Brand Your Business – The Beginner’s Guide
Apple, Coca-Cola, Google, McDonald’s… What do they all have in common? Apart from being worth billions, all of these companies have built a brand. They are instantly recognisable; from seeing the Golden Arches of McDonald’s to the red and white packaging of Coca-Cola, you know who they are. A brand isn’t just about creating a logo and colour scheme and hoping for the best. In order to properly brand your business, you have to create a feeling. This beginner’s guide will help you do just that.
What is a brand?
As mentioned, branding isn’t just about your logo or colour scheme. It goes so much further than that. Your brand is what people think about when they hear your name or see your product. It’s a thought or feeling that is conjured up by previous and potential customers. Your brand could be renowned for having the most luxurious products on the market, that come in beautiful packaging (think Tiffany). It could be known for offering exceptional customer service, an accolade which Amazon won in the UK last year – Your brand can evoke certain thoughts and feelings, like that inevitable stomach rumble whenever you see the Golden Arches of McDonald’s. So no, branding isn’t just about the font of your logo or the colours on your website.
How to brand your business
There are two main ways to create a brand for your business. The first is to hire an expert in branding to do it all for you. The second (and the one we’re going to cover) is to work at it yourself. You will want to create a brand strategy outline that details everything you think you want your business to say about itself – and how you will put that into practice. Here’s our step-by-step guide to branding your business.
Step 1: Define Your Brand
Hopefully, you already have some kind of marketing or business plan ready to make this step a little easier. If not, go and write one now! You should know the products or services you offer, what sets you apart from the competition, and who your target audience is. Consider the needs of your potential customers and what space your business fills in the market. This will help you define the kind of brand you need to build, to reach out specifically to those potential customers.
Step 2: Create Your Brand’s Persona
One of the best techniques we’ve learnt while building your business brand is to consider it as if it’s a person. A person with its own thoughts, feelings, beliefs and values. Grab a large piece of paper and draw out your person (brand). What kind of personality does it have? What are its likes and dislikes? What would make somebody else want to engage with this person? Create an entire persona for your brand; one that your target audience is likely to want to take out for coffee.
Step 3: Don’t Copy Your Competition
As you’re building up your brand strategy outline, you might find yourself referring back to other big-name brands. After all, they’re the ones that are successful, right? Well, yes, but do you really want to blur the lines for your potential customer? Imagine if your branding makes them think of a better-known competitor… It’s going to make them choose the competition, over your lesser known offering. Dare to be bold and set yourself apart from others in the industry.
Step 4: Colours and Logos
Now that you finally have a good idea of what you want your brand to say to others, you can go ahead and start getting creative. Different colours and fonts can evoke all sorts of emotions, so you may want to do a little research into the psychology of it all first. For example, people see blue as one of the most trustworthy and dependable colours (think Facebook and Twitter). Red, on the other hand, is seen as bold and exciting (Coca-Cola and Nintendo). The font and even the shape of your logo can also play a part in whether your potential customer subconsciously likes or dislikes you.
Here’s a useful guide explaining what emotions the different colours conjure for your potential customers:
Step 5: Your Voice
On top of finding the perfect logo and colour scheme for your business brand, you’ll also want you consider your voice. How do you want to talk to customers? Establishing a voice is an important part of building your brand, and it should remain consistent. You’ll use your business’ voice in emails, on social media, on the website, and even on the phone. Again, think back to your target audience. If you’re hoping to sell to a group of teenagers then you’ll need to ‘get down with their lingo’ (don’t ever use that phrase, that’s definitely not deemed as cool). If your target audience consists of professionals then you’re probably not going to want to sign all your tweets off with a kiss.
Step 6: Getting Your Brand Out There
The final step is actually getting your brand out there. Just slapping your logo on everything doesn’t cut it anymore. Engage with your customers through every avenue possible and let them find out more about who you are and what your brand means to them. You don’t need to send everyone a letter with your core values on it; instead, let them interact with you and learn what’s important to your business. Keep things consistent and remain a presence both online and offline. Utilise every marketing tool in your arsenal, and it won’t be long before you truly become a brand.