It’s no secret that building a business from the ground up is no easy feat. The reality is that most days are a major grind. The day-to-day is a humble practice of crunching numbers, networking, arguing with co-founders and key stakeholders, difficult conversations with employees, late nights, early mornings, mistake after mistake, failure upon failure. But, it’s not all doom and gloom.
Most successful entrepreneurs will tell you that building a brand with name, slogan and logo creation is one of the most enjoyable, fulfilling parts of creating a business. It’s an opportunity for entrepreneurs to be creative, and to explore the philosophical domain by answering questions such as, why does my business exist?
There are three foundational stages to scale when building a brand. They are: brand creation, brand development, and brand communication.
In this article, we will touch on all three so that you have a general roadmap of how to take the great idea that lives in your head and build it into a great brand.
Before we start with brand creation, let’s first define what a brand is.
What Exactly Is A Brand?
Those with an ill-conceived idea of what a brand is tend to think of it simply as a flashy logo and a catchy slogan. Those things are indeed components of what makes up a brand, but they are not the only ones.
A brand, in essence, is how people perceive your business. There are things outside of your control that affect this perception, but also things that are within your control, and these are the things that you want to really contemplate and refine.
When building a brand, you must understand your business on the deepest of levels. You want to treat your business as if it is another human being that you are responsible for. With that spirit, you need to be introspective, look inward, and answer the big questions: who, what, how, and why.
Who is my business? What does my business do. How does my business do it? And most important, why does my business do what it does? Answer these questions, and then you have a story to tell the world.
Answering these questions is critical to building a brand, because creating a brand is about developing an emotional connection between your brand and your customer. If you don’t know why your business does what it does, then your customer won’t know either. And if your customer doesn’t know the true purpose of your business, then they have nothing to relate to, and if they can’t relate to it, there is no hope for an emotional connection. Ultimately, without an emotional connection, they won’t do business with you.
As mentioned above, the first step of brand creation is answering the question of who, what, how, and why. Once that’s done, there are a few more initial steps to follow.
Research Your Target Audience And Your Competitors
Next, know your market. Both your target customer and competitors.
Once you understand your business, you must then determine whether or not there is a place for you in the world.
Who are the people that want to do business with you? Or, in other words, do you provide a solution to a problem that needs to be solved? And what other businesses are trying to solve the same problem? Answering these questions will tell you whether or not there is space for your business in this market.
Establish The Personality Of Your Brand
So, you understand your business, and you’ve determined that there is space for your business in the market.
Now you must establish the personality of your brand. This step will help you further understand your business, and it will lay the groundwork for how you communicate your brand to the world.
Again, personifying your brand is a great exercise to employ.
Define your brand as a person, rather than as a logo or a written voice. If your company were a person, what type of person would that be? Male or female? Older or younger? How would it dress? What are its likes and dislikes? Where would it fit in? Who would it talk to? How would it dress?
Once you’ve developed a persona for your brand, you can then answer more technical questions such as, what’s your positioning statement? What words would you associate with your brand? What makes your brand different and unique? What metaphors describe your brand?
These questions may seem trivial and abstract, but they are critical to best understanding, and then communicating, your brand.
The brand development stage is where you take your understanding of your brand and apply it to the branding.
Your branding is the visual, external representation of your brand that the world can see and interact with. Think: logo, colours, messaging, type interface, imagery – everything that is used to tell the story of your brand.
Choose Your Business Name
The name of your business doesn’t necessarily have a direct impact on the success or bottom line of your business, but it will impact your logo, domain, marketing, and trademark registration.
For this reason, you want something that is hard to imitate or confuse with other players in the market.
You want something simple, recognizable, catchy. It should be flexible so that it allows you to pivot down the line into a new product line or a new business altogether, if need be.
You probably won’t get this part right on the first try, and that’s okay. Do as much research as you can, have fun with it, and roll with the punches that may follow.
Write A Slogan
Again, this step isn’t mission critical, and you don’t have to nail it on the first go-around. But, if you are strategic from the start, you do have the opportunity to create a slogan that becomes a valuable asset for your marketing, which will help you hit the ground running.
You want something concise, precise, catchy, and makes a strong impression. Some ways that you can approach writing a slogan would be to:
- Make it a metaphor. Redbull: “Redbull, it gives you wings.”
- Adopt your customer’s attitude. Nike: “Just do it.”
- Write a rhyme. Folgers: “The best part of waking up is folgers in your cup.”
Design The Look Of Your Brand (Logo, Colours, Font)
With your brand defined and your business name decided upon, it’s time to consider how you want to visually represent your brand.
You’ll want to decide upon the colors for your brand. These colors convey certain feelings and emotions that you want to communicate about your brand. This isn’t an exact science, but it’s not hard to imagine that black and grey, for example, probably wouldn’t be the best choice of colors to represent a children’s nursery.
With your colors and fonts picked out, now you can get to the really fun stuff of designing a logo.
Consider all of the places where your brand logo is going to exist. Think: website, social media avatars, storefront, mobile application icon.
Ideally, you’ll want to create your brand with a logo that’s unique, identifiable, and scalable to work at all sizes.
The last stage of creating a brand is brand communication. Brand communication is the combination of activities under your control that influence your customers’ opinions of your company and its services/products.
It is the sum total of their experiences and perceptions.
Once you have completed the previous steps – understanding your business, answering the important questions, developing the personality of your business, and getting creative with the visual elements that will help tell your brand story – then it’s about broadcasting this to your target market.
Brand communication is the broadcasting of your brand to the world through marketing and advertising. This is the social media copy, the amount of times a day that you post, the social media avenues that you use, your packaging, your advertising, your signage on the highway.
With everything else in place, now you can get back to the business-like activities to tell the story of your brand.