Complete Guide To Branding Your Business For 2022
When you create a business, you need to start from the basics. Once you know what your business is, you need to give it an identity. It is not enough to simply sell your services/ products, you need a brand, something that gives it a recognizable identity.
Branding your business well is about standing out from the crowd. Anyone can give a business an identity, but making it unique and enough so to stand out from the competition is imperative. If you are not distinct then you will get lost in an ocean of other companies all trying to do the same thing and success will be much more difficult for you. Think of all the major companies out there, and the brands they have built around them. There is something recognizable about them all.
Apple, for example, their design is super simple and easily recognized. Then there is Sony, a really easily recognized company, and Microsoft also. Think of these brands and what they did to make their branding work.
We all aspire to be as successful as these multinational billion-dollar companies, however, we all have to start somewhere, and one of these starting points is right here.
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The First Steps To Branding Your Business
There is much to learn as you build a business brand, it is not something that you can simply do overnight. Success in branding your business for marketing and sales is all about standing out from your competition, targeting the right audience in the right way, and being consistent in the above, as well as in communicating your story consistently.
Branding is more than designing a logo, making a jingle, or crafting a slogan. It goes deeper and requires work.
What Is Branding?
Businesses branding is simply about creating a comprehensive message for your company, produce and service via names, logos, slogans, copy and other collateral.
It is the action of actively creating a perception of you and your company that you hope customers have as they come into contact with, experience, and enjoy your company, products, or services.
Branding is broken down into a few core phases, strategy, identity, and marketing.
You cannot do one without the other, but they also need to be done in order. Strategy is the plan you put in place that focuses on the long-term development of your purpose and impact.
The strategy maps out how you are unique, and different from other companies, how you are trustworthy, memorable, and likable by your targeted customer base. It shows your purpose, the promises you make, and how you intend to solve problems for people with your product or service. The strategy is pretty much how you want the world to see your business.
The identity is how you will convey this to the public, so this can be via messaging, visuals, and experiences. This should be applied across all channels with determined consistency. It is the way that your business will become recognizable and how you will be remembered.
Marketing is how you highlight and bring awareness to your products or services by connecting values and voices to the right audience via strategic communication.
A comprehensive message for your company uses names, logos, slogans, and copyright.
Remember that your brand is a message, and you can convey this in many ways, but a comprehensive message will show your businesses whole identity. This means using names, logos, slogans, and copyrighting.
If you fling around messaging that is just a logo, then you miss out on the other aspects, and it will not look as professional. Have you ever seen a promo for Microsoft that only included the name? Or only the logo? No, it is always all of the above in a Microsoft advert, this is done for a reason. It is worth paying attention to what big companies do in their branding. Even if they are not in your niche, what they did worked, it is always worth taking a page out of the conglomerate's books.
How Do I Create A Brand For My Business?
As you try to come up with brand strategies for your business, keep it plain and simple. It is not a science, it is a creative venture. Think strategically and with creativity. Sometimes, you simply hit that magic spot, other times you may have to work hard to find the right brand voice and persona that draws your consumers to you.
The future of any successful business is in branding and becoming a brand. While good marketing and the correct decisions are a large part of how you succeed, none of this works without a memorable brand.
Investigate your company’s ethos and message.
Think about the message you want to send to your audience. Consider ‘Just do it’ the Nike slogan, this message is perfect for a sports brand. Consider yours in the same way.
However, remember the ethos. Ethos is the characteristic spirit of your company. It is the personality of your company, and this is a massive part of what will attract your customers to you. Having the right ethos and the right message can be a formidable set-up for success.
What is your company’s mission?
Think about why your company even exists. The answer to this cannot be because it feels like a wise financial venture. This means what problems are you solving by existing as a company. What is the mission of the company?
E.g. A company who creates easy clean products has a mission to make cleaning easier and faster for people, so we can spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying our lives.
What are your company’s benefits?
This does not mean what employees get from you. This means what the customer gets by choosing you instead of a competitor. What can you do for the consumer that is different? Considering the many mobile phone brands, what are the benefits of Samsung or Apple? You could also consider car brands, why should you buy a Toyota instead of a Mercedes, what can the brand give you that the other cannot.
