There is a fine line of differentiation between a business and a brand and the first question that may come up would be: How to build a brand? What are the most crucial elements of a reputed brand? What should a brand look like? The list of questions can be endless while you are building your brand for the first time.
If you want to make your mark in the industry, you need to focus on building a brand identity. A business could be a starting point, but brand identity is the fuel of your journey which will make you persist in your industry. Hence, today, we will guide you through the entire process of brand building and how you can take your business to newer heights as a trustworthy brand for your customers. Let’s get started.
What is a Brand Identity?
Before we jump on to the process, let’s first analyze the real meaning of a brand identity. A brand identity simply resembles your business and indicates your business reputation. It is not what you call your business, but what your customers tell each other about you.
Your brand identity comprises multiple factors such as company values, product offerings, logos, color scheme, communication style, customer service, and so much more. It portrays your business to the customers and ultimately makes your business the talk of the city or even country!
McDonald’s is not just recognized by a business but mostly by a brand. Whenever you hear the name, one of the first things you can imagine is the scrumptious burgers and fries. You already know what you can expect from McDonald’s since they are a global brand.
This is precisely why you should focus on building your brand identity to make a long-lasting impression and a stronger customer base for your business.
Why Put Effort into Building a Brand?
Like we mentioned, your brand is what other people say to each other about your business. It is essentially the face of your business. Without a brand, your business is practically faceless. It increases your chances of getting lost in the market with no recognition. Without a brand, you may end up being just a regular startup that nobody knows or talks about!
Building your Brand helps in establishing the credibility and authority of your business. A good brand that sticks to its values and words is loved by its customers. Such businesses end up having a higher queue of returning customers.
Irrespective of how high the prices go, Starbucks always has a loyal customer base who are always ready to purchase their premium drinks without any hesitation, even if they can find similar coffees and lattes in other stores.
Similarly, whenever Gucci adds its logo to a handbag, the value instantly hikes up to a thousand or more dollars! Why? This is the power of branding!
10 Steps to Build Your Brand
Now that we have figured out the importance of branding, let’s dive deep into the 10 step procedure of building your brand as a startup.
Step 1: Define the Purpose of your Brand
If you have started a business, you surely do have a purpose of doing the same. Your purpose is not just providing the products or service to your consumers but also about why you are doing the same.
Suppose your business is about delivering homemade meals online. What is the purpose of your Brand? Of course, the homemade meals. There are countless brands out there selling food to their consumers. What makes your business stand out, and why should your consumers even invest in your business?
Your purpose could be to provide nutritional, healthy, and tasty food to your consumers, wherein your customers can snack on the tastiest dishes guilt-free!
To define your brand in a better manner, you can start by focussing on the three components of the Golden Circle by Simon Sinek:
- What – The products and services that your business offers
- How – The way your business stands out from your competitors
- Why – The reason for the existence of your brand and what you are passionate about here.
Once you define your Brand’s purpose, you need to put it on a mission statement. Remember, the “why” part of your Brand’s purpose is the ultimate determining factor of your mission statement. It demonstrates the standard of your services and how you, along with your employees, serve your customers.
For example, the mission statement of Nike is: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”
Step 2: Identify the Target Audience
Your business isn’t for everyone. Not everyone wants to have healthy food. Some people love to have junk, and there is no way you can blame them!
Similarly, if you are an ethnic apparel brand, there could be many people who do not prefer wearing ethnic and prefer western clothing.
This is why you need to focus on identifying your target audience. Brands like Nike, Gucci, McDonald’s, etc., have their target audiences and advertise specifically to them.
If you want to build a reputed and strong brand, you need to find your target audience. Needless to say, it is also an essential component of your business marketing strategy.
You can choose multiple tools, software or take the help of agencies that help with your target audience research and give you a report about the insights and demographics of your target audiences.
While identifying your target market, you also need to focus on your brand buyer persona. You can describe your ideal customer as per the following demographics:
- Education level
- Geographic location
- Pain points
- Brand affinities
Step 3: Create a Unique Voice of your Brand
After analyzing your target market, it is time to develop the brand voice that will convey the brand message to the target audiences. There are different ways to start with this.
A typical brand voice could be:
The options are limitless here. The key is to focus on the personality of your business and choose the voice accordingly. Your brand voice will be used for your brand’s copy across different social media channels and websites for promoting your Brand.
Step 4: Tell Your Brand’s Story
Your Brand’s story comprises the steps we just mentioned above. Your brand story is basically the extended version of the “why” from your mission statement.
Here’s the brand story of TOMS, one of the leading brands for shoes since 2006.
Their story represents their Brand and showcases their purpose. They donate shoes to the person that is in need. They also contribute 1/3rd of their company’s profits to support the needy.
Their brand voice is heartwarming and strikes the right strings. Unlike Nike or Adidas, they have focussed on a charitable approach that clearly describes the band’s story and message.
Step 5: Design the Visual Elements
Now that we have the story and the voice figured out let’s focus on the Brand’s visual elements. The visual elements of your Brand comprise the logo, color palette, icon elements, and typography. It is basically how your customers will perceive your brand.
