A solid brand identity is what transforms a basic business into something meaningful and real to potential customers.
While the steps to starting a business, from filling out registration paperwork and creating your goods or services, can be fairly straightforward, building a brand takes a different kind of creativity, heart and intuition for a successful and memorable brand.
Clear, successful branding is essential for the success of new business owners and seasoned entrepreneurs alike. Not sure where to start?
This guide is here to help you establish a winning brand identity to boost your success and put your name on the map within your industry.
1. Understand Your Brand
Business owners have a lot on their plate, including payroll tasks, learning about B2B eCommerce best practices and fine-tuning the production or service process for their company.
While all of these things are incredibly important, without a stellar brand identity your company is unlikely to find success and notoriety. Your brand identity can be considered synonymous with your company’s public reputation and character, including the things your business stands for, the colours you use, the way you interact with the public and how you do business.
Your brand is the public face of your company, and it should accurately and wholly reflect the things that make your business what it is.
Take some time to determine important elements of your business, including why you started it and why you are in business, and how you’d like to be known to potential consumers. Dig a little deeper to discover the answers to questions such as:
- What is your business all about?
Take your answers and consider the most pertinent information that may point your branding efforts in the right direction.
2. Identify Your Audience
A company that sells thrift home goods is likely to have a different target audience than one that sells replacement parts for hydraulic pumps.
Understand who you are selling to and who is in your target market. Determine the approximate age range, gender, wants, needs, behaviours and preferred content types of your target audience, and consider how your company may be the answer to some of their needs and challenges.
3. Research the Competition
In order to get a better understanding of how you differentiate your own company from the others, it is a good idea to look into what your competitors are doing in the marketplace.
Visit the websites and social media pages of your potential competition and make notes on what their marketing strategies appear to be, how they interact with customers, what their approximate prices are and any customer reviews that could bring valuable insight to bring your own brand identity into clearer focus.
4. Create a Mission Statement
Customers are more likely to do business with companies that evoke a more emotional or personal experience for their audience, especially with brands that go out of their way to establish consumer trust and safety.
Look back at some of the reasons you got started and clarify what your business is most passionate about. An automotive mechanic, for example, doesn’t just sell car parts and restore vehicles. They ensure that their customers have a safe and functional vehicle to be able to transport their loved ones and get to where they need to go in their lives.
Your mission statement should be something that can be infused into each element of your brand, from your logo to your brand’s personality. The more specific and sincere your brand’s mission statement, the easier it will be to translate into branded elements that speak clearly to your customers.
5. Define Your Voice
Some of the most notable brands across the world gained their reputation through a clear and consistent brand voice that demonstrates the company’s personality and tone.
Your brand’s voice communicates to your target customers with the spirit of your company in a way that resonates with those you want to bring in. Your unique brand voice should express an important aspect of what potential customers can expect from you and your business, which may be anything from friendly, funny and informal to professional, clean and straightforward.
Every element of your brand’s communication should consistently reflect your brand’s voice. This is an excellent way to establish consumer trust and reliability, so your customers will know exactly what they are getting when they reach out to your company or interact passively with your content.
For best results, you must tailor your brand voice to your target audience and make sure it aligns with your mission statement.
6. Make Mindful Design Choices
The way your company looks to your customers is incredibly important for your overall brand, as anything that doesn’t seem to match your brand’s voice, vision, products or services can put some customers off for good.
Imagery, from logos to brand colours, there are several important elements to consider when it comes to your brand’s visual personality.
Excellent logo design is the combination of great artwork and an understanding of your core values to create a graphic that adequately captures your company’s identity.
Make a mood board that consists of inspiration in terms of what logos you like, aesthetic elements you may like to see in your logo and a few inspirational images that may better direct the tone for your final logo. Pay close attention to whether shapes and lines on your mood board are clean and straight or looser and organic, and note the complexity or simplicity of what you’d like in your logo.
Bring these elements to a graphic designer or assemble an appealing design on your own using DIY design software and apps.
Colour is a powerful visual tool to help solidify your brand’s identity with consumers thanks in large part to colour psychology.
Rather than just use colours that you like or enjoy, think of the colours that tell the story of your company and will evoke the right reactions with your audience when they see your content.
iii). Visual Elements
Additional wordmarks, pictorials, monogram logos, display fonts, emblems and small illustrative elements can build out your visual brand identity and further display your company’s personality.
These additional personalizations can either establish a greater sense of brand harmony or interrupt the flow of your branding and confuse your audience, so make sure to select them wisely.
7. Set Your Brand Apart
Just as with people themselves, your brand identity has the potential to be unlike any other, to be unique and one-of-a-kind.
A big part of the branding process is to consider how your company can stand out against the competitors in your marketplace. Look at what others are doing within your industry and try to fill the gaps rather than replicate their efforts, which will only make you and your business fade into the background.
The more unique your branding is, the greater the contrast between you and your competitors–and the more you’ll stand out from the rest.
8. Commit to Your Story
A brand cannot truly come alive for your audience unless you breathe a little life into it with your own stories and narratives.
A good origin story can humanize a sterile brand and remind customers that there are actually people looking to make a difference for others through their work. Write down the facts about where you came from, how you got started, what you hope to do with your business and where you’d like to take your company.
With this information, compose a concise narrative that describes the soul or purpose of your company. As always, keep your target audience in mind and think about what they’d like to know most about the timeline of your company and what they are investing in when they do business with you.
9. Research Platforms
After you’ve established the basic elements of your brand identity, it is time to consider how they might be assembled on various platforms to really display your company’s hallmark characteristics in ways that will translate well to your customers.
The online presence of your business is generally the public face of your company, and where and how that face is displayed is as important as what is displayed. Though there are several social media platforms and hosting sites, not all of these platforms are appropriate for all businesses.
Choose the platforms that are most likely to enable you to reach your target audience and engage in various digital marketing strategies to increase your base. From photo-sharing apps to blogs and video vlogging sites, consider how you might utilize each space to accomplish your branding goals.
Some marketing strategists will suggest a presence on every social media site for maximum success, but this isn’t necessary. It is far better to focus your efforts in spaces you know will bring in potential clients than it is to cast a wide net and split your energy.
10. Start Marketing
With a clear and solid brand identity to work with, you can start to get your company out there and make a name for yourself in the marketplace.
An ironclad brand can bring in a great deal of success, increase your revenue, bring in more customers and promote your products in a way that feels true to who you are as a business.
Simple, Easy Steps to Build a Solid Brand Identity
Here are some simple and easy steps to build a solid brand identity for your business:
- Create a mission statement
- Make mindful design choices
Paisley Hansen is a mother of three and a small business owner. She spends her time caring for her children and taking her business to the next level. When she’s not busy working or taking care of her kids, you can find her at the gym or curl up with a good book.