A brand is the heart and soul of your company, responsible for influencing audience perception, driving advocates to your organization, and differentiating you from your competition. How you build that brand speaks volumes about what your organization is all about. Even little things — deciding on an Instagram caption, using a quote from a client rather than your own, or even using a photo of your kids in the packaging — have the potential to have a huge impact on how people perceive your brand and give you an edge in social media marketing.
We all start from ZERO, and today we want to help you realize that you have to set yourself apart from the start. The riches are in being consistent, which is what a brand helps you do, so you have to get specific! We're going to help you get specific today by answering three key questions:
- Who are you targeting or aiming to sell to?
- What problems do they have that you can help them solve?
- What differentiates you from others who are selling or providing a similar service?
Building a brand means investing in yourself, and you need to understand your value proposition. It means nurturing relationships with key industry influencers. It means stepping up efforts to position your company in the best possible light in the eyes of decision-makers... Brand identities are born out of a combination of culture, history, product identity, and perception — all of which need to be understood, developed and communicated by an organization to appeal to consumers.
What is a Brand, by the way?
A brand is a culmination of all the things you use to differentiate your company and gain the attention of a specific target market. Just like an individual is made up of the parts of their body that make up their face, a brand is made up of the pieces that make up your product or service. Therefore, each brand is unique and has its strengths and weaknesses. Because of this, choosing the right brand for your product can be more challenging than you might think.
Think about what makes you unique and special — the core values that people trust and distinguish you from competitors. Even if many companies share these attributes, they'll combine to form a uniquely yours. Your brand is what you make your business's focus — and it must resonate with customers to work. If it doesn't, you should start over. Start small with something easy — something you've made something happen for. Then, build on that success to feel like your business is just as big as Apple one day.
Building a Brand? 7-Step Checklist
Creating a brand is a big task. It's not something you can do in a week or a month. To have a successful brand, it takes dedication on your part, and as you can imagine, this kind of work can get messy very fast. Starting on your brand from scratch can be exhilarating and daunting at the same time. Choosing the right site for your brand as well as choosing the right name will be key. Unlike other industries, design is not about following trends, and unlike marketing, branding is all about staying true to yourself; it's not about copying someone else.
1. Discover your target audience
This can be tricky. You may be successful at finding niche products/market segments for your industry. Still, if you don't know who the customer is, you may wind up creating products for early adopters who may not be your business's most relevant target market. Targeted marketing is a must for any business, especially one that plans on growing rapidly.
It's important to discover who your target audience is. While there are some great tools to help you identify user behaviour, it's generally a better idea to discover it by talking to people in the industry. Targeted customer creation can lead to increased sales, more conversions and happier customers. For example, suppose you have a passion for something and can show potential customers how it helps further their goals or interests (personal wealth building or environmentalism). In that case, it will speak volumes about your appointment.
Once you have found your audience, it's time to figure out how they will hear about you. Answer these five questions to figure out how to get the word out about your business. It's also a good idea to collect testimonials from other people who have used your company as an example (particularly useful if it's an online business rather than a brick-and-mortar one).
2. Craft your brand positioning
Positioning statements define what your brand is about, why people should care about you and what action (if any) you plan to take to further your goals. They are extremely powerful because they touch on emotions ranging from curiosity to trust. Knowing how to position yourself can make or break the success of your business. A well-positioned company can have an incredible impact on people's buying decisions.
You can get a pretty good sense of where you should be positioning your business just from doing your research. First, look at the top websites in your industry and see what they say about their target audience. Then take these points and apply them to your website. While it might not be possible to completely change your online e-commerce business image overnight, this technique can help improve your results in the long run.
3. Pick a business name
Pick a business name that evokes sympathy, trust and excitement in your potential customers. Think about all the ways your business could be different if you chose a different name. Is there a chance someone else will pick a different name for their business, and how would that feel? The chances are good that a different business name wouldn't feel all that different to someone who already knows you. It may make sense at first, but try to deliver your brand in a new way that will resonate with those who have already decided on your company. The name you choose will determine many other decisions you'll make as you build your brand: your website and email addresses, what your logo might look like, and even how you'll be talked about.
How do you pick the best name for your business? It's easy:
- Think about your target market.
- See what they need to know about you.
- Come up with a name that sticks in their minds.
Once you've found your main keyword phrase (which will often be the first thing that comes up when searching for your business), look it up in a directory of popular business names. You might be surprised at how common some combinations are. For example, did you know that there are more than forty different names for Starbucks?
Types of names
- Descriptive names
- Emotive names
- Origin names
- Compound names
- Initials and acronyms
Before choosing a brand name for your store, consider whether it's available on social media or website domain to promote your business.