Customers will always want to get the best deal out of a purchase, and good benefits often keep customers loyal.
What do you want your customers to know?
As you build your brand, think about your customers. Think about what they need from you, and then think, if you were a customer who needed something in particular, what would you want to hear and see that would really sell you on one particular business. Be the business that shows customers what they want to know about you and your product/ service.
But also, show them what you want them to know. Do you offer loyalty programs? Do you do sales and discounts? Are you all about looking to the future? Say it! Get it out there. Brand it!
Develop a brand strategy, identity, and marketing plan.
Remember what we said earlier about strategy, identity, and marketing. This is so important. Identity and marketing will not work without a strategy, and a strategy needs to incorporate identity and marketing. These three components of brand development are all equally significant and need to be built together.
The strategy covers the components you need to incorporate to effectively build a successful brand, the identity is essential because this is who the customers will see and will dictate if you are appealing to them, and the marketing is how the customers will see you, and this is indispensable in ensuring you target your correct audience.
Branding needs to be memorable.
Remember that branding needs to stick in people's minds. It needs to be catchy, significant, and something your customers will remember. There is no use in creating something so simple it is easily forgotten, nor something so complex it is too much. Like Goldilocks, you need to find a balance that is just right.
Being memorable is built through messaging and strategic communication.
How To Establish A Brand In 2022
As you try to come up with the best branding strategy for your business plan, keep it simple and remember less is more. Going overboard is often counterproductive, it is not a rocket science, but you have to be creative with how you establish your brand. Think about many aspects of branding, who you are, what your business is, what your customers want to see, what they need, and what your competitors are doing and how you can match that and even improve on it.
While you might hit the sweet spot with your customers without putting in your creative strategies, it is more likely that you will have to put time and effort into the workings of your brand building.
It will take time and effort, and it may be a bit more time-consuming than you may have expected, however, it is an important part of building up your company and establishing a successful brand. Your success begins at this point.
What Are Your Competitors Doing?
One of the most important things that you can do to help you identify and build your brand is to review what your competitors are doing. Look at what is working for them and what isn’t.
Think about how they appear and sound in this brand identity. Look at their product or service, what the quality is like, the features, and the benefits of what they offer. Check out their website, look at the experience you get on the site, is it easy to navigate, does it have messaging, and what about the call-to-action?
Look at any content your competitors publish, and their social media engagement, as well as advertising in traditional aspects too.
Investigate what your competitors are doing with their brand and brainstorm ideas for yours.
A brainstorm is always worth doing. It is worthwhile to create even two brainstorms, one of their ideas that work and that you want to take inspiration from, and one for things they do that are not productive and look at why these haven’t worked, or if they simply need improvements and then use this information for the building of your business brand.
Utilizing your competitor's strategies and understanding why theirs do or do not work is a useful way to go about building up your brand. You are simply taking reference notes, and in the process you can learn a bit more about your target customers. This helps you find out what your potential customers like to see from businesses, and what they do not like to see.
But remember not to copy. This is research and only research.
What Service Do You Offer?
Think clearly about the service that you are offering. If you are a cleaning company, this needs to be made clear and simple. If you are offering dog food products, you need to ensure you use lots of canine imagery and terminology.
Do not get off-topic, and make it clear and concise what it is you are offering people and why they need it. You can do this in your marketing, but your branding is just as important for doing this.
Make it clear in your branding what it is your business has to offer.
While branding is the identity of the product, and you may wonder how you can fit in clarity to your branding without making it long-winded, it is entirely possible. Think about the products you use every day, or companies you know well. Names, too, can be a dead giveaway of what a company is about.
Think of Apple, for example, Apple's logo or name doesn’t scream ‘technology’ but their slogan ‘Think Different’, does. Names can also tell us a lot, Volkswagen, is a good example. The word ‘wagon’ hidden inside the brand name tells you they make vehicles. YouTube is another example of a brand that uses their name to tell you what they are all about. Best Buy is also a great example of a brand using imagery to make it clear what they offer, since their logo is a price tag.
