How long does it take to build a brand? 10 steps to speed up the branding process

How Long Does It Take To Build A Brand

How long does it take to build a brand? It’s a question we encounter a lot as a branding specialist. Every business owner knows they need an incredible brand to connect with their customers and generate sales, but no-one wants to wait years to see results.

We get it. The faster you launch your brand, the quicker it can gain equity, and the attention of your customers, and contribute revenue to your business. 

Here’s the problem. Great branding can’t be rushed. 

Sure, you can try to cut corners by using a logo generator instead of a professional logo designer, or choosing a name at random from a list spewed out by an AI tool. But the more you rush, the more you’ll dilute your brand’s value. 

Trying to speed through the branding process means you’re more likely to end up with brand assets that are generic, uninspiring, and just not good enough to differentiate you from the competition. Basically, you set yourself up to fail. 

So, how long should you reasonably expect to spend on the branding process, and how can you turbo-charge your results if you’re in a hurry?

How Long Does It Take To Build A Brand

How long does it take to build a brand? (on average)

So, how long does it take to build a brand? In our experience, the initial development process can take anywhere between 4 weeks and 6 months. So, why the drastic range? 

Essentially, the time it takes to build your initial brand assets will depend on things like the size of your company and its complexity, the services you offer, or products you sell, and how many assets you already have. 

If you already have a name and some logo ideas in mind, the project might be complete a little faster.

If you haven’t done any previous market research, and have virtually no idea of what your mission statement, brand values, and personality is going to look like, you’re in for a long ride. 

Just building the initial elements of your brand can take months (even years). 

If you want to build a brand name that’s instantly recognizable, and develop strong brand equity, the timeline grows even longer. Developing marketing materials, or a marketing strategy to share your brand message with the world, and forming emotional connections with your audience takes a while.

For some companies, it only takes a few months to start generating brand awareness. For others, brand equity comes from decades of work. 

How Long Does It Take To Build A Brand

Why does building a brand take so long?

Often, when people ask us “how long does it take to build a brand?” they expect to see deliverables in a week or less. One of the reasons for this is that business owners don’t always have the best idea of what “branding” actually means. 

You’re not just asking how long it takes to design a logo or choose a business name. You’re asking how long it takes to create an entire brand identity, from a color palette, to a catchy slogan, content marketing campaign, and even a presence on social media platforms.

The brand building process varies for each company, depending on what assets they already have, and what they want to achieve, but steps can include:

  • Researching your target audience and competitors.
  • Identifying unique selling points. 
  • Aligning stakeholders and decision markers. 
  • Creating a set of brand values, a mission statement, and positioning statement.
  • Communicating your brand messages to your team members.
  • Designing visual identity assets like logos and color palettes.
  • Formulating a brand personality with a distinct tone of voice.
  • Creating marketing strategies and materials.
  • Building an emotional connection with your audience (through your actions, your product strategies, and even your approach to customer service).

Obviously, some of these steps take longer than others, but none of them are particularly “fast”.

How Long Does It Take To Build A Brand

Steps to speed up the brand building process

But there must be some way to speed up the branding process, right? We hear that all the time. The answer is yes, there are a few ways you can accelerate the development of your brand, and even see a faster return on your investment. 

That doesn’t mean you can create a world-changing brand with the equity and reputation of a company like Nike overnight. However, you can give the process a little boost.

Step 1: Gather as much research as you can

Research is one of the necessary steps involved in any brand building strategy. Ultimately, you can only create a brand that effectively showcases your value proposition, differentiates you from your competitors, and attracts your target market if you have the right information.

Working with a brand consultancy or branding expert can be helpful here. These professionals should already have insights into your industry, and will know what it takes to give you a competitive advantage. However, it also helps to do some research yourself. 

Gathering as much information as you can about your audience, from case studies, surveys, and market reports will help you build customer personas you can share with your branding agency. 

Conducting your own “SWOT” analysis of competitors will help your experts to instantly see how you can differentiate yourself from other brands. 

The good news? There are plenty of AI tools and automated solutions that can help you gather this information a lot faster these days. Check out options like Sonarapp, or GWI’s customer research tool. 

Step 2: Define the key elements of your brand DNA

Approach any branding agency and ask them to build you a brand from scratch, and one of the first things they’ll do is dive into your brand DNA. In other words, they’ll investigate the “why” behind your business. Your brand isn’t just your name and logo, remember. 

