Want to know how to build a brand from scratch? Here are our top tips for creating or upgrading your brand in 9 easy steps.
No matter what you sell, creating a brand identity for your business is crucial. But how do you build a successful brand and make your product or service stand out from the crowd?
Before we get into how to build a brand from scratch, let’s first go over the importance of branding and its purpose.
What Is Branding?
On a base level, branding is the process of researching, developing, creating, and iterating on the perception of your brand to communicate your vision, mission, personality, and purpose accurately. Branding comprises all the external perceptions, ideas, and concepts that distinguish a business from its competitors – encompassing everything from a brand’s visual identity and design to messaging and tone of voice.
Why Is Branding Important?
Your branding is your brand’s personality and the unique selling point that enables what you do to stand out. With new products popping up all the time, first impressions count – and as your company profile, your brand should represent and immediately convey who you are, what you do, and what you stand for. When executed well, branding can promote your business, elevate your products, keep existing customers engaged, and capture the attention of new ones. But done wrong, it can ruin the chances of a brand succeeding in the market.
If you want to learn how to start a business, choose a brand name, and create a visual identity, here’s our guide for how to build a brand from scratch.
1. Get to Know Your Brand
Before diving into the little details, you must know the brand you’re building. This includes your purpose, mission, and goals. Here are five questions to ask yourself to understand your brand better:
- Identify the key characteristics that make up your brand identity. What makes it unique?
- Look at how consumers experience and interact with your product in different situations and contexts. What draws them to you?
- Determine the most memorable interactions with customers. Why do people talk about your product?
- Determine which parts of your brand are most distinctive. Why do people remember your product?
- Test how well your messaging expresses who you are. How do your customers see you?
Your brand is more than just a logo, tagline, or slogan. It’s the embodiment of your business, its purpose, and its foundation. The more you know about your brand, the better you’ll be able to communicate it to others.
2. Establish a Digital Presence
Digital branding is the process of building and managing a brand’s identity online. In this day and age, building a solid and recognizable digital presence is vital to growing a successful brand. With over 4 billion active users worldwide, social media has fast become an essential component of most digital marketing strategies – and as a new brand, you need to jump on the bandwagon.
Digital branding comprises three steps: discovery, design, and implementation.
Discovery involves understanding what your customer wants and needs from your product, website, or social media. The design includes creating graphics, banners, logos, color schemes, fonts, and more for your visual identity. Finally, implementation means executing these designs by creating content for your website or social media account that aligns with your company’s values.
3. Perform Competitor Analysis
The first step of defining your brand is identifying your competitors – the brands against which your products will compete. It could be a single brand, such as Coke or Pepsi, or a category of brands, such as soft drinks.
Your competitors might not be evident at first glance, but you need to understand the similarities and differences between them and your business. A competitor analysis will help you identify what makes them different from you so that you can develop your unique selling points (USPs).
Here are some examples of USPs:
- If competing solely against one brand, emphasize the differences in your product – that it has no artificial flavors, added colors, or contains all-natural ingredients, for example. Your product might also have a more modern or eye-catching design.
- Competing against several well-known brands in a category like soft drinks might make it difficult to differentiate on attributes alone. In this case, try differentiating yourself on other factors such as price (lowest), convenience (most convenient), packaging (greatest variety), and personality.
4. Create an Elevator Pitch for Your Brand
An elevator pitch is a short summary of who you are and what makes you different from other brands based on your USPs. It should be no longer than 30 seconds long – or short and sweet enough to deliver in an elevator ride between floors (hence the name).
An elevator pitch is perfect for networking, spreading brand awareness, and making business connections that you can use later. It’s not always of immediate benefit, but you should prepare for any scenario where you might need to use your elevator pitch.
- Here are some tips for how to write a good elevator pitch:
- Start with an attention-grabbing conversation starter.
- Outline your purpose and mission.
- Show your brand’s personality.
- Explain your brand’s benefits and unique selling points.
- Make sure to practice your pitch and keep to 30 seconds.
5. Carry Out Audience Analysis
Before creating a brand that resonates with your audience, you must know who they are and what they want. Audience analysis is figuring out who your target market is and what they want from you, allowing you to tailor your brand to the needs of your audience.
