So, you’re a start-up wondering about building a brand that stands out in the minds of consumers and the competitors in your lane. How can you do it? If you’re asking yourself how to build a brand effectively, you’re already thinking the right thing. Brands are complex, and where many go wrong in launching their own, is not thinking about the many different things that go into creating a strong brand.
With a little help from the branding pros at Clearbridge Branding Agency, here are eight things to remember when thinking about how to build a brand for your business.
Building a Brand in 8 Essential Steps
Step One: Identify Your Audience
Audiences are arguably the most informative piece of the puzzle when it comes to building a brand. They’re your purpose. Age, gender, location (and exhaustively more nuanced data) all impact the creation and direction for your brand.
Who is the target market for your product? What personal goals does this group of people have that relate to the product you’re selling? What are their hopes, fears, motives, and purchasing behaviors? Remember, you are not your customer. Identifying your audience is key to business success and the very first step you should take when wondering how to build a brand, says Clearbridge.
Step Two: Refine Your Focus
Straight from the gate, you may have all kinds of ideas for your brand and your products. It’s great to dream big, but you can’t be everything to everyone—especially as a start-up. Shelf those big ideas for now and instead refine your focus. What does that mean?
You need to know your why. Why are you creating a brand? Why are you going into business? What values or solutions are you providing? It can be easy to get lost in the creation of your brand and all its moving parts. Refining your focus and making it simple for you (and for others) to understand and relate to your values will help you in the creation and execution of every other avenue in your brand and business.
Step Three: Do Your Research
When building a brand, it’s important to have a solid understanding of the market you are entering. What’s the current climate? Who are your competitors? How can you learn from their strengths and weaknesses? Pay close attention to your competition. Watch what they’re doing on social. See how they’re providing solutions to their customers. Use this information to inform your own tactics and values. How can you do it more efficiently?
Step Four: Define Your Personality
In the simplest of terms, a brand is an identity. What personality, traits, or characteristics do you want your brand to be synonymous with? Grab a piece of paper or pull open a notes tab on your device. Brainstorm keywords, phrases, ideas, and emotions you feel represent your brand. This is a great exercise in developing the personality you wish to convey to your audience.
Step Five: Choose a Name
This may have been the very first step you took when thinking about how to build a brand—and that’s okay. Just make sure your discoveries in steps one through four align with the name you may have already chosen.
If you haven’t yet chosen a name for your brand, even better. You can dive deep into the audience you’ve identified, the focus you’ve refined, and the research and personality you’ve curated and let those things inspire a name that is both memorable and appropriate.
Step Six: Choose Your Colors and Fonts
Okay! Now we can have some fun. And while the branding pros at Clearbridge would say that every aspect of developing your brand is fun on its own, there’s something about the visual components of your brand that excite and inspire.
Which colors come to mind when you think of your product, service, and customer? Which accent colors and typeface will complement your potential logo and the creative you use both online and in the real world? Have fun with trial and error. Just be sure it all clicks.
For a more in-depth guide to understanding the colors of branding, click here.
Step Seven: Design Your Logo
Often, steps six and seven coincide. Sometimes, you have specific colors and fonts in mind that will inform your logo design. In other cases, the logo comes first and really should influence every other visual decision you make. This is really up to you, says Clearbridge. Just ensure they all work together in the end.
If there’s one mistake many start-ups make, it’s not hiring a professional when it counts. Your logo is, in many ways, the face of your brand. It has great power. It informs your customers and sparks emotion. Anything less than excellence can have unseen consequences. So be smart and hire a professional designer.
Step Eight: Launch Your Brand Online
It’s a digital age and your brand needs to find its footing on the web. Ironically, for a brand to find roots in the real world, it needs to start online.
It’s imperative your brand has a website for consumers to find your products, services, and general information about your business. It’s also imperative that your brand establishes a social media presence. Some platforms are better suited for brands over others. If you’re a roofing contractor, is Instagram really going to get you reach or results? If you’re a bakeshop, is LinkedIn the place you’re going to engage with your audience?
Don’t spread your brand thin on social media. Just be sure your newly-designed logo, content, and marketing collateral are all consistently represented across all mediums—on social, on your site, and on and offline.
Are you ready to start building a strong and memorable brand? Clearbridge Branding Agency has offices in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Southern New Jersey, and their team of award-winning professionals are ready to help. Contact them today to learn how they can take your brand beyond.