It’s your entire business identity, driven by the “mission” you want to achieve in your industry, your purpose, and a unique set of values. Even if you don’t have a set of “official brand guidelines” yet, you can still start defining the basics of your brand story to get a head start. 

Ask yourself why you created your company, and what success will look like for your organization. Do you want to accelerate the move to sustainable technology like Tesla, or inspire a new generation of athletes like Nike?

What’s going to drive your business towards these goals, and how are you going to achieve them? Are you going to be a sustainable brand, or one focused entirely on customer service? Defining just a few of these basic components of your brand story can be a great way to accelerate the branding process.

Plus, it gives you the building blocks you need for your brand guidelines, so you can create a more consistent message and image. Greater consistency means you’ll build familiarity with your audience faster, increasing your brand equity.

Step 3: Invest in strong internal communication

One of the reasons the question “How long does it take to build a brand?” has so many potential answers, is that the structure of your company, and how team members work together can make a big difference. 

If you’re a small business owner building a brand by yourself, you don’t need to wait for approval from other shareholders to choose a name or a logo. You can build your brand guidelines pretty quickly, with some external input.

Alternatively, if there are various stakeholders in your business, you need to ensure they’re all aligned around your identity, goals, and vision. The more people you are in your company making business decisions, the more likely there are to be disagreements. 

A good way to overcome this problem is to invest in strong internal communication. Make sure all brand owners are on the same page about what your brand should stand for, your brand positioning, and what you do and don’t want from your branding journey.

A branding agency can also help with this, facilitating discussions that help your company find a consensus. They can offer outside perspectives that bring people together, but it takes time. 

Step 4: Master the art of creative briefing

If you’re building your brand with the help of experts, like content producers, strategists, and logo creators, you’re going to need to “brief” them on your projects. This process isn’t just common in the world of brand design. It can impact various other activities too. 

For instance, if you’re asking a company to help you come up with a new name for your company, you need to give them clear insights into what kind of name you want (creative, evocative, descriptive, etc), and what it should convey. 

If you need help shaping your messaging strategy, you need to tell creative agencies all about your personality, potential customers, and what kind of language you prefer to use. 

One of the things that slows down the branding process, is failing to create truly informative briefs. If your brief is missing information, such as insights into your brand voice, or the color choices you’d rather avoid, there’s going to be a lot more back-and-forth.

If you’re struggling, your branding agency or creative professional should be able to provide you with a “brief template” you can use for most projects.

Step 5: Collaborate on a strong visual identity

Collaboration is something that can significantly increase the speed with which you build your brand. We’re not just talking about sharing your insights in a brief and leaving it at that. We mean constantly communicating with your brand experts throughout the entire process. 

This is particularly important during the branding stage when you’re developing your “visual identity”. There’s more to this than just your logo. Before a company can even design your logo, they need to identify the ideal color palette for your business. 

The right colors will vary depending on your existing competitors, and your target audience, as well as the emotions you want to convey, so make sure you give your creative agency all of that information, and share feedback on their suggestions. 

Your agency will also need to select shapes, fonts, and other assets that will help to define your brand, and set it apart from the competition. 

Once your agency presents your logo, don’t just tell them you “like it” or “dislike”. Share what you like, what you don’t like, and what you might want to change. The more constructive feedback you can give, the faster you’ll get results. 

How Long Does It Take To Build A Brand

How to accelerate the development of brand awareness

If you’re just asking “how long does it take to build a brand” with a focus on developing the initial “assets” you need for your company’s identity, you can stop reading now. 

However, the chances are, you don’t just want to build your brand’s “fundamentals”. You also want to find out how you can rapidly see results from your branding efforts. Once again, there’s no rushing this process, but there are steps you can take to build brand awareness and brand equity faster.

Step 1: Map your customer’s journey

The first step in rapidly building awareness for your brand is figuring out where you’re going to have opportunities to interact with your target market. Your brand isn’t going to grow quickly if all of your customers are online and you’re only advertising through billboards.

With this in mind, take a look at your competition and find out where they interact with customers. Learn about how customers find your company and look for the solutions you offer. Are they frequently using search engines to look for answers to questions?

If so, you need an online presence boosted by search engine optimization. If your customers connect with companies like you on social media, which channels do they use? What kind of social media posts should you be creating, and how often?

Step 2: Create brand guidelines and resources

A lot of companies make the mistake of thinking once they have a logo, tagline, and other aspects of their “visual look” ironed out, they’re good to go. However, if you want to prepare your brand to succeed, and boost your chances of good equity, you need more. 

