out our full Business Leaders interview below, or read on for the highlights.

Talking Branding and Starting a Business with Chiho Tang 

Chiho has grown his working knowledge over 15 years, starting out as an in-house designer and building his career to the point where he could consider setting up his own business.

Why did Chiho decide to leave salaried work and how did he find setting out as his own boss?

Build your brand with Chiho Tang

“I just thought I was young enough to take the risk, because if I blew it and had to redo it I would’ve easily been able to go into employment again.

“I thought ‘if I don’t do this now, I might not ever do it’.”

His company, Oranga Creative, is a multidisciplinary design studio based on the Lisburn Road in Belfast. It offers a full range of creative services, including graphic, print and digital design. It also specialises in brand identity, conceptual design, advertising, illustrations and visual communication.

As Chiho says – he and his team live and breathe everything design-related.

“We do any type of design really. I’ve always said ‘if you’re a designer, you’re a designer’, as you can design with a spoon if you have to, you don’t need fancy software or computers.”

However, with this immense creativity can come crazy requests from clients!

“The maddest brief I’ve ever had was ‘can you design a bus wrap?’ I’d never wrapped a bus before so my spec was ‘the size of a bus and make it stand out’. I came up with a concept that the client, their boss and their CEO liked as well. We went live within four days.

“We’ve always said ‘give us a challenge and we’ll see what we can do’.”

In the early days of the business, the process of branding the fledgling Oranga Creative business was a challenge for Chiho.

“It’s like naming your own baby, you constantly pick a name and then think ‘I don’t like it’ or ‘I’ve heard that name before’. It took us a very long time.”

Eventually, Chiho decided to go with a name that was personal and synonymous with himself.

“A few people thought it was funny to take the mickey out of my own surname so the name ‘Oranga Tang’ came along. The trouble was that people can’t spell it properly so I shortened it to Oranga. I would say there’s a lot of myself in the brand, my brand is big and bold and has a bit of a fun to it.”

chiho tang oranga creative
Chiho Tang, Owner of Organa Creative, is passionate about all things design and going the extra mile for clients who want to stand out with their branding. Image credit: Organa Creative

Build Your Brand: The Importance of Branding

In our interview, Chico reflected on the importance of design. He emphasised mainly on how essential it is for businesses to have their own personal brand. According to the branding expert, a lot of professional businesses just don’t ‘get’ branding.

“A lot of people don’t really understand what branding really is.

“Branding is not just a logo, it’s how people perceive you straight away. It’s how you present yourself, it could be your colour and it could be your personality.”

Chiho gives an example of just how deep your branding goes.

“For example, a few years ago Nike had an issue with mass-production of their clothes in sweatshops. When people say something is bad for your brand, they don’t mean you’re breaking your logo. They mean you’re doing something people would see as a bad thing, which in turn harms your brand.”

Branding is how you portray yourself and how people see you as a company, making it incredibly important to invest in.

“For example, if people see me and if they don’t like the way I look, they will think I have a ‘bad brand’ and won’t want to hear or use my ideas or concepts. If they see me as the friendly, approachable person I am, they’ll think ‘this person has a good brand’.

“For businesses for instance, if you’re a painter and decorator and you turn up to someone’s house in a rusty van, people will think ‘I don’t think I want him in my house’, so you have already given yourself a bad brand.”

This highlights how perception is one of the most important signals when it comes to creating a connection with a potential customer. But what are the most common mistakes companies make when developing their brand?

“I think the main mistake is not being proud of your own brand and your ideas not transferring to reality. This is one of the hardest things to perfect. The most important thing about creating a brand is thinking about how you want people to see you.

“If you want people to see you as professional, then your brand has to say professional – if you want people to see you as a fun-loving company, then you want a brand that says the same thing.”

What does the creative process look like when a client comes to Oranga Creative for help with their brand? One of the most important things for Chiho is intricate research.

“One of our most frustrating things is when we say to a client ‘what does your competitor do?’ or ‘what way do you see yourself?’ and they say ‘I don’t know, I just want a logo’. That’s not a brand, that’s just a pretty logo.”

By spending time doing research, this can help spark ideas and initiate a solid strategy – something people often don’t consider doing.

“You need to say: ‘here’s what our competitors are doing, we want to go against them’ or ‘these are the same people who have the same values as us, we want to show that we have the same values’. It’s not copying, we just want to know what’s in your mind. What you like and don’t like. When you’re designing, for 90% of it you’re trying to pick what’s in the person’s mind.”