As an entrepreneur, one of the first steps is to register your business (side hustle) and lock down your idea. Your business name should reflect what you're providing to your audience in some aspect, as this will help your consumer or potential consumers find you easily.
4. Craft your brand story
Every company has a story, and your brand must have a corresponding message. A brand story is one of the most powerful ways to define your company's identity and purpose. You want to craft a compelling story that builds empathy for your audience, draws them into your world, and draws them away from competitors. Many people want to know why they should invest in your product or service. A powerful brand story can help persuade people toward your products and services and away from their competitors.
5. How to design a brand identity
Finding a unique brand identity can be difficult. First, you need to think about how you will visually represent your brand. When choosing between various options, it's important to consider how others see you as a business owner and how the public thinks of businesses that use certain visual styles or themes. If someone has trouble imagining what your business looks like visually, would you want them to buy from someone else that similarly presents itself visually?
While there may be a few basic guidelines you can follow, creating a brand identity that stands out requires much thought and research. Think of it like creating your own Wikipedia page — a lot of things will affect how your article appears on the site (including other people's edits), so it's best to network with other experts in the area if you want your content to stand out.
- Brand colours: Colour is a foundational building block of a brand. With so many colours in our rainbow, it can seem daunting to choose one or a few. Your brand colours are a handful of shades you'll use on all of your branded assets, including your website, emails, and product packaging. Colours can have a psychological impact on customers. For instance, red is bold and passionate, while blue is trustworthy and relaxing. Blue is attractive as it represents a level of trustworthiness and calmness in contrast to the other colours.
- Fonts: Fonts are powerful tools that can help persuade potential customers to buy your products. They tell a story; they say something about the personality of the company. They can be used to build an emotional attachment or change how people perceive you. How much impact have fonts had on your brand? Learn how to read fonts better and discover why they're so important.
- Imagery: Visual branding is more than just colours and images. It's how you use words and phrases on your website to communicate information and what kind of impression and impression you're trying to leave behind on your customers. It's also important to think about what style of marketing you're going with. Do you want to be more about copywriting or visual branding? The answers will influence what kind of visuals you use.
In my experience, a distinctive brand identity is the single most important step in building a company. If you want your company to be remembered ten years from now, you need to design an identity that transcends the business itself. You need to craft an image that instantly communicates your brand to others and sticks in their minds. As entrepreneurs, our job is to transform people's lives — so the first thing we should do is craft an identity that makes it easy for people to remember us.
6. Creating a logo
There are three types of logos:
- Font-based logos (word mark) - ie. Microsoft and PayPal's logos are font-based with a slight treatment twist which makes them stand out
- Icon or symbol logos because they are extremely recognizable (these symbol logotypes usually)
- Combination mark logos
A logo has a major impact on how your customers receive your brand. So, ask yourself this, have you ever seen a brand without a logo? No? That's because there aren't any. So, here are the steps to defining your brand identity and understanding what makes a great logo:
- Start with making an inspiration board of logos you like to provide to your designer and or use yourself to create your brand logo.
- Decide which type of logo you want, font-based (word mark), Icon type or a combination mark logo.
- Design the logo (if you're not a graphic designer, that's ok - you can try it yourself using Canva, or you can hire someone to do it for you using OWNR or FIVERR)
7. Establish your slogan
A slogan is an easy way to establish your brand voice, and it's often what makes consumers remember your business. Think about the biggest companies in the world. How do they logo? What slogan did they use? What are their goals? It all comes down to establishing your brand's identity through a unique message that stands out from the competition and specifically communicates what your company does.
A slogan creates an opportunity to establish your brand voice and connect with your audience in a very direct way. Most people don't think about slogans when choosing a product or company. However, a well-constructed slogan can help convert more customers into active participants in your brand. In addition, a great slogan can establish your company as an authority in your industry, improve your sales and reputation, attract new customers and increase employee loyalty. If you feel like slogans aren't useful for your business, try thinking of why they could be.
When developing a strong brand personality, consistency is key. You want your brand to align with your organization's values and mission. That way, when you do decide to use your brand personality, it will feel natural and consistent with everything you do. You need to develop consistency across every e-commerce website — not just the landing page or cover letter. This goes for everything from communicating with clients and fans to how you present yourself in print and social media.
The reasons are obvious, but it's worth reinforcing how important it is to invest in your brand. It gives your customers something to connect with, something unique that differentiates you from the other brands out there.
Check out our Create Your Brand Guide includes everything you need to start creating your brand. This digital course includes tips, checklists, worksheets and more to assist you from start to finish. In addition, the guide gives a concise overview of the entire process to help get you started.