Today we are talking all about how to build your brand in order to get yourself out there and find the right people for your business. What is a brand and why you need to build yours?
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How To Build Your Brand For Beginners
Your brand is defined by a customer’s overall perception of your business.
If you want to have a successful brand it has to be consistent in communication and experience, across many applications such as:
- Environment (storefront or office)
- Print, signage, packaging
- Website & online advertising
- Content publishing
- Sales & customer service
The founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, says it all: “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
In short, your brand is your reputation!
So, How do you build your brand?
The truth is: branding doesn’t happen overnight…or even in a few months.
Building a brand is definitely a process. However, the ongoing effort will result in establishing long-term relationships with your customers.
This can lead to a steady increase in sales, more projects, word-of-mouth referrals, and advocacy for your products or services.
Let’s define what is brand building
The reason for having a Brand is to generate awareness about your business using marketing strategies and campaigns with the goal of creating a unique and lasting image in the marketplace.
In 2019, the amplification of your brand image can be done effectively through various digital marketing activities:
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- User Experience (i.e. your website)
- SEO & Content Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Paid Advertising (PPC)
Together, these channels are fundamental to gaining brand awareness and growth. We’ll dive into each of these elements in detail, later!
How to Build a Brand in Simple Steps
1. Identify your brand’s target audience.
The foundation for building your brand is to determine the target audience that you’ll be focusing on.
You can’t be everything to everyone, right?
When brand building, keep in mind who exactly you are trying to reach. You’ll tailor your mission and message to meet their exact needs.
The key is to get specific. Figure out detailed behaviors and lifestyle of your consumers.
I’ll explain with a few brief examples:
- Single moms who work from home
- Tech-savvy early adopters
- College students studying abroad
- Executive recruiting professionals
Solidify a picture of your consumers, then learn how to create a brand identity that they can understand and relate to.
Brand creation relies on truly understanding the buyer persona. Here are a few of the things to document when describing your ideal customer:
- Education Level
To get even more definition for your persona, dive into these details:
- Pain points
- Brand affinities
You may come to realize that the competitive advantage when branding your business is to narrow your audience focus. This can help ensure that your brand message comes across crystal clear to the intended recipient.
Identifying the target audience for your services or products is an exercise that will affect and benefit all areas of your brand building process, particularly marketing efforts. You want the right person consuming your content, clicking on your ads, opting into your email list, etc.
As a result, determining the ideal audience for your business will support your overall digital brand building strategies. It’s definitely an important first step!
2. Establish a brand mission statement.
Have you thought about your brand mission? In essence, you’ll have to craft a clear expression of what your company is most passionate about.
This is your why; the reason you get up every day.
Before you can build a brand that your target audience trusts, you need to know what value your business provides.
The mission statement basically defines a purpose for existing. It will inform every other aspect of your brand building strategies.
Everything from your logo to your tagline, voice, message, and personality should reflect that mission.
When people ask you what you do: answer them with your brand mission statement.
Brand Building Examples: Nike
We all know the Nike tagline: Just Do It. But do you know their mission statement?
3. Research brands within your industry niche.
You should never imitate exactly what the big brands are doing in your industry.
But, you should be aware of what they do well (or where they fail).
The goal is to differentiate from the competition. Convince a customer to purchase from you over them!
We’re always thinking about how to make a brand stand out. Don’t skip this step in the brand-building process.
Research your main competitors or benchmark brands. For instance, study how well they have gone about building a brand name.
For a brand name to be effective, it needs to be easy for consumers to recognize and remember.
Creating a brand competitor research spreadsheet
Competitor research is a key element of your own brand development. Start by creating a brand competitor spreadsheet for comparison. You can use Google Sheets, Excel, or even just a notebook.
Then, answer these fundamental questions.
- Are the competitor consistent with messaging and visual identity across channels?
- What is the quality of the competitor’s products or services?
- Does the competitor have customer reviews or social mentions you can read about them?
- In what ways does the competitor market their business, both online and offline?
Choose a few competitors, two to four (2-4) is a good number for your comparison chart. You might want to take a look at other local businesses, or even aim to benchmark against name brands.
4. Outline the key qualities & benefits your brand offers.
There will always be brands with bigger budgets and more resources to command their industry.
Your products, services, and benefits belong solely to you.
Starting a brand that is memorable means you dig deep to figure out what you offer, and no one else is offering.
Focus on the qualities and benefits that make your company branding unique.
