If you think having a good name is enough to market your business online, and that creating a brand promise or brand messaging is simple, then think again.
Your branding goes beyond your company’s name.
There’s a whole lot of process to make people perceive your business apart from your competitors.
Branding your business can make you feel a lot of different things…
…inspired, overwhelmed, confused on where to start, maybe stressed out even but also excited.
If you’re just starting out, a lot of times it’s helpful to follow a step-by-step process to guide you in branding your business.
And that’s exactly what we’re going to give you in this post.
Today, we’ll teach you how to start with branding your business and some important factors to consider.
Let’s get started!
Steps On How To Start With Branding Your Business
Step 1: Determine your why
This is the first question you need to think about when branding your business – why did you start your business?
Simply put, who does your product or service help and how?
A lot of brand new, small business owners, unfortunately, go into their brand building with anxiousness because of real-world pressures like…
- “ooh, we gotta get this going because we need to make money”,
- “I want to be a brand ambassador asap”,
- “I’ve only got so much time to work with before I have to make a return or else my business is gonna fail”
…and so on.
And the result of that is that it makes you focused on “sell sell sell” in your brand instead of who your brand is for and how it helps them.
That stress will start showing up in your branding…
…and trickle through to your advertisements, marketing materials, and so forth if you’re not careful.
So you want to take a minute, shred any financial stresses or business deadlines worrying you for just a moment…
…and allow yourself to get in a creative headspace and determine your why.
What is the point of this business? Who does it help and how does it help them?
Write that down.
This will help establish your branding and will be the foundation for the rest of your brand because any time you get stuck or need some creative direction…
…you can always refer back to this, and it will tell you why you started this business in the first place.
Step 2: Nail down your niche
The next step when branding your business is to determine who your customers will be.
Who is your target audience? We’ve all heard the saying, “If your audience is everyone, it’s no one.”
We know it’s tempting when you’re first starting out to say, “I want everybody to shop from me! Lemme see that MOOLAH!”
But the secret ingredient to what makes a brand successful is that it comes from a unique brand voice, for specific target customers.
So if you are trying to generalize your brand for everyone, it’s not going to work.
Let’s say you’re opening a restaurant, for example. You might be thinking, “Well everybody’s gotta eat! So why can’t my audience be everyone?”
Here are some things that we immediately think of that answer that question and will help you narrow your target market:
First is your location.
Unless you’re in a super touristy area, the chances are slim that your customer base is going to extend to Florida if your restaurant is in Kansas.
Next is your menu.
Not everybody likes everything. Seafood for example- some people love it and some people hate it.
And you might say, “well, we offer more than just seafood.”
But then you start getting customers who think, “ehh, it’s probably not very good then if their specialty is not seafood.”
Another example here is let’s say you’re proud to offer a lot of gluten-free options.
That’s an awesome feature to have- but not everybody is going to appreciate it or even care.
We know some people who have to eat gluten-free…
…and know of all the great gluten-free spots down here in the southern dumplings and fried apples in Georgia.
And then, on the other hand, there are also some who don’t even know what GF meant on a menu.
So our point is, what you offer will matter to certain people and not matter at all to others… and that’s good!
Because it tells you exactly who your audience is and who you should be going after.
So outline your ideal customer.
Because the rest of your branding, when you start creating content for your social media posts on social networks, start building a list for your email newsletters…
…or content marketing campaigns like your blog, it should be created with that customer in mind.
Now before we move on to step 3 of branding your business, here is a quick reminder for you to check out our new social media ads training course.
If you want to master social media advertising, then this course is for you.
Step 3: Determine your values
What does your brand stand for?
You’ve written out your company’s mission and specified who your business is for, now you need to determine what values your business stands for.
And if you’re already kind of writing off this step as not so important thing…
…you should know that 13% of consumers would pay 31-50% more for your products or services…
…if they were under the impression that your business is making a positive impact on the world.
So your customers care about what your brand’s values are in this day and age! And if your customers care, so should you.
A great example of this that we talked about in our Black Friday marketing ideas post is Patagonia.
They’re a brand that sells a lot of clothing and equipment for outdoorsy things like fishing, hiking, etc.
One of their values is protecting the environment, so they stay true to this promise and will run sales where a percentage of the costs are donated to…
…“grassroots nonprofits working on the frontlines to protect our air, water, and soil for future generations.”
In your case, if you’re a local business…
…think about what issues need more awareness in your local community that you can draw attention to with your values.
And whether you’re local or not, just ask yourself what you genuinely care about or are passionate about.
And then, think about how you can interweave those values when branding your business.
Even if you don’t have the means to be donating profits away right now, you can at least lay the foundation of your values now to take action in the future.
Step 4: Determine what makes you unique
Again, this is probably another thing that will come naturally as a result of jotting down steps 1 and 2 of branding your business.
But, you need to write down what makes you different – what is your unique selling proposition?
There are 31.7 million small businesses in the U.S. alone.
So, you are bound to have a few direct competitors either nationally, internationally, or both.
And even if you say, “I have no direct competitors, I invented my product or service, there’s not a soul out there doing what I’m doing right now.”
There’s still somebody who is selling to the customer you want to be with the existing product or service that solves the same problem.
Your solution is different, but you still have competitors.
So, that being said, you need to make a list of the things that make you unique – your unique value proposition.
Why should people buy from you and not your competitor?
You need to be able to answer that question.
Because if you can’t, your customers can’t either and they will continue buying from Joe down the street instead.
What makes your product or service different from the rest should be intertwined with your branding.
A common example of this is when we see household cleaning product lines…
…that pride themselves on being nontoxic and having good, healthy ingredients for us.
They’ll often have green, leafy, natural-looking branding to their logo, graphics, or any visual identity materials because it promotes the thing that sets them apart.
But we’ll get more into that in the next step.
For this step, just answer the question: what makes you unique?
Step 5: Create a brand guide
Depending on what you’ve done up to this point, you may have more or less to do in this step of branding your business.
But your brand guide essentially ties everything you’ve written down up until this point into a visual representation.
So, here are a few things your brand style guide will need to include:
- Your brand logo, and any variations of it as well as when to use which version.
- Your fonts, and which are okay to use in places such as headline text, paragraph text, etc.
- You’ll also need to include your colors along with their hex code.
Choosing your colors is important because:
- different colors make people feel different things, and
- using a signature color can increase brand recognition by 80%.
And we need all the brand recognition we can get, right?
So here’s how to create a visual branding guide because we can’t stress enough how important this part is.
Also, you might want to learn about color psychology to help you in choosing the perfect color scheme for your brand.
Now, if you already know what your logo is, your fonts, and colors are…
…then you need to put all of this information together in a brand guide because as your team grows…
….you’ll need to be able to quickly communicate what you need to be done and how it should look.
When done right, having a brand guide will help ensure that no matter who creates what for your brand, it all looks cohesive.
This helps with brand recall, building an emotional connection with your audience, and making your brand recognizable.
This is a big part of branding because brand consistency has been known to increase revenue by 33%.
And the most efficient way to provide consistency is with a brand guide that everyone on your team has access to and knows to follow.
It feels great to build trust with your target audience, and know that people think of your business name first when they’re looking for your products or services.
So, at this point, with all of this information and instructions, how are you feeling about branding your business?
Pretty confident and ready to get started? Or do you still feel a little apprehension about it?
If you need more help, check out our branding services today. We’d love to hear from you!