How to Build a Powerful Brand That Stands Out From the Rest
You’ve probably heard all about branding and how it can help your business get more customers, but what does it really mean and why should you even care?
Every single entrepreneur and business owner on this planet, for better or worse, has a brand.
Branding has become such a buzzword in the marketing industry that people often use it to describe everything from websites to logos, creating confusion about what branding is and what it isn’t.
Don’t worry, I’ll break down the basics of this powerful tool so you can use it to grow your business! Here’s how to build a powerful brand that stands out from the rest.
Why Build a Bother Building a Brand?
Why Start with Brand Strategy?
A lot of my clients think their brand begins and ends with a logo.
Brand strategy is a systematic approach for winning the hearts and minds of your customers.
It’s a lot like building a house. Home buildings start the process of building homes by clearing the land and laying the foundation.
You wouldn’t build your house in sand would you?
The same is true for your brand.
Most markets are saturated today. Branding is one of the only ways to left to differentiate yourself from your competition.
- 1. The History of Branding
- 2. Branding in the Modern Era
- 3. Finding Your Brand Personality
- 4. Determining Your Brand Voice
- 5. Linking Your Brand with Emotion
- 6. Promoting Your Brand Through Content Marketing
- 7. Creating Visual Assets for your Posts
- 8. Branding Building on Social Media
- 9. Make Sure You Stay Consistent
1. The history of branding
Oxford Languages defines branding as 1. the action of marking with a branding iron, 2. the promotion of a particular product or company by means of advertising and distinctive design.
In its earliest form, the practice of marking cattle with a branding iron way to identify them dates back to roughly 2000 BC.
2. Don’t write a mission statement. Write a Mantra!
Guy Kawasaki argues that one of the biggest mistake most entrepreneurs make is writing a mission statement. Mission statements are for nonprofits and big companies.
They’re overly serious, stuffy, bureaucratic, and completely unnecessary for businesses. Instead of trying to define your business in just a few words—which is nearly impossible—write an inspiring mantra instead. It should be brief (often no more than three or four words) and carry with it some kind of emotional reaction.
A mantra can inspire you in times of struggle while also allowing you to easily communicate your brand’s unique value proposition with potential investors and customers.
Think Nike’s Just Do It, Starbucks’ Everyone Wants To Be Your Friend, or Apple’s Think Different. These mantras are powerful because they strike a chord within us. They’re simple yet memorable, inspirational yet aspirational, and bold yet actionable.
When creating yours, think about what really motivates you as an entrepreneur and how that connects to your target audience.
For example: if you’re launching a social media app geared toward millennials who want to get out of debt quickly but don’t have time to read long-form articles on personal finance websites, then maybe something like Take Action Now would work well.
2. Finding your brand personality
Every brand has its own personality. Is your brand serious and formal, quirky and fun, bold and powerful?
Understanding your brand personality will help you find your unique voice (and logo) and how to express that to your audience.
Even if you haven’t fully figured out what type of business you’re in yet, there are three things every brand needs: an audience, a product or service, and an identity system.
You can take steps to figure out who exactly your audience is now – their ages, lifestyle choices, goals etc. – but it’s also important to keep in mind that defining too many specific parameters might actually stunt potential growth.
After all, creating something new means taking risks! Do you want people who fit into existing categories or more unconventional customers?
Do you want people who fit into existing categories or more unconventional customers? What do they value? What are they trying to accomplish with your product or service?
Try not to think about these questions as right or wrong, because there really isn’t one way to define a brand. Instead, consider how you would describe yourself if someone asked you What kind of person do you think I am?
The answer should be clear and concise enough that anyone could understand it easily. This exercise will help get ideas flowing for your identity systems as well.
3. Determining your brand voice.
Before you get to work on your brand voice, it’s important to determine who your customers are. This can be a little tricky since, in many cases, they are individuals and not big corporations.
For most startups, that may mean targeting an actual customer segment. For example, if you create products for teachers to use in their classrooms, one way to determine your brand voice would be to focus on teachers.
If you have more than one customer segment that uses your product or service (e.g., teachers and parents), you’ll want to find out which type of person will become your biggest advocate—the teacher or parents?
Then focus on what language that person might use when describing your product or service.
4. Linking your brand with emotion.
Strong, consistent branding should not only build your company’s reputation with clients and partners but it should also connect with its audience on an emotional level.
When done right, your brand will resonate with clients—and they’ll develop an emotional connection with it.
The best way to do that is by creating a powerful brand that communicates specific values through logo design, visuals and content. This can be difficult for new businesses since they have