6 Tips for Building Your Brand From Scratch
Most branding guides you may come across while searching online, focus on supporting the reputation of your company and improving it. What if you are, on the contrary, at the very beginning of your brand development and building your business from scratch? If you have already tried, you probably know that it is not as easy as it might seem at first. Still, it is possible - even if you are not a professional brand designer or marketer. Here are six simple and effective tips for your startup branding. Keep in mind, however, that you still might need to find marketing agency or consulting service for your future needs.
1. Define your target audience
No brilliant marketing strategy can move your brand (and your business for that matter) a single inch forward until you define your target audience. This one is crucial.
First of all, avoid speaking about "women from 18 to 40" - it will get you nowhere. You have to be more precise. Make a detailed portrait of your audience and figure out what they would look and act like. Yes, for a start you may take a broader demographic, but then you gradually narrow it down.
Visualize your customer, make up his/her legend, give him/her a name. Based on this, decide how you should speak to them. By adding more and more subtle (even psychological) details, elaborate their goals. What do your potential customers want to achieve? How your product can help them to do it effectively? Why your brand is a better fit for solving their problems?
Alternatively, take the other path – choose several demographics with similar features and expand them.
2. Know your competitors
You can learn a lot about the overall marketing in your industry by looking closely at the brands of your competitors. How different are they from each other? What do they look like? How do they speak to their audience? What is their message to their audience?
Analyze their motives but avoid copying from their brands – your product should be unique. You can still learn from their success as well as their mistakes. This is also an opportunity to define your target audience. See if your competitors have overlooked any particular demographics. Or, on the contrary, they might be sweeping too broad. If their offers could use some personalization, this is your chance to address these potential customers with a customize solutions and offers that will be poignantly accurate.
3. Build your unique differentiators
To stand out in your market and look more appealing than your competitors, you have to form your exclusive selling proposition – features that make your product and brand unique. Again, your don't have to please everyone – focus on your target audience and what you can give them.
First, go through your overall business plan – you can elicit some points of difference for your brand from there. If you see something like "lower prices", "free shipping" or "100% satisfaction guaranteed or your money back" – use those as a start. If you don’t have such offers – make up your PODs! Use the information you have learned from the previous tip – look at your competitors. If most of them are conservative – make your brand youthful and fun, so it will attract a younger audience or vice versa. Be flexible and creative, but make sure you would translate this differentiator in all the fields of your brand communication.
Use the information you have learned from the previous tip – look at your competitors. If most of them are conservative – make your brand youthful and fun, so it will attract a younger audience or vice versa. Be flexible and creative, but make sure you would translate these points of difference in all the channels of your brand communication.
Defining your brand's personality
4. Give your business a personality
As soon as you have the general vision of your new brand, it is time for you to detail its features. Experts say, thinking of your brand as a person can help at this stage of branding development. Think over every detail including the gender and age of your brand persona, their appearance, voice, and behavior. Imagine, what would you think about this "person" if they approached you as a stranger? What movies and books would they like?
Even though these questions might never be important for your clients, they would help you get a deeper insight into your brand.
5. Develop the unique details
Once you have the vision of your brand’s personality, apply it to functional areas of your strategy. What will the logo and corporate colors look like? How will they help your brand to address your target audience? What message will they deliver? What will you tell the audience to gain their trust and loyalty? Take your time to answer these questions, and you would avoid many mistakes on the way. With
With logo you should also think ahead and imagine how will it look like in various media and on different carriers. It should be catchy, yet not too visually outrageous. Aim for a clear recognizable shape without too many details.
6. Invite professionals to help you
Now when you have the general idea of what your brand represents and what attributes it has, it is time for you to hire professionals. You can choose to either outsource the job to an agency or hire an in-house creative director. Do not rely solely on your personal taste – design is a subtle art. If you analyze any successful logo (even the most minimalistic ones, like Apple or Twitter icons) you will find that they are far more complex and balanced than it may seem at the first glance.
Do not think your work with the brand is over once you go through the initial steps and hire a professional. You will still have to ensure your entire team work is consistent with the brand and represents it in the appropriate way. Try updating your brand from time to time to keep up with the new tendencies in the field, but never compromise your integrity.