Assuming you know exactly who your target audience is (see Step 1), give them a reason to choose your brand over another.
It’s important to note that this is not just a laundry list of the features your product or services offer to the customer or client. Think about how you provide value that improves consumers’ lives (outcomes or results that are experienced).
Here are a few examples:
- More authentic and transparent customer service
- A better way to support productivity
- Reducing costs with a more affordable option
- Saving time on daily tasks
5. Create a brand logo & tagline.
When you think about how to build a brand, visuals probably come to mind first. This step may be the one where you need help with execution.
The most exciting (and arguably the most important piece) of the brand-building process, is to create a brand logo and tagline for your company.
This logo will appear on everything that relates to your business. It will become your identity, calling card, and the visual recognition of your promise.
So be willing to invest the time and money by creating something exceptional to reinforce the visual identity for your business.
Need help branding your business? Hire a professional designer or brand agency with logo and identity design experience, to help make your brand stand out. Their expertise will ensure that you get a unique and timeless mark for your business.
Their expertise will ensure that you get a unique and timeless mark for your business.
A designer can also develop brand guidelines, to ensure consistency for any future application of the logo and associated brand color palette or fonts.
A strong brand style guide will include the following things:
- Logo size and placement
- Color palette
- Typography and fonts
- Photography/image style
- Web elements
6. Form your brand voice.
Your voice is dependent on your company mission, audience, and industry.
It’s how you communicate with your customers, and how they respond to you.
A brand voice could be:
There are endless adjectives and possibilities that can build a brand voice behind your messaging.
You want to choose a brand voice that makes sense and resonates with your target customers.
You’ll see that if you find and use the correct brand voice, you have the strongest chance of connecting with consumers.
This is particularly important when publishing blog articles or social media posts. Maintaining a consistent voice will help your brand image become recognized on multiple channels in the same way.
A community of followers, readers or subscribers will come to expect a certain brand voice and brand personality when they consume your content (see Step 8).
7. Build a brand message and elevator pitch.
When building a brand, tell customers succinctly who you are.
Use the business voice you have chosen for your brand.
Your message should be intricately associated with your brand and conveyed in 1-2 sentences.
This part of the brand development process goes beyond your logo and tagline to define the key aspects of:
- who you are,
- what you offer, and
- why people should care.
A brand message is an opportunity to communicate on a human level, making a direct emotional connection with your consumers.
What this means, is that the language you use should be understood immediately while striking an emotional chord.
Make it simple and clear.
Most importantly: when creating a brand message, address not what your product can do…but why it is important to your customer.
8. Let your brand personality glow.
Customers aren’t looking for another cookie-cutter company who offers the same thing as everyone else.
They are looking for an experience tailored to their needs, backed by genuine personal interaction.
Wondering how to brand your business in a unique way? Make your personality stand out in every aspect of your brand building process.
9. Integrate your brand into every aspect of your business.
The brand-building process doesn’t really stop.
Your brand should be visible and reflected in everything that your customer can see, read, and hear.
Let me explain.
If a client walks into your office, or a customer walks into your store—your brand image should be on display both in the environment and with personal interactions.
Anything tangible–from business cards to advertisements, to packaging and product–needs the stamp of your logo.
On any digital platform, ensure that your brand looks the same everywhere. Use your brand style guide to create consistency with visuals such as color and logo use, fonts, photography, etc.
Your website is the most important tool for marketing your brand. When you design your website: incorporate your voice, message, and personality into the content.
Profile pages for social media networks should be branded visually, and with your chosen voice for engagement.
10. Stay true to your brand.
If you decide to change your brand into something that is more effective based on measured consumer response, consistency is key.
Once you’ve chosen a brand voice, use it for every piece of content you create. (See above, Step 6 in the brand-building process.)
Document all the brand guidelines you create and distribute internally for reference.
What is brand building worth, if it is not consistent? Don’t constantly change your branding. The inconsistency will confuse your customers, and make a long-term brand building more difficult.
11. Be your brand’s biggest advocate.
Once you build a brand that works for your small business, you (and your employees) are the best advocates to market your brand.
Nobody knows your brand better than you, so it’s up to you to spread the word.
When hiring employees, ensure that they are a culture fit–aligning with the mission, vision, and values of your brand.
Encourage employees to establish a personal brand that aligns with your company branding process, further strengthening reach.
Give your loyal followers a voice. Encourage them to post reviews, or share your content.
There you have it, How To Build Your Brand For Beginners
How did you build your brand?
What to read next?
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