When starting a new business or LLC, branding is an important consideration. Sure, your focus may be tied up with filing the appropriate paperwork or securing seed money, but to create something memorable, you must think of your branding every step of the way. You want to create a brand image and voice that will separate you from the competition and keep you top of mind for your target customer base. While branding specifics will depend on the nature of your business and how you want to position yourself in the industry, there are a few best practices that can be applied to just about every brand-building scenario. Here are the top tips for branding your business:
Research Your Audience
You cannot develop the appropriate brand if you do not know who you are attempting to reach. If your product or service is for women over 30, you will want to avoid branding that will attract twenty-something men, for example. Consider who will be using/buying your product and figure out what motivates them. What do they want to see from an offering like yours and what will motivate them to choose you?While exploring your potential target audience(s), be sure to determine your value proposition. What makes your business or brand different? What can customers get from your business that they can’t get anywhere else? Answering these questions will go a long way to help you develop a brand image and voice.
While researching your audience, it is a good idea to research your competitors as well. You do not want to imitate them but you do want to understand what they do well, and where they come up short. Understanding the competition can help you figure out where you fit in the space and allow you to create a brand personality that is different from what is already available.
Establish a Brand Mission Statement
Your brand mission statement is your why. It is why you started your business and why you show up to work every single day. Similar to your value proposition, your mission statement will be a consumer-facing statement that lets the reader know who you are.It will guide all of your branding elements and inform potential clients of your business practices. Ask yourself: what do we do? Your answer should be the foundation of your mission statement.
Design Your Logo
One of the most important parts of business branding is logo design. This logo will become your business calling card!Depending on your niche, it might be a good idea to go way outside the box with your logo. Consider what you can do to alter common shapes and figures to be something distinctive to your brand. It will also be necessary to determine brand colors. People respond emotionally to different colors in different ways. For example, red is commonly associated with danger and excitement while green is considered natural and can denote sustainability or wealth. Think carefully about how you want people to feel when they think about your brand or see your logo. Make color, style, and font choices based on the emotions you want to evoke. Consider hiring graphic design services to manage this task or, if you have your own artistic capabilities, use a design platform like Canva to create the right logo for your brand. At this time, develop a brand guide so all branding going forward is consistent. Include rules for logo size and placement, chosen color palette, and typography and font details.
Develop a Web Presence
Once you have your brand assets lined up, you can start to build your web presence. Secure a domain name, find a web host, and begin to build out your website. Choose a domain name that is easy to spell, memorable, and linked to your brand. Your logo, color scheme, and font choices should be used consistently across all of your pages. You want visitors to know they are on YOUR site no matter which page they navigate to. This branding should be carried over to your social media profiles as well. Set up a LinkedIn profile for your business as well as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts where appropriate. If you do not have web design experience, consider using a platform like Weblium to create the perfect page.
Integrate Your Brand Into Your Business
It is essential that your branding is integrated into all possible touchpoints. When someone enters your storefront or office, visits your website, or interacts with your staff, they should be able to see your logo and have the full experience of your brand. Your logo should, obviously, be displayed on all signage and staff uniforms but your brand voice and brand mission should be a part of all interactions, both internal and client-facing. As said above, your brand mission statement will dictate everything that you do. It is part of your core values and will direct your employees’ behavior. Each element of your business should be clearly branded. This means office spaces and storefronts, social media profiles, web pages, business cards, packaging, signage, and uniforms all should clearly display your business brand.Whenever you do any type of marketing, be it direct advertising, blog posting, community events, or sponsorships, you will want your branding prominently displayed.
Advocate for Your Brand
Developing your business brand is not enough to make it stick. You’ll have to put in some additional legwork. Your passion drives your business, it should also drive your branding. No one knows and understands your brand better than you do so you are actually the best person to share it. When hiring new employees or contractors, make sure that they understand your business culture and brand values. With this understanding, all the work that they do will reflect your brand the way you want and need. If you don’t ensure that your brand is seen, heard, and reflected in company products and assets, no one else will.
Monitor Your Brand
Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine how your brand performs. Use surveys, social media polls, Google Analytics, reviews, and online comments to see how people feel about, and interact with, your brand. This information can help you make shifts on the fly either to correct a disconnect or improve brand identity. You may think your brand message and persona are crystal clear, but if your target audience doesn’t feel the same, something needs to change. Branding your business does not have to be complicated but it does require careful thought, time, and strategy. By thinking about your business goals and where you fit in your industry, you can develop clear and consistent branding that will set you apart from the competition and draw customers to your product or service.