It is also worthwhile doing a SWOT analysis on your business, and this is something that you should return to on a regular basis as your company grows. Looking at a SWOT analysis will help you continually improve and be honest with yourself about the growth and ability of the company. It will help you find flaws in your business and see where you are strongest.
SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
Consider doing a SWOT analysis on your business.
When you do a SWOT analysis, you look at the four areas of your business that will give you a good idea on how you can improve.
When looking at your strengths, look at things that the business does well, qualities that you have which your competitors lack, resources you have- such as staff who are skilled and knowledgeable, and happy. DO not forget tangible assets such as property, intellectual and capital, as well as proprietary technologies and so on.
When you look at your weaknesses, look for things that your business lacks, things your competitors are succeeding at where you are not, any resource limitations you have and any unique unclear selling propositions.
Looking at your opportunities means looking at underserved markets for specific products, if you have few competitors in your area, any emerging need for the products or services you provide, as well as any press or media coverage of your company.
Finally, looking at threats, you should look at the emergence of any competitors, any changing regulatory environment, any negative press or media coverage, and changing customer attitudes towards your business.
Understand Your Audience.
It is also vital that you understand who you are marketing towards, who you are trying to attract with your brand and your products.
It is without a doubt one of the hardest parts of brand development. Committing and understanding your target audience, it is not like other aspects of business, as it is very hard to imagine what the ideal customer looks like.
Sometimes it is worthwhile, trying to put together a picture of a buyer persona. A fictional customer that mirrors who your current customers are (if you have any yet) and market research.
Who are your customers?
If you do not yet have any customers this is harder, it is worth referring back to your research on your competitors and looking at the type of customers they draw in and basing your customer research off of this. You could also interview potential customers, or even do online polls to gather data on your potential customer base. This type of research will be invaluable to the building of your audience data and thus branding yourself according to what your customers seek.
If you already have customers, these types of methods can be useful as well. In fact, doing polls and interviewing customers to see what they would like to see from you is very positive. Customers like to know that you care what they want.
What do you want them to know about your business?
As well as finding out what they want from you, you need to think about what you want them to know about you. This means that you need to think about how you want to come across to them, and what aspects of your business you want to highlight most to them.
Think about the slogan for Nike ‘Just Do It’, this slogan tells the audience that Nike is a business all about positivity, moving forward, and getting things done. As a business owner, you want your customers to know you are positive, rooting for them, or that your product is the best of the best.
How can you incorporate what you want them to know into your brand?
What type of branding would be most effective to reach them?
Do not forget that you need to think about how to target your audience once you know who they are and what they want. Any audience will have a preferred medium. Of course, social media advertising is always useful, but for some businesses it is not the most beneficial.
Some businesses might benefit more through video marketing, or televised advertising. If your audience is likely to read the newspaper, then advertising in print is a good idea. Do your audience love listening to music and usually have Spotify subscriptions, why not start up a podcast?
Understand what advertising and branding mediums are best suited to the audience you are trying to reach, and target it to them. This can be focusing on aspects as far as the typeface you use for your name.
Maintaining Brand Identity For Big & Small Businesses
Having a brand identity is about more than just crafting the name, logo, slogan, and so on. Marketing, and brand, need to be consistent. This means that the identity you build around your brand should also be consistent. While sure, you can change little things here and there, big changes are a big no-no. You want your customers to recognize you, and big changes could make you unrecognizable.
But, what we must all remember is that maintaining brand identity starts from creation and continues throughout the businesses' life.
This is also why, when you start up your business and make your branding decisions, you need to be certain that you are happy with the choices you make, as consistency is key from the offset of your company and maintaining the image you have put out best you can, will keep your business recognizable.
Be Different From Everyone Else.
A big part of the companies that make it big are the ones who are unique. While we are often taught when we are young to go with the flow, in business this does not always work well. The best businesses out there are unique; Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple and so on, were all unique at their inception.
This is both about what you offer your customers and how you present yourself to your customers too. Being unique is what customers will remember about you most. Think about it, what are you more likely to remember, something unique and different, or something similar to what you see every day, or every week?
