How to Start a Brand for your Business
Brand building is identity building. It differentiates you from competitors and adds incredible value to your company. Who are you? How do customers perceive you and your products? Your services? Which colors, symbols, or events remind people about you? What idea of you sticks with them? These are the things you want to answer when you build your brand. Whether you’re a small business starting up, or a flourishing company looking to revamp your game, good branding starts with good brand building. Everyone has to start somewhere, so here’s a quick guide to starting your brand.
1. Define WHO you are
Because brand building is about creating an identity, then it is fairly obvious what the first step should be: define your identity. Come up with an image you want to project. How do you want your customers to remember your brand? Are you classy and exclusive or appealing and friendly? Are you the status symbol or the smarter alternative? Identify these little things that define who you are and build your name, colors, logos, and overall design language around them.
To do this, think of 5 to 7 adjectives to describe your brand. Let these adjectives be your core identifiers. Everything your brand does, from conversations with clients, official transactions, to even your aesthetic design language, let them all manifest these adjectives.
For example, a web development company who caters to big corporations can associate these adjectives to itself.
With these, we can arrive at a clear picture of how the web development company can build its brand.
Another effective way to define your brand is by finding your key focus. Your key focus is the very essence of why you do what you do. To most tech companies like Apple, it is innovation. To Nike, it’s pro-activity. When you know your key focus, it will show in your products and services, and your customers will start to associate that value with your brand. Here are some examples for key focus:
Workplace safety Kid-appropriate
Healthy living Maximizing creativity
Maximum comfort Home away from home
If your company was a person, brand building would be similar to giving character personalities to it. In the same way you recognize a person by certain character identifiers, you can build your brand by attaching an identity and key focus to your company. These will serve as your customers’ identifier for your brand and will be crucial to how they remember you.
2. Identify your TARGET audience
Defining your customers is just as important as identifying who you are. After all, you can’t please everyone. That said, brand building requires you to know your target audience. In fact, you need to come up with a customer persona for your ideal buyer. To effectively build your brand, you have to know who your specific target audience is. This way, you can create a brand that suits their needs exactly. In a perfectly ideal setup, who do you think should see your ad and how receptive do you expect them to be? In order to answer this, create an ideal customer persona for your brand. Here’s an example of a customer persona for a hypothetical local plumbing service:
Age: 35 – 55 years
Gender: Male or Female
Location: New York
You can start with simple with age, gender, location, and income level. As you go, you will find that your brand will benefit more from more specific profiles. Motivations, interests, and educational backgrounds are some information you would want to fill in to expound your customer persona.
Once you identify your target audience, your brand building process will be easier. Each step of the way will be more focused towards a more specific group of consumers, making your efforts more cost-efficient.
If your company was a person, brand building would be similar to giving character personalities to it
3. Summarize your BRAND mission in a short SLOGAN
A slogan is not required from all businesses. But in the digital space, a strong slogan can work wonders for your brand. The internet is a fast-paced space. Users come and go within a few seconds. If you can’t catch them with a short yet strong hook, then you are bound to lose several potential customers.
To build a slogan, go back to your key focus as a company. In fact, dig deeper to your company name, mission, vision, and core values. From there, come up with a slogan that summarizes all of that. Nike’s “Just do it” is not just short and catchy (and perfectly effective on t-shirts and ads), it also holistically captures the company’s key focus: proactivity. Find those few words that capture your desired brand personality, value, and focus.
Here are some slogan styles you can emulate to come up with your own!
- The Challenge.
- Nike – Just do it.
- Apple – Think different.
- The Bold Claim.
- KFC – It’s finger-lickin’ good!
- Dunkin Donuts – America runs on Dunkin’
- The Feel Good.
- L’Oreal Paris – Because you’re worth it
- The Metaphor.
- Coke – Open happiness
There are lots of avenues in the online space for an effective business slogan to thrive, from Instagram descriptions, website banners, to Twitter hashtags. A striking slogan allows you to utilize these in various creative ways that will ultimately benefit your brand.
4. Create a LOGO
Most people think of logos when they actually mean branding. This is for good reason, as the logo is the most on-the-nose feature of branding. It appeals to the visual senses and can be utilized almost anywhere your brand requires it. Needless to say, a good way to jump-start your brand is to come up with a logo that is both striking in form and meaningful in purpose. There is no guideline to what make an artistically beautiful logo, as artistic beauty is mostly subjective. But generally, like your slogan, your logo should be founded by your core values and key brand focus. Ideally, your customers should know some things about you just by looking at your logo.
Here are some considerations when finding the right logo for you:
- Find the appropriate logo type for your business. Can one icon effectively represent your brand, the same way the bird does it for Twitter? Or is your company name stylistic and ambiguous enough to carry a wordmark logo? Perhaps you can benefit from an acronym. How about a mix of all these things? Find the appropriate logo type for you based on your company name and focus.
- Find your colors, icons and fonts and stick to them. Once your logo type is settled, decide on the elements of your logo. There is no correct way to do this, but generally, the rule is to stick to those specific elements once you’ve decided on them. Unless it serves a unique purpose, the logo on your business card should have the exact same colors, fonts, and proportions as the logo found on your website.
- Consider making a logo (or versions of your logo) that is applicable anywhere. Your logo will not only appear on letterheads over white-MS Office-backgrounds. Your logo will be on your business cards, social media profile pictures, website headers, magazine covers, packaging, and the like. Needless to say, the tendency is that it will look better on some surfaces than others. However, you do NOT need to commit this mistake. With good planning, you can intentionally create logos that will be applicable anywhere. A brand guide can help manage this. With a brand guide, you can specify your brand colors and background colors wherein your logo works best. In addition to this, consider making alternate versions of your logo for specific uses. As an example, Facebook’s actual logo features the company’s name, but for its App icon, it utilizes the single-letter “F” as a logo. Note that it stays recognizable because the icon version of the logo stays consistent in terms of colors and font to its full-text counterpart. Your logo represents your brand and it is important that your brand is represented well across all platforms and medium.
5. Stay CONSISTENT
A well-built brand is only as good as the consistency of its application. Once you have decided on who you are, who your target audience is, your design aesthetics, your values, your logo and slogan, the challenge now is to stay consistent. All application of your brand must be consistent to each other, from website banners, business cards, and coffee cups! People are hardwired to recognize patterns. By providing them with consistent patterns, they will start to recognize your brand. In order for the idea of you to stick, you need to stick to your idea.
People are hardwired to recognize patterns. By providing them with consistent patterns, they will start to recognize your brand.
As overwhelming as these may all sound, take comfort in knowing that you don’t have to do this alone. Starting up a brand and building it up is a collaborative effort that you and your team can all partake in. Competent experts in the field of digital marketing who can help jump-start your brand are also readily available online. 4LOOP, for instance, focuses on website development and branding. Drawing assitance from the extensive experience of experts like 4LOOP can sure expedite your brand building from the ground up.