You’ve got something that people need and you’re looking to launch it.
If you’re a small business, having a brand strategy is critical for getting your name out there. You need to get noticed and – most importantly – be remembered for all the right reasons.
Make no mistake. Building a brand isn’t just about the visual side of things. And have no fear: designing brands isn’t just an art reserved for the big shots.
We’ll show you how to build a brand online from the ground up. Here are 6 steps that you should tackle if you want to build a brand that people will notice and fall in love with.
1. Who are you selling to?
Figure out your target market straight away.
You’ve got a great product to sell, so establishing who should be buying it as a matter of priority. Otherwise, you risk derailing your entire brand strategy.
As a brand innovator, you will need to ask yourself some critical questions to be able to start narrowing down your target audience. You can’t be all things to all people, so:
- What has your brand got to offer people?
- Who would benefit most from your brand?
- Why would people choose your brand over others?
Map out a list of demographics that you can pick from to build your brand’s target audience. Think about their age, income, and marital status.
Consider how well educated their are, where they live, and what they spend money on. Also, check what brand affinities they might have as it could help you position your own product better.
Consider your competitors
You can authentically drive your brand’s point of difference when you understand what everyone else is doing. Make a visual competitor analysis document, and ask yourself:
- How is the competitor marketing themselves online and offline?
- What is the quality of their product?
- Are they consistent in their messaging? Is their brand identity clear?
2. How are you special?
You should give your potential customers a reason to believe in your brand. Don’t just sell something that people need – make them want it, too.
Your value proposition will become the first impression your brand makes to everyone who comes across it, so make it good. Show:
- How your product can solve a problem or meet a demand.
- What benefits your product has.
- Why people should buy your product and not your competitors’ products.
Whereas your value proposition helps explain your brand to customers, your mission statement explains your brand to you, and anyone else you hire.
Here’s a formula:
- What is your brand’s purpose?
- How will your business deliver this?
- Why will you do it in that way?
Storytelling goes hand-in-hand with your value proposition: one hooks the customer in, the other makes them want to stay.
We’re all wired to engage with a narrative, so not only will your brand story gain your customer loyalty, but it’ll also motivate any future employees.
- Explain your brand’s reason for existing. Keep it brief and relevant.
- State what you stand for. Show what sets your brand identity and values apart.
- Be transparent. Some of the best success stories have lows as well as highs.
3. What’s your personality?
This is where you truly get to decide how your brand will speak to people.
Whether you’re building a brand for a business or for yourself, it needs to have its own personality.
As your business picks up speed, the brand will need to engage more directly with these customers. Making sure your tone of voice is aligned with their expectations is crucial.
Consider which adjectives best describe your brand. Is it witty? Exclusive? Imagine your brand as a character to help you put a face to the brand.
Also, think about which platforms your brand will use. Will the tone of voice work or would it be better to change it?
Appeal to your customers
You’ll already have a detailed picture of your prospective customers, so be sure to carry that through as you build the brand’s personality.
- Do your brand adjectives align with adjectives you’d use for your customers?
- Will you be doing your brand justice with its personality?
- How will your customers want to engage with your brand?
Pick your platform
A social media presence will give your business the opportunity to connect instantly and directly to your customers. So, when you build your brand’s persona, bear in mind:
- Which platforms will suit the brand. You’ll likely want a cross-section.
- How you’ll remain consistent. Can you maintain a strong brand tone?
- What the brand will look like visually. Will your captions suit your visuals?
4. What do you look like?
Grab your pencils.
There’s some psychology behind the visual components of a brand. From logo, the colors, to typography and beyond – you can make constructing your brand identity very scientific.
You want to ensure that the logo – a single visual emblem of your business – is able to convey its personality, story, and values. Remember to:
- Check that your logo is scalable. How does it translate from your website homepage to your Instagram icon?
- Make it represent your product or service.
- Make it unique. It might be a blindingly obvious tip, but copying is rife.
So much has been said about the science behind colors. The color palette you land on can really heavily impact the impression your branding has on people.
Research color meanings. Find what’s right for your brand’s personality and remember the end-user. If your business is fun, go for brights. If you want to be trusted, pick soothing shades.
At the same time, keep it edited. Don’t plaster a single color over everything, but have a select range.
Imagine paying good money for a stellar logo and making your palette into something emotionally compelling, only to roll out Comic Sans as your chosen typeface.
Check that the typeface works with your logo and that it aligns beautifully with your brand personality.
Finally, check that you’re not copying your competitors. That would be awkward.
5. Are you consistent?
Your branding – made up of those visual elements that distinguish your brand identity – should always be consistent.
Right from the get-go, create a guidebook for your brand. Alongside the mission statement, some clear guidelines will help protect the integrity of what you’ve built.
Effective guidelines will instruct whoever touches your brand’s identity to:
- Not touch the logo. Never let your logo be stretched or squished.
- Stick to the typeface. And remember the font size.
- Adhere to the color palette.
Find a photography style
Filling your business Instagram page with memes is not that frowned upon in 2021. But if your business is Rolex? Probably not cool.
Run through some checkpoints to figure out what style of photography is right for your branding:
- What will your target customer understand?
- Does it match the tone of the product on offer?
- Is it your only route? Perhaps you’d prefer to work with illustrations.
6. Should you build a personal brand?
Are you prepared to embody your business?
The concept of a personal brand won’t appeal to everyone. It takes a lot of self-filtering and impression management.
If you’re set on creating a personal brand, consider if these actions align with your way of thinking:
- Owning what you do. Both the good and the bad, it all comes down to you.
- Staying active online. Pick the right platforms and remember that the sum of your activity is more important than follower count.
- Storytelling. You’ll need to know exactly what you’re offering, and you should become a master at the elevator pitch.