Your brand is the way your business is represented to your customers or prospects in the marketplace. Building your brand is perhaps one of the crucial activities for your business as it defines the nature and values of your business -helping you carve a unique identity. Although easy to do, building a recognizable brand goes beyond plastering a fancy logo or colours on your materials.
Read below these 7 important steps to take when branding your small business.
- Determine what your brand represents
It is important to establish what your business represents at its very core. Having a company mission and vision is a good place to start because they are used to define what the company is passionate about, its operational strategy and future goals. Create a list of your business’ core strengths. Why was the business started to begin with? What problem did you set out to solve?
Once you are able to define the purpose of your business’ existence. It will inform every other aspect of your brand building strategies.
- Determine your brand’s target audience.
As good as your intentions may be, your business can’t be everything to everyone. The foundation for building your brand is to determine the target audience that you’ll be focusing on. When building your brand, it is important to identify who exactly you’re trying to reach out to. Are they restaurants in a specific location, high-school females, freelancers? Whoever they are, think through it and pen it down.
It may be tempting to skip this part of the process but properly building your brand is a long term investment. Also, having a clear picture of your ideal customers will affect and benefit all areas of your brand building process, particularly marketing efforts. You want the right person getting your message, clicking on your ads, opting into your mailing list, subscribing to your channel and buying your product/service.
- Understand the competition
Beyond your target audience, it is equally important to study your competition and their branding strategies. You may begin by identifying 2-3 competitors and ask questions like “What is the quality of their product or service?” “What is their core message?” “Are they consistent with their message?” “What do their customers say about them?” “What platforms are they active on?”
Understanding their approach towards their customers, services levels, marketing strategies, and brand designs; may help to design and strategize a brand Identity that is not only unique but also has an edge over the competition.
Remember, the goal is to be different from the competition, to convince prospects to choose you over them.
- Highlight your value proposition
Just like the name implies, your value proposition is what value your business provides. Simply put, your value proposition is the reason customers should buy from you instead of your competition. To achieve this, you have to dig deep to figure out what you offer, and no one else is offering. Try to highlight the qualities and benefits that make your company branding unique.
A good understanding of your value proposition may serve as your messaging guide. Your messaging guide is an important aspect of a brand, as it provides you with the language you’ll need for all your business communication (including websites, social media, brochures, ads, and press releases)
- Don’t forget your creative elements
When you hear the word “brand,” visuals are probably the first thing that comes to mind. The steps above should give your brand building process a clear direction, which makes this step even easier. Your brand creatives include your logo, colour palette, font, and design templates.
If you need professional help to create your creative brand elements, you may reach out to a graphics designer as their expertise will help give your creative thoughts life. Working with professional designers also ensures brand guidelines are developed to ensure replication and consistency for future use.
- It’s time to promote your brand
Your brand is only as good as how many people can recognize it. That is why it’s important to promote your brand in order to attract new clients and stay top-of-mind with existing clients.
Whether it’s billboards (okay, probably not), television, social media, radio ads, magazine or search engines it is important to first identify what platform(s) your target audience is most active on and highlight your brand message in each ad.
- Be consistent
You can get all the steps above right, but your brand impact will not last long if you don’t stay consistently at it. To keep your creatives consistent, you may use standard templates that are easy to replicate by team members.
While on the subject of consistency, it is NOT okay to stop improving on your message, releasing content, touching base with existing clients or reaching out to new ones. Consistency in all areas of your marketing and communication activities will ultimately help you build a strong brand.
Now that you know the steps for creating a brand successfully, be on your way to creating your unique brand.