If you’re thinking about launching a business, know that you have your work cut out for you. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that half of all businesses fail within five years. Five years after that, only one-third of companies remain.
Building a brand is one of the best ways to ensure that your company succeeds. It helps you stand out from competitors and attract new customers to do business with you.
To help you understand the importance of personal branding, we’ve put together this guide. By the time you finish reading it, you’ll know everything there is to know about brand identity.
Read on to learn all about what it takes to build a brand.
What Is Brand Identity?
Although most people use the two interchangeably, a brand and a brand identity are a bit different from one another.
A brand refers to a name, company, or product/service. Most of the brands that we know are businesses, like Coca-Cola or Google. However, brands can also be products, like Kleenex, or services, like a blog.
Brand identity refers to the different visual elements that form a part of a brand. This can include everything from the website and logo to the design of the products or services.
Why Is Personal Branding Important?
When you spend a lot of time building a brand, it can have a positive effect on your business.
Powerful brands often have high levels of customer loyalty. When people feel passionate about your brand, they might support it by telling other people about it and promoting it.
They’ll also come back to you to do business, supporting your company over time. You won’t have to worry about a competitor encouraging them to leave you for them.
How to Build a Brand in 9 Steps
While those are some of the benefits of personal branding, getting to a point where you can enjoy them isn’t easy. In fact, many companies never manage to create a solid brand identity.
To make one, it’s going to take some work. Let’s take a look at what you’ll need to do to build a brand.
1. Have a Purpose
Too many people enter the world of business because they want to make money. For a company to be lucrative, it needs to be successful—and to get there, you need to make sure that your brand has a purpose.
Your purpose will affect all the other areas of your brand, so put some thought into it. Your goal should be to try and answer three questions:
- Why your brand exists
- How you’re different than your competitors
- What products or services you’re going to offer
Having answers to these questions will ensure that you know what steps will take you forward. It’ll also encourage customers to work with you along the way.
2. Research Competitors
If your business is starting out, make a point to research the competition. You should never imitate exactly what they do, but it can give you some insight into the steps you should take (and those you should avoid).
Once you figure out what your competitors are doing, create a strategy that will help you differentiate your business from there’s. Why should a customer work with you over them?
To help you out, create a spreadsheet that explains the different values of your competitors. Identify and list out their:
- Visuals and message
- Product/service quality
- Marketing strategies
- Customer reviews
After that, use the information you found to help you differentiate yourself from the competition.
3. Have a Target Audience in Mind
You can have the best vision in the world, but if you don’t take the time to tailor it to a specific type of person, it’ll all be for nothing. Determining your target audience is, therefore, a must.
In general, it’s better to tailor your content towards a specific niche of people than a general crowd. For example, if you’re thinking about targeting dads, you might want to specify “millennial dads who are good with tech”.
Once you have an idea of the kind of people that you want to work with, it’ll be easy to build your brand identity in a way that they find relatable.
4. Create a Vision and Brand Mission
While your brand’s purpose is why it exists, the vision is what you would like to see happen.
Think about the impact that you would like your company to have. Do you want to educate people about the political events happening around them? Do you want to sell a sustainable product that benefits the environment?
Once you have your vision in mind, your brand mission is the roadmap that will help you get there. It’s a commitment to the steps you’ll take now and in the future to achieve your vision.
5. Be Clear on Your Competitive Advantage
One thing you’ll quickly realize in business is that there’s always going to be someone with more resources and a bigger budget. To combat these sorts of rivals, you’ll need to be clear on your competitive advantage.
What does your brand do that’s different from everyone else? Are you more relatable? Do you provide customer service that outshines the competition?
Once you know what your company’s competitive advantage is, make sure to highlight it. You want your customers to know exactly why your business is so much better than the rest.
6. Decide on a Brand Voice
Your brand voice is what customers will associate with your company. Because of that, you need to make sure that you put some thought into it.
Some of the common tones that companies choose to use include:
Choose a brand voice that helps you fulfill your mission and work effectively with your target customer. This will require you to take their demographics into account.
The brand voice a Gen Z clothing store uses will look very different than that of a tech company used by middle-aged moms.
7. Have a Story Behind Your Brand
People don’t want to do business with a faceless entity. They want to know who they’re working with. Advertising a brand story can help make your brand more personable.
Instead of explaining what your product or service does, try and explain why that matters to the customer. How will it benefit their lives or the lives of others?
Make sure that all customers know who you are and the products or services that you offer. You also want your brand story to be interesting—customers should care about who you are. Try your best to strike an emotional chord.
8. Use Design to Your Advantage
It might surprise you that design is this far down on the list, but that’s because you first need to identify things like your mission statement, target customer, and brand story.
All of these elements play into the sort of design themes you should use.
Put a lot of thought into everything from the fonts you use to your logo and color palette. Elements like color might not seem important, but they can make a huge difference in how people feel when they visit your site.
Understanding how to use design can be challenging, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience with it. For help with aesthetics and other elements, check out this guide to launching a successful online business.
9. Be Consistent
There’s no sense in putting time and energy into your brand if you don’t stay consistent with it. Customers want to see that your brand voice seeps into all of the content that you create.
To ensure that your brand stays consistent, create a spreadsheet as a reminder of the different brand guidelines you follow. Check any content that you produce against it before posting it.
Inconsistencies confuse customers as it makes it more difficult to identify what your brand is all about. Adhere to the guidelines you set yourself and there won’t be a limit to your success.
Building a Brand Made Easy
If you’re looking to grow your business, the most efficient way to do that is by creating a brand identity. Your company needs to have a recognizable voice and traits to help it stand out from the crowd.
Use this guide as a resource to help you in your endeavors. By following the tips mentioned, you’ll have no problem building a brand and helping your business take off.
Do you now have a better understanding of how to brand? If you do, make sure to check out the rest of our site for more helpful guides and tips.