The first step in audience analysis is determining your target market. You can do this by creating buyer personas for each group of customers related to your business. A buyer persona is a fictional representation of a specific type of customer that represents an important group in terms of demographics, psychographics, and behavior (buyers).
For example, if you’re an accounting firm specializing in small businesses, one buyer persona might be the small business owner. This persona would have specific characteristics that make them different from other business owners (e.g., income level, age, number of employees).
The next step is figuring out what makes these groups tick so that you can tailor the messaging in your marketing efforts to appeal specifically to them. What are their goals? How do they make purchasing decisions? Ask yourself these questions and create your messaging around the answers.
6. SWOT Analysis
The SWOT analysis is a straightforward tool that can help you see where your strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities are and how you can use them to help improve your business.
Developing a SWOT analysis can show you where to put your time, money, and energy and help fine-tune your business strategy.
Here’s how to carry out a SWOT analysis:
Strengths: The strengths of your business are the things that make it unique. They give it an edge over other companies and make it stand out.
Weaknesses: The weaknesses of your business are things that prevent you from being successful in the market. These could be a lack of experience, finances, or poor marketing skills.
Opportunities: Opportunities lead to your company’s growth and development. This could mean new products or services, increased investment, or a new location opening up.
Threats: Threats are variables that can harm your brand, such as competition or exposed weaknesses.
Once you’ve established your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, ensure you adjust your brand strategy accordingly.
7. Tell Your Brand Story
The key to building a successful brand is by telling a story. The more compelling, the better. As brands mature, they often focus more on their story than their products. This is because brand storytelling is crucial for driving brand salience, engagement, and loyalty.
When a company does this well, it creates an emotional connection with customers, driving sales and profitability. But when brands fail to build a compelling brand story, their customers are left without a reason to care about them or their products.
That’s where storytelling comes in – if you can tell your brand’s story effectively, you can increase your company’s branding effectiveness and boost sales by up to 60 percent, according to research from Harvard Business School’s Michael Porter.
8. Build a Brand Strategy
If you’re starting a small business, you may think that brand strategy is only something large companies consider.
While it’s true that the world’s biggest brands have developed a distinct identity to stand out from their competitors, this should not suggest that brand strategy isn’t necessary for smaller businesses.
Creating a marketing strategy for your brand can be done at any level. It’s simply the process of determining what your brand stands for and communicating that message to your target audience. You can do this through various channels, including social media, website SEO, advertising campaigns, and customer service interactions.
Here’s how to build a successful brand strategy:
- Consider your overall business goals.
- Identify your target audience.
- Research your customers and buyer personas.
- Develop your brand positioning.
- Establish your messaging.
- Create your name, logo, and tagline.
- Develop your content marketing strategy.
- Build your website.
- Create your marketing toolkit.
- Implement, track, monitor, and adjust.
- Improve Brand Positioning
9. Position Your Brand
A brand positioning strategy is a crucial aspect of marketing a business. A brand positioning strategy tells the consumer what your product is, how it should be perceived, and how they can use it.
Brand positioning strategies are generally built on four key dimensions:
Brand positioning – determining differentiating features that make one brand better than other brands or their ability to differentiate themselves using different variables, such as their target market.
Market Positioning – establishing a position in terms of market share and targeting customers.
Benefits – determining specific benefits customers receive when they choose your product or service over others, such as quality and reliability, etc.).
Image – how customers see your brand and the emotional connection built between the product or service and its users (e.g., Apple’s ‘Think Different’ slogan).
Here are some tips on how to improve your brand positioning:
- Know Your Customers Closely.
- Know The Personality Of Your Brand.
- Create Buzz.
- Focus On Your Core Product.
- Have One Hero And One Enemy.
- Create Your Brand’s Business Tagline
- Use Key Human Emotions To Connect With Your Brand.
- Be Consistent.
To Wrap Up…
At its simplest, branding is the process of differentiating a product from other products. But it’s also a way to inject your business with your mission, personality, and purpose.
Building a strong brand can be a powerful tool for all businesses, helping them to increase visibility on social media platforms, generate higher engagement rates, and convert more than traditional marketing methods. Happy branding!