What is a brand? It’s not only a logo and a name, but it is first and foremost how people perceive your business. Your brand is more than a business card or even more than your face. By seeing your face, people have a first impression about you, who you are, how you behave, if they can trust you or not. By seeing your brand, people should be instantly drawn in, or curious to say the least. Your brand is the way you connect to people, which is why you should spend time making decisions about its look and message, and then applying it consistently and making it grow.
- Give your brand a human look.
If you want to create an impactful and consistent brand, you should stop thinking of your company as a business and start thinking about it as a person with a face, a personality, a reputation. What would you like your company to look like if it were a person? What colours? Which font? Answering these questions should help you to define a logo, which you should apply consistently to your brand across all marketing channels you use. Now, how would you like your person to speak? What would they say? Find your brand’s voice: is it the voice of a convincing salesman? Or of an expert in their field? Is it the optimistic utterance of a young, fresh entrepreneur or the reassuring tones of a mum who raised three children while starting her career?
- Words matter
If you had to describe your brand in five adjectives, which ones would you pick? Probably when you think of your brand, or even better, when you want to present your project to potential customers, you are tempted to explain a lot, so this kind of question might sound restrictive. But it is crucial to identify your business with few, quick brush strokes so that you can make an impression on fretful people scrolling their social networks. Be playful in your brand-building process: if it were an animal, what would it be? Or a festivity? A type of food? A celebrity? And why would these things look like your brand?
- Make your choices
Choose a name for your brand: when choosing a business name, you should think carefully. You want a name that speaks about what you offer, but also something that is unique and ideally cannot be easily confused with competitors. You can create a brand-new word, or join two words together, use an acronym or an online business name generator.
Create a slogan, something memorable that people can quickly familiarise with. Something short and catchy.
Create a logo: this is the first thing customers remember about you, so make sure you choose an image which is both memorable and reflective of who you are. Don’t forget the practical side of it: you need a format that adapts to all channels you are going to use, which is the way you should create your logo in different sizes.
- Know your competitors, but be different
Alongside with brand building, you should carefully research the market you want to be part of. This works in two ways:
- Identify your potential customers by searching online for products or services which are similar to the ones you intend to sell and see what kind of offer they get. Study their preferences and their behaviours: what kind of social media they use, which websites seem to attract the most audience. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine the vibe they want to feel while shopping.
- Study your competitors: try to understand what they are good at, how they do it and, possibly, where they fail. After you got a gist of what is out there, do come up with something entirely personal, a striking feature that identifies your brand and that your potential audience might love. It does not matter if you are small business swimming against bigger fish: some customers prefer something original and different from the big chains, so do not attempt to copy them. Observe and learn, then send a message to your audience, explaining why you are the best option they have.
- Consistency is the key to growth
Now that you have established an effective way to present yourself, you should apply it to all your media. Your website should be built in the same colour as your logo’s. Your Facebook page and other social media accounts should look like your website. Once you have established your strategy, please don’t change it after a few weeks, or people will get confused. It takes time and patience to build up an audience, so don’t panic if you don’t see results immediately: stay true to yourself rather than changing what you have done so far. Speak with the same tone of voice across your channels, never forget your mission and engage with your audience by replying to messages, comments and reviews.