A brand that is recognizable and relatable is one of the most undervalued assets a business owns.
Brands with consistent branding expect to earn 23% more annual revenue than the brands that are inconsistent. (Lucidpress)
Many business owners are overwhelmed by their business. Being on-call for any potential problems is tiring. Simplify your brand to increase profit while minimizing the time spent on marketing and advertising!
So, how do you build a brand?
Well, branding is MUCH more than an awesome logo, or well-placed advertisement. You need more.
Well, what is a brand then?
Your brand is how your customer perceives your business. Not you, not the owner, how your customers see you. This is your reputation!
Successful brands use consistent communication and relationships in all areas:
- In-House (in the office)
- Print, signs, packaging
- Sales and customer interactions
“Define what your brand stands for, its core values and tone of voice, and then communicate consistently in those terms” – Simon Mainwaring
Truth is: branding doesn’t happen overnight, or even in a few weeks. However, the process is worth the results: establishing long-term relationships with your customers will keep them coming back time and again.
This increases your sales while decreasing the amount of time and effort you have to put in.
What is brand building?
Generating awareness about your business using marketing strategies and campaigns with the goal of creating an iconic image in your industry.
Wondering where to start?
How to Build Your Brand
Too many businesses make the mistake of talking about themselves, when really what they need to do is talk about what problems they solve for their customers. What needs do they meet? This is the most important thing you can do for your business (yes more important than a logo). If you can’t explain what problem you solve, then no-one will buy from your business.
1. Brand Storytelling
This is the who, what, why, and how your company benefits your customers.
First, Determine Your Brand’s Target Audience
You need to be specific. Your target audience is NOT the entire world. That would be 7 billion+ people.
Here are some examples:
- Single stay at home Dads
- College students studying for their Masters
- Business Owners of 100+ employee companies
- Tech-savvy millennials
- Retired Navy veterans
Then, you create personas of your ideal consumer. This gives you a better idea of how to relate to your audience and build a brand around them.
Narrow your focus and you will have an advantage over your competition because your message will be crystal clear to your target audience. You want the right people, not everyone and their dog.
Establish your Mission Statement
What is your business passionate about? This is your Why. Why you do what you do. We have a whole article you can read more about this here.
This affects every other part of your brand and is your reason for existing.
What does your brand offer?
We mentioned this before. This is how your company benefits your customers. What does your company offer that no one else does? Depending on your industry you may have tons of competition(realtors and health are good examples). What products, services, and benefits belong solely to your business?
This is how you create a memorable brand. Now that you know your target audience, give them a reason to choose YOU.
This isn’t a list of features. What value do you provide (what results are experienced) that improves a customer’s life?
- Increased productivity in daily activities
- Cost reduction with a more affordable option
- Family, friendly customer service
Now, you’ve established the who, what, why and how of your brand storytelling. It’s time to form a strategy.
2. Brand Strategy
This is a plan that covers your specific long-term goals that are achieved with the evolution of a successful brand. There’s a lot to cover here, so buckle up!
Research and Define Your Brand
Don’t be a copy-cat; however, you can gather inspiration from big brands in your industry. Your goal is to stand out, be iconic from your competition. You want your customers to choose you over them.
So, research your competitors. How well are they doing? What do they do well? What do they not do well? Choose 2-3 competitors. Key questions to ask are:
- Is your competitor consistent with their messaging and identity?
- What is the quality of your competitor’s products and services?
- Does your competitor have reviews?
- How is your competitor marketing themselves, online, offline or both?
Create a Branded Logo & One-Liner
You have 30 seconds to explain what you do and how it benefits your potential client. Go.
Did your response blurt out almost without your conscious thought? Good. Most business owners can’t explain what they do, let alone their employees.
Your One-Liner is your elevator pitch. Typically, you want to be able to spew this out in 1-4 sentences.
We are Story Brand Certified and have a patented process we’ll guide you through to create your unique One-Liner (if you choose to work with us that is).
Of course, now its time for the fun part. The logo. This is where you would work with your designer to create a logo that reinforces the visual elements of your brand.
Form Your Brand Voice & Personality
Your voice depends on your mission, audience, and industry. This is how you communicate with your customers, and how they’ll respond in kind.
Your voice could be:
Ideally, you’ll choose a core “voice” but eventually expand your repertoire to include other tones, depending on your use.
The brand voice informs all of your writing, especially in blogs and social media. Maintaining a consistent voice builds your brand image consistently on multiple channels. Your audience and followers will come to expect a certain voice and personality!
Personify Your Brand
Are you classy and professional? Spontaneous and fun? Cutting edge and forward-thinking? Personify your brand to stand out from your competition.
As an example, look at the picture above.
3. Brand Guidelines
These govern the composition, design, look-and-feel of your company’s branding. These are the guidelines (more like rule-book) anyone who makes use of your brand should reference. This includes:
- Business Partners
Sections in a guideline vary business to business but usually include your brand identity or the physical aspects of your brand such as:
- Logo Usage
They may also include the intangible aspects of your brand or your:
- Core Values
Usually, this is a document that you, your business, and anyone who thinks of representing your brand should reference in order to build a clear, consistent message for your customers.
We should almost use the word implementation here instead of management. This is where you use all of the before-mentioned steps and implement your brand throughout your entire business (hopefully using a targeted marketing plan). This includes your:
- Print Ads
- Web Ads
- Social Media Marketing Plan
- Promotions & Campaigns
- Events, etc.
Ultimately, the company you hire to brand you should teach you how to use your brand. That’s what the Brand Guidelines are for!
They teach you and you educate your employees on the company values, vision, mission and why you do what you do. Make sure everyone is on the same page, so your business continues to run smoothly.
Integrate Your Brand into Every Part of Your Business
Soon, every department of your business should receive a copy or your brand guidelines, and preferably be walked through proper usage.
Updated your logo? Okay, time to make a list of EVERYWHERE your logo goes:
- Print Materials
- Social Media
Now, you literally have to make a list and check it twice because otherwise you will miss updating an area on your new brand. This leads to customer confusion, which leads to them choosing your competition over you.
If you need help brainstorming places, talk to your designer!
Finally, it’s dangerous to go alone!
After everything is done, your designer should still be there for you to help you stay on the right path for consistent, clear branding.
If you have any questions about implementation, brand usage or whether its time to re-brand, etc. don’t be afraid to ask your designer! They want to help your business succeed, and are only a quick phone call away.
If you found this blog valuable, we have a free downloadable pdf that breaks down what we covered here into the 10 most important items.
Download 10 Things Every Brand Needs to start building your brand. Win back your freedom, and stop being frustrated by your marketing!