In the beginning stages of brand building, you can have a lot of fun. There are endless possibilities, and it seems as though the sky is the limit. But it’s not all fun and games. Building a brand from scratch can be a lot of work. Fortunately, like most things, you can break down the process of building your brand into easy, digestible tasks. So, don’t let the process overwhelm you. Breathe, put one foot in front of the other, and before you know it, you’ll be exactly where you want to be.
1. Think about your target audience
Now is the time to build your brand from the ground up, but you have to be smart about targeting the right audience. Too many small business owners fail because they develop the brand without even thinking about who they are targeting. It doesn’t matter whether you’re building a personal brand or a corporate one. You need to know whose attention you’re after, so you can tailor your brand building efforts around them.
2. Define your customer
Now that you have given some thought to who you want to target, it’s time to get into the specifics. At this point, many brands and creative agencies will create customer profiles. Think of these as fictional characters that are likely to use your service or buy your product. A customer profile should include your customers’ gender, age, likes and dislikes. Once you have those down, start thinking about his or her pain points. What problem does your product or service help solve, and how does that affect the rest of their lives?
3. Think like your customer
Your customer profiles will help you to start thinking about your target audience as real people. Marketing to Sally is very different than marketing to a nameless faceless crowd. Now is the time to start thinking like “Sally.” If she is an English professor, you probably won’t want to use slang in your marketing. If she is adventurous, you may want to use bold colors and fonts. Once you have an idea of the things she’ll respond to, start looking at brands with similar creative elements. Is she likely to shop there?
4. Outline your brand’s identity
Your brand should appeal to your target customer, but it also needs to stand out from the competition. Building a brand identity is about setting your brand apart from everything else. Your brand should have its own unique edge that gives people a reason for buying your product or service over someone else’s. Get all of this down on paper, so others can see and follow your vision.
5. Conceptualize your brand’s design elements
By now, you’re well on your way to building a brand strategy. You should have a good idea of what kind of fonts, colors, design elements and copy your target customer will respond to, and of that, you should have some ideas of what would work for your brand. Start pulling creative swipes together and create a few different color schemes and rough logo ideas. You may need to hire a designer for this, and that’s okay. This is an important part of the process.
6. Survey your target audience
Do you know anyone like Sally, your target customer? Ask her what she thinks of your ideas. Just be careful not to become too hung up on one person’s opinions. Try to get as many people involved as possible, but remember that opinions from people who would never shop with you aren’t usually so helpful.
7. Create your logo
Again, you’ll probably need at least one designer for this stage. You could have the best ideas, but if you don’t know how to create a professional-looking logo, your brand will end up looking like a hack job. Ask a designer to come up with a few concepts based on the creative elements that you’ve decided on, and if possible, poll the audience again.
8. Define creative guidelines
Once you have chosen a logo and other creative elements, you’ll want to ensure that they always retain the look you’ve set. Large brands have style guides that outline every detail of their creative assets from color to size and everything in between. It’s not absolutely necessary for you to go to this level of detail, but outlining the basics will help designers create things like your website, ads, business cards and much more.
9. Launch your brand
It’s time to activate the launch sequence. This means opening your website to the public, opening a physical shop (if that’s your thing), running ads and having all physical materials printed. This is a scary and exciting time where all of your hard work should finally pay off. Each and every element should look like the brand you have spent so much time painstakingly developing.
10. Stay true to your brand’s identity
Now that your brand has been launched, it’s time to bring in the actual customers. Sally is great, but her imaginary pocket book isn’t going to help you pay the bills. Building brand awareness isn’t easy, but there are many ways to increase your brand’s visibility. Just be sure that you stay true to your brand’s identity in everything you do, whether it’s social media, SEO, PPC or anything else.