For example, the logos of McDonald’s and Starbucks represent what they are. Similarly, you need to design what represents your brand identity and dictates what your business serves.
Here’s the logo of a dog walking business.
Here the logo represents a dog walking, and the complete impression is very safe, friendly, and fun. The font can help build the pet owners’ trust for relying on the Brand with their pets.
Step 6: Establish Your Brand Differential
To make your business stand out, you need to figure out what makes your brand unique in the industry. You need to start monitoring your competitors in the industry. Analyze their branding strategies, advertising campaigns, and other such aspects.
However, you are not supposed to copy their strategies directly. Since we are focussing on making your brand identity unique, you can start by implementing a few potions while adding your Brand’s creative touch.
For example, if you find a food joint copying McDonald’s branding, you would, of course, prefer the real McDonald’s over the other one, right?
Let’s check out an example of a cafe at Better Buzz Coffee in San Diego. This local chain isn’t typically trying to compete with Starbucks. Even if their location is identical, the Brand’s visual elements, experience, and environment are completely different.
They do not have anything similar to Starbucks, yet this strategy helps them thrive in a saturated market.
Step 7: Build Your Brand
When we have the elements and the knowledge ready for our Brand, it is time to publicize it. Start by designing your brand website and create separate social media profiles accordingly. You can also consider hiring a social media agency to handle your Brand’s social presence.
Remember to stick to your Brand’s voice, purpose, and visual elements while building the Brand.
Step 8: Promote Your Brand
Once you have built your brand, it’s time to finally start promoting it. However, not every business will profit from the same marketing campaign. The key here is to focus on only your brand and create a strategy accordingly. Your marketing strategy should be aligned with your branding strategy. You should be consistent with your brand voice on all the marketing strategies.
Step 9: Get Influencers Who Can Advocate for Your Brand
Influencer marketing is one of the top-rated marketing strategies currently. Focus on identifying the best influencers within your industry and collaborate with them to rave about your services and products to their audience.
If you choose a suitable influencer within your industry, their audience will also resonate with your target audience. By getting credible influencers promoting your brand, you can quickly establish your brand authority and credibility to a larger audience base while making a positive reputation.
For example, Nike only sponsors athletes for promoting their brand and not some fortune 500 millionaires.
Step 10: Evolve
Once you build your brand and promote it, it doesn’t mark the end of the journey. As a reputed brand, you should be prepared to adapt and change as per the requirements. Your branding strategy today that brings 100 customers may not bring even 1 in the near future.
Your brand needs to regularly stay updated with the perpetually changing industry trends and market needs. If your Brand cannot evolve with years, your Brand will not last long in the industry.
For example, Mcdonald’s had a reputation of serving only unhealthy and fried food, which impacted their business. Now you can find multiple healthy options in the McDonalds menu.
Similarly, the brand Old Spice was popular in the name of “deodorant for old people”; this made them lose the younger mass of audience. Hence, they rebranded their business and started new promotional strategies and product lines such as the body wash that transformed the public perception of their company.
The Benefits of Building a Brand
Building a brand comes with limitless benefits. Some of them include:
- Better customer recognition
Like everybody knows about brands like Nike, Starbucks, McDonald’s, etc., building a brand will also help your business reach globally and make its mark in the industry. Your customers can easily identify your Brand right from the color, font, or expressions representing a successful business.
- Higher customer loyalty
Customer satisfaction is a balanced blend between the continuously positive emotional experience with the perceived value of a strong brand. Just like everybody trusts Nike for their shoe quality and McDonald’s for their burger and fries, when you build a reputable brand, your target customers will trust and rely on you for their purchases, resulting in more loyal customers.
- Improved advertising
Anything from a renowned and strong brand will instantly build curiosity and reliance on the target audience. Thus, once you build your Brand and evolve, the easier and quicker your Brand will get promoted to the target audience.
- Lower price sensitivity
Just like we mentioned, you may find coffees that are similar to Starbucks lattes. However, you can still find the long line at the drive-through or the takeaway of Starbucks every day even when they know they can get a decent alternative at affordable rates. This is because Starbucks has a reputable brand. Even if they raise their prices, you can still find the line increasing each day. Similarly, if your Brand thrives in the industry, your loyal customers wouldn’t mind spending more on your brand than the affordable options.
- Preference during purchase decisions
If you compare a local brand with Nike, you would obviously choose the latter over the first since they are a big brand and confident about their quality of services. Similarly, when you build a brand, you get the upper hand over your competitors. Your customers will always choose your Brand over them and invest in your products without any hesitation.
Without building a brand, your business will just remain as a mere nameless startup with no recognition. You may never achieve your business goals, and eleven end up running at losses as new brands grow every day. You need to establish your Brand as soon as possible to compete in the market and build your authority. The key is to ensure that your brand story, visual elements, mission statement, and other components revolve around the purpose of your Brand. Focus on the best advertising strategies and market your brand as much as possible to the maximum audience. Lastly, never be afraid of changes. Your Brand needs to be agile and ready to rebrand whenever necessary. What are you waiting for? Kickstart the procedure of building a brand from scratch today and witness the growth of your business in the long run.