To discover more expert insights from Chiho, check out our full Business Leaders interview. To get in touch with Oranga Creative.

Why you should build a brand

Benefits of Building a Strong Brand:

1. Increased Recognition and Awareness:

  • Stand out from the crowd: A strong brand cuts through the noise of a crowded marketplace, making your business instantly recognizable and memorable. Consumers actively seek out and engage with brands they recognize, putting you at the forefront of their minds.
  • Gain a competitive edge: Strong brand recognition translates to market share dominance. When faced with similar options, consumers are more likely to choose the brand they know and trust, giving you a leg up on competitors.
  • Enhanced marketing reach: Brand recognition amplifies the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. A recognizable brand logo or tagline creates instant context and resonates with viewers, leading to higher click-through rates and greater conversion potential.

2. Helps Establish Credibility and Trust:

  • Build trust and loyalty: A strong brand conveys expertise, professionalism, and reliability. This fosters trust within your audience, encouraging them to engage with your brand and become loyal customers.
  • Attract top talent: A strong brand attracts talented individuals who want to be associated with a successful and respected organization. This gives you access to a larger pool of qualified candidates and helps retain top performers.
  • Boost employee morale: Working for a well-regarded brand instills pride and confidence in employees. This translates to increased motivation, higher engagement, and improved overall performance.

3. Allows you to Charge Premium Prices:

  • Command a premium: A strong brand perceived as high-quality and valuable allows you to charge premium prices for your products or services. Customers are willing to pay more for brands they trust and perceive as offering superior value.
  • Increased profitability: Premium pricing translates to higher profit margins, allowing you to reinvest in the business, expand your offerings, and create a sustainable competitive advantage.
  • Signal exclusivity and value: Higher prices can create an aura of exclusivity and luxury, further strengthening your brand image and attracting customers who value quality and premium experiences.

4. Creates an Emotional Connection with Customers:

  • Go beyond transactions: A strong brand fosters an emotional connection with your audience, building loyalty that goes beyond product features or price. Customers connect with your brand values, story, and mission, creating a sense of community and belonging.
  • Drive brand advocacy: When customers feel emotionally invested in your brand, they become vocal advocates, recommending your products and services to others. This organic word-of-mouth marketing is invaluable for attracting new customers and building brand trust.
  • Enhance customer lifetime value: Emotionally connected customers are more likely to make repeat purchases, stay engaged with your brand, and advocate for it. This increases their lifetime value, contributing to long-term business growth and stability.

5. Differentiates you from Competitors:

  • Stand out in a crowded market: A strong brand differentiates you from the competition by clearly communicating your unique value proposition and positioning you as the preferred choice. Customers recognize what makes your brand special and why it’s a better fit for their needs.
  • Minimize competitive threats: A strong brand acts as a barrier to entry for competitors, making it harder for them to replicate your success and attract your customers. This gives you a strategic advantage and protects your market share.
  • Become an industry leader: A consistently strong brand establishes you as a thought leader and trusted authority in your field. This attracts valuable partnerships, expands your reach, and strengthens your overall market position.

6. Provides Consistency across Channels:

  • Deliver a seamless experience: A strong brand ensures a consistent brand voice, visuals, and messaging across all touchpoints, online and offline. This creates a unified brand experience and builds trust with customers who encounter your brand in various ways.
  • Simplify internal operations: Consistent branding guidelines make it easier for employees across departments to communicate effectively and maintain brand integrity. This streamlines operations, reduces errors, and ensures a cohesive brand message.
  • Maximize brand recognition: Consistency reinforces brand recognition. Seeing your brand logo, color scheme, or tagline consistently will solidify your brand image in customers’ minds, regardless of the channel they’re interacting with.

7. Enables Growth and Scaling of Business:

  • Attract new customers and markets: A strong brand opens doors to new customer segments and expands your reach beyond your initial target audience. This allows you to scale your business efficiently and tap into new growth opportunities.
  • Build a strong foundation for expansion: A well-established brand serves as a valuable asset when venturing into new product lines, geographic markets, or business partnerships. It provides instant recognition and trust, giving you a head start in new endeavors.
  • Increase brand equity: A strong brand becomes a valuable asset on its own, contributing to overall company valuation and generating potential revenue through licensing or brand partnerships.
personal brand

Elements of an Effective Brand Strategy:

1. Defining Your Target Audience:

  • Know your ideal customer: Who are you trying to reach with your brand? Understanding their demographics, psychographics, values, and needs is crucial for crafting a brand message that resonates.
  • Segment your audience: Don’t treat everyone the same. Divide your target audience into smaller groups with specific needs and preferences, allowing for tailored messaging and marketing initiatives.
  • Conduct market research: Use surveys, interviews, and data analysis to understand your target audience’s attitudes, behaviors, and pain points. This research informs your brand strategy and ensures you’re addressing their needs effectively.

2. Creating a Distinct Brand Identity and Personality:

  • Develop your brand vision and mission: What do you want your brand to achieve and stand for? A clear vision and mission guide your brand decisions and communicate your core values to customers.
  • Craft your brand personality: What kind of personality does your brand have? Is it fun and playful, professional and trustworthy, or bold and innovative? Define your brand personality to guide your communication and build an emotional connection.
  • Differentiate yourself from competitors: What makes you unique? Identify your competitive advantage and use it to create a distinct brand identity that sets you apart from the crowd.

3. Having a Consistent Brand Voice and Messaging:

  • Find your brand voice: How do you want to talk to your audience? Develop a consistent voice that reflects your brand personality and resonates with your target audience.
  • Use clear and concise language: Avoid jargon and technical terms, communicate your message in a way that is easy to understand and engaging.
  • Maintain consistency across channels: Ensure your voice and messaging remain consistent across all touchpoints, from your website and social media to marketing materials and customer interactions.

4. Developing Recognizable Visual Branding:

  • Design a memorable logo: Your logo is the visual centerpiece of your brand. It should be unique, memorable, and reflect your brand personality.
  • Choose a consistent color palette: Color creates emotion and association. Choose a color palette that aligns with your brand personality and resonates with your target audience.
  • Develop branding guidelines: Create a set of guidelines to ensure visual consistency across all brand materials. This includes fonts, typography, imagery, and design elements.

5. Delivering a Cohesive User Experience:

  • Optimize your website and online presence: Make sure your website and other online platforms are user-friendly, intuitive, and visually appealing. Provide a seamless user experience across all devices and platforms.
  • Ensure customer service excellence: Train your customer service team to embody your brand personality and deliver exceptional service that reflects your brand values.
  • Personalize interactions: Tailor your communication and interactions to individual customers to create a stronger connection and enhance their overall experience.

6. Building Relationships with Customers:

  • Engage with your audience: Connect with your customers on a deeper level through social media, email marketing, and personalized interactions. Go beyond just selling and focus on building relationships and fostering loyalty.
  • Encourage customer feedback: Actively seek feedback from your customers to understand their needs and improve your brand offerings. Feedback helps you refine your strategy and ensure you’re delivering what your audience wants.
  • Reward loyalty: Implement loyalty programs and incentives to thank your customers for their business and encourage continued engagement with your brand.

7. Crafting a Brand Story and Purpose:

  • Connect with your audience on an emotional level: Develop a compelling brand story that resonates with your target audience. Share your mission, values, and journey to create an emotional connection and build trust.
  • Define your brand purpose: Find your “why.” What is your brand’s reason for being beyond just making money? A clear purpose gives your brand meaning and inspires employees and customers alike.
  • Align your purpose with social impact: Connect your brand with a larger cause or social issue that your target audience cares about. This creates a sense of meaning and purpose beyond just personal gain.

By strategically incorporating these elements, you can develop an effective brand strategy that connects with your target audience, differentiates you from competitors, and drives long-term business success. Remember, building a strong brand is an ongoing process, so continuous refinement and adaptation based on market trends and customer feedback are crucial for maintaining relevance and staying ahead of the competition.

Tips for Building Your Brand:

1. Research Your Target Audience Insights:

  • Go beyond demographics: Don’t just stop at age, gender, and location. Dig deeper into their interests, values, pain points, and online behavior. This helps you tailor your brand message and resonate with their needs.
  • Conduct surveys and interviews: Talk directly to your target audience to understand their perceptions, preferences, and challenges. This qualitative data offers invaluable insights for shaping your brand strategy.
  • Analyze your competitors: Understand how your competitors are targeting your audience and identify gaps in their approach. This allows you to differentiate yourself and offer something unique.

2. Pick a Brand Name and Design a Logo:

  • Choose a memorable name: Your brand name should be easy to remember, pronounce, and spell. It should reflect your brand personality and resonate with your target audience.
  • Invest in a good logo: Your logo is a visual representation of your brand. It should be unique, impactful, and scalable. Hire a professional designer or use a reputable logo design service.
  • Maintain consistency: Once you’ve chosen your brand name and logo, use them consistently across all platforms to build brand recognition and establish a clear brand identity.

3. Be Consistent Across Platforms:

  • Maintain a unified voice and message: Whether on your website, social media, or marketing materials, use a consistent tone, language style, and messaging that reflects your brand personality.
  • Develop brand guidelines: Create a document outlining your brand voice, logo usage, color palette, and other visual elements. This ensures consistency across all touchpoints and helps everyone working on your brand stay aligned.
  • Integrate your brand across channels: Don’t silo your brand activities. Connect your website, social media, email marketing, and other online presences to create a cohesive brand experience for your audience.

4. Leverage Social Media for Brand-Building:

  • Choose the right platforms: Focus on where your target audience spends their time. Create dedicated profiles on relevant platforms and optimize them for your brand.
  • Engage with your audience: Respond to comments and messages promptly, participate in conversations, and share valuable content. This builds relationships and fosters trust with your audience.
  • Run targeted campaigns: Utilize paid advertising options on social media platforms to reach specific demographics and interests within your target audience.

5. Focus on Delivering Value and Building Trust:

  • Offer high-quality products or services: Your brand is only as good as what you offer. Prioritize quality, customer satisfaction, and exceeding expectations to build trust and loyalty.
  • Be transparent and authentic: Don’t make false promises or mislead your audience. Share your values, be open about your business practices, and demonstrate genuine care for your customers.
  • Build positive relationships: Go the extra mile for your customers and partners. Create positive experiences that resonate and encourage them to advocate for your brand.

6. Create Engaging and Shareable Content:

  • Know your audience’s interests: Create content that your target audience will find valuable, informative, and entertaining. Focus on topics relevant to their needs and challenges.
  • Utilize different formats: Experiment with different content formats like blog posts, videos, infographics, and social media posts to keep your audience engaged.
  • Encourage sharing: Make it easy for your audience to share your content by adding social media buttons and creating shareable formats like infographics or memes.

7. Monitor Online Reviews and Feedback:

  • Actively track online reviews: Regularly check review platforms, social media mentions, and customer surveys to see what people are saying about your brand.
  • Respond to feedback: Address both positive and negative feedback promptly and professionally. Thank your customers for their positive feedback and show appreciation for their loyalty.
  • Learn from criticism: Use negative feedback as an opportunity to improve your products, services, or brand experience. Address legitimate concerns and work towards resolving issues.

By implementing these detailed tips, you can embark on a strategic and effective journey towards building a strong brand that resonates with your target audience, delivers value, and achieves long-term success.

Remember, brand building is an ongoing process, so continuous learning, adaptation, and engagement are key to stay ahead of the curve and cultivate a thriving brand.

Frequently Asked Questions about Building Your Brand

Q: How long does it take to build a strong brand?

A: There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, as it depends on your industry, target audience, and existing brand recognition. However, building a truly strong brand takes consistent effort and dedication over time. Focus on delivering value, building trust, and adapting to trends, and you’ll gradually see your brand gain traction and resonate with your audience.

Q: I’m not sure what my brand voice is. How can I find it?

A: Think about your brand personality and your target audience. Are you playful and humorous? Professional and trustworthy? Bold and innovative? Imagine how you’d like to speak to your ideal customer in a natural, engaging way. Analyze your competitors’ voices and identify gaps you can fill with your unique tone. Experiment with different writing styles and see what resonates with your audience.

Q: I don’t have a big budget for branding. What can I do?

A: You don’t need a huge budget to start building a strong brand. Leverage free tools like social media platforms and content creation apps. Get creative with visual elements like DIY photography and design software. Focus on delivering high-quality content and engaging with your audience authentically. Building trust and value organically is just as important as expensive marketing campaigns.

Q: How can I measure the success of my branding efforts?

A: Track key metrics like website traffic, social media engagement, brand mentions, and customer reviews. Monitor sales conversions and customer satisfaction rates. Use analytics tools to understand how your audience interacts with your brand and identify areas for improvement. Remember, brand building is a long-term investment. While immediate results are great, focus on consistent progress and building a loyal customer base that stands for your brand values.

Conclusion: Building a Legacy

Your brand is more than just a logo or a tagline. It’s the story you tell, the values you represent, and the emotional connection you forge with your audience. By understanding your target audience, delivering value, and engaging authentically, you can build a strong brand that stands the test of time.

Embrace continuous learning, adapt to changing trends, and never stop striving to improve. Remember, every interaction you have is an opportunity to shape your brand narrative and leave a lasting impression. Start building your brand today, and watch it evolve into a legacy that inspires and resonates with your audience.

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