What does your business offer?
This all starts in what your business offers. Even if your business offers something that many others do, it needs to have a hook, something that keeps customers interested and curious about what you offer and how it is better or different.
Let’s say your business is in the cleaning product industry, and your product contains new substances that will clean surfaces faster, and even eliminate mold. This is something people need, so you are already delivering a needed item. But, how do you brand your business and successfully market this uniqueness to your customers?
You need to show them that your product is the best yet, it has new, better substances, and you can even eliminate mold! This can be done through marketing, included in your slogan, and if you are crafty enough in your logo. Whatever message you put out there about the uniqueness of what you offer, you must be consistent in delivering this message, regardless of the marketing platform you use.
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What is your USP?
You need to consider your unique selling point (USP) too. If you are selling that cleaning product we just mentioned, what would your selling point be? Is it that it eliminates mold, or the new substances?
Whatever your unique selling point is, you need to highlight this in your brand and your marketing. In the business world, new is always better, and if your new product can bring a different and amazing quality to the table in your competitive market, then you will become more attractive to consumers.
Maintain The Same Message.
Maintaining the same message means to be consistent. Not only should you use visual styling as a brand guide, but your voice is too. This includes how you speak to customers, be it in person or online. If you have a blog, website, or social media page, are the posts in first person, second, or third?
Are you more formal or casual, and what message does this voice give to your audience? Obviously if you are a financial business then you might want to stay formal, if you offer party services, perhaps casual is more appropriate. Yet, whichever you are, always maintain this message and persona.
Be consistent with your customers about your services and what you provide.
Consistency runs not only in voice but in your products too. This is why with every decision you make in your business, it is important that you are sure before you publically release anything, be it a product or information.
You need to be consistent in your delivery and do not change information about your products or services sporadically. Your product or service is the main selling point of your business, thus it is significant that you continually deliver the same. If you do not, then you will seem unreliable and less desirable.
Consistency in this area is in both the product and service itself, and how you market and brand it also.
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Do not change your branding completely. Small changes are okay.
Changing your branding entirely is a poor business practice. You will become unrecognizable and unreliable. This is especially true in small businesses. If Apple were to change their name and branding, we would probably know about it as it would be widely advertised. However, if the company who makes your toaster changed their name and branding, who would know they are still the same company?
It is okay to make small changes, altering colors in the logo, perhaps changing the font, or small alterations to the slogan. But, refrain from making big changes. Be certain before you settle on a branding, take time to make this decision, because once you have made it, you cannot completely change it.
Integrate Your Brand.
Integrating your branding into your company is absolutely essential when you are making your business cohesive. Your branding should be cohesive in presentation to customers, and incorporated with employees.
You can make yourself a guide to help you integrate your branding. Think about the purpose, vision, mission, core values, and voice of your brand as you do this.
Think about the logo and its usage, the color palette it uses and how this should be integrated into the company. Think of fonts and typography placement and its consistency throughout the brand, image guidelines, and hierarchy.
Keeping the brand integrated throughout the company will make anything affiliated with the company immediately recognizable and help to build the brand more.
Your brand's message and mission should be demonstrated throughout your business.
When integrating your brand, you make the message and mission of the brand clearly represented. As you build up the message and mission of your brand, the integration of the brand spreads this message and mission further and beyond.
Put your logo and assets everywhere, yes, everywhere, and make sure your message is seen and heard. This doesn’t mean you should plaster your website with the logo, but business cards, stickers, flyers, posters, adverts, staff attire, and so on, should all be assembled with the company branding. Thus, demonstrating the message and mission of your brand far and wide.
You might already have an idea on how you want your brand to be, and that is great. Just remember that creating and maintaining a brand is a creative process. Making a brand is about being eye-catching, memorable, recognizable, and enjoyable. You should attract customers through the mission and message you display in your branding, and the more attracted they are to this, the more likely you are to retain them and grow as a business and a brand.
While product and services are the key aspect of business, building a good brand is what sells, and keeps on selling.