A Beginner’s Guide to Branding Your Business
Before starting to design your logo, website or social media, it’s important to nail down the core of your brand – the identity. Make sure you’ve crossed these points off your branding checklist before moving on to any visuals!
What’s your product/service? How does it differ to your competition?
Before you even look at branding, you need to be clear on the most important aspect of your business: what are you offering people? What is your product or service? Get really clear on what exactly you want to give your audience – and how it differs to your competitors. It’s one thing to say you’re a bakery and you want to sell baked goods…but what kind of baked good? Cakes? Bread? Pastries? Great. How are your baked goods different to that other baker’s across the road? Know what you’re offering and why it’s special.
How do you want people to experience your brand and your business?
You know your product, your point of difference and hopefully who it’s for. Now the next step is getting into your target audience’s heads. Imagine that you’re them, interacting with your business. This interaction could be anything, from commenting on your business’ social media posts to making a purchase to telling someone else about your business. Think about how you want your audience to feel during and after those interactions. If you want them to feel warm and happy, what can you do to make sure they feel that way?
If you want your audience to feel like they’re part of something exclusive and special, what things have you experienced in your life that made you feel that way and how can you introduce aspects of those things into your own business?
Share what drives your brand in a way that your audience can connect with
Know what’s driving you. Often, you’ll see online that authenticity is important in business. Authenticity resonates with audiences because it shows them something they can understand and relate to. One excellent way to be authentic with your audience is by sharing with them your reason for starting your business in the first place. Where were you in life when you first had the idea? What passions, interests and experiences inspired it?
What does your brand value? How does it live up to this?
Work out what’s important to you and your business. These values need to resonate with your audience as well – if you successfully incorporate them into everything you do, they’ll be one of the biggest things that draw people to your brand. This is where authenticity comes into play again when branding. Nobody wants to be linked with a brand that goes back on its promises or professes to be something it’s clearly not. People want the businesses they support to be honest and truthful about what they are and what they stand for.
Summarise to yourself what your business is about.
Consider your brand story and your brand values. Draw upon these to understand how you want to serve your audience. This is the crux of your mission statement. Write it down both publicly (on your website and throughout your social media) and privately to remind yourself of what your ultimate goals are. This will help you to stay consistent as a business and maintain integrity as a brand.
List important keywords that relate to your brand. These will help with SEO.
This point might be a strange thing to include on a branding checklist but it’s important. Keywords are important because, like your mission statement, they provide a brief reminder of what your brand is about. Equally importantly, though, using them consistently throughout your communications lets your audience know what your brand is about. Knowing your audience and the things that matter to them allows you to know which words they’re searching, which in turn shows you which words to use when talking to them.
What parts of you are you going to put into your brand to help it stand out?
This is another chance to share more of that authenticity we talked about in your brand. Remember at the beginning when we talked about what sets you apart from the others? It’s one thing to have an awesome, unique product but it doesn’t mean much if your branding underplays this and makes it look like it’s the same as everyone else’s product. Putting part of your personality into your branding won’t make you look weird or unprofessional – it’ll make you stand out. It will make you memorable. To get people interested in your awesome, unique product, you need to get their attention with…your awesome, unique brand.