On a basic level, you need the brand guidelines that help to inform your employees, customers, and stakeholders what your business should look and sound like. Your brand guidelines might include visual information, about your color palette, or the type of photography you should use. 

They could also include best practices on how to use different marketing channels, and what sort of language should appear in your marketing materials. 

Other resources might include:

  • Customer personas: Documents outlining the demographic, behavioral, and psychographic details of your brand’s target audience. 
  • Research documents: Insights into your industry, market position, and competitive market. These will help to guide your decision making strategies.
  • Templates: Blog or email templates, website design templates, and other guidelines that can help you to produce branded content quickly. 

Step 3: Develop a brand strategy

Here’s where we really recommend working with an expert. A brand strategy isn’t just a plan for how you’re going to design brand assets, it’s a comprehensive guide to how you’re going to grow and develop your brand over time. 

It should outline things like how you’re going to position your company in comparison to your competitors, and what your value propositions are going to be. Your brand strategy should highlight which marketing campaigns you’re going to use, and which channels you’ll use them on. 

It will also look at ways to help your new company thrive and grow in the current market. This could mean investing in excellent customer experiences, so you can build stronger relationships with your audience, or using social monitoring tools to gather feedback. 

An effective brand strategy will keep you focus as you work on your brand awareness campaign, and develop the assets you need to connect with your audience. 

Step 4: Be consistent

We really can’t stress the importance of this step enough. Consistency is the key to an effective brand. If you want to earn the loyalty of your customers, and turn them into brand ambassadors, then you first need to become a “familiar entity” to them. 

This means consistently showcasing the same visual identity, brand logo, and color palettes on every channel you use in your marketing efforts. It also means ensuring your tone of voice sounds the same when you’re interacting with existing and new customers on every channel. 

Crucially, consistency also goes hand-in-hand with authenticity. If you have a clear brand promise, such as “delivering personalized and exceptional customer experiences”, you need to ensure you’re constantly delivering on that promise. 

Make sure your customers can trust you to deliver on your vision and promise, and they’ll be more likely to fall in love with, and advocate for your brand.

Step 5: Stay informed and vigilant 

Finally, if you want to ensure your brand image makes an impact in your industry, and rapidly contributes to your company’s growth, you need to be informed. All the research you did when at the beginning of this process will help you build a strong brand identity.

However, over time (even a relatively short amount of time), the opinions and preferences of your audience can change, along with the market you serve. That means you need to be paying attention to whether your brand strategy is actually working. 

Use the analytics tried into your social media marketing tools and website to find out whether you’re attracting the right audience with your advertising campaigns. Use social listening tools and audience feedback to find out whether your new brand is sending the right message.

If you find you’re not connecting with your ideal customer for any reason, or recognition of your brand begins to dwindle, it might be time to refresh your strategy and try something new.

Is a great brand worth the wait?

The simple answer to “How long does it take to build a brand” is “longer than you’d expect”. There’s more to building a successful brand than creating a new logo or choosing a brand name. Those things just give you the starting point you need for brand success. 

Ultimately, every aspect of building your brand is going to take time. From the initial stages of building a solid foundation for your company’s future with market and competitor research, to your plan for developing brand awareness. 

If you’re looking for a quick solution, you’re out of luck. Any company that tells you they can build you an incredible brand that stands the test of time in a day or two, is lying to you.

The good news? Building a successful brand might be a time-consuming process, but it’s worth it. Studies show that investing in long-term brand building, with the right strategies helps businesses to survive market volatility, and thrive in the years to come.

Like most great things in life, building a great brand, whether it’s a business brand, or a personal brand, takes patience, and persistence. You’re going to need to commit to this process for a long time if you really want to see results. 

Fortunately, you can follow the steps above to make sure you’re starting your journey on the right foot. Ready to dive into your brand building journey?

Contact Fabrik today to see how we can help you with the process of developing an unforgettable brand. 

Fabrik: A branding agency for our times.

Stewart Hodgson
Co-founder
Stewart Hodgson
Co-founder
Our co-founder, Stewart, is responsible for content strategy and managing Fabrik’s publishing team. It’s up to Stewart to bring Fabrik to busy marketers’ attention. As a regular contributor to Brand Fabrik, Stewart creates articles relevant to anyone in branding, marketing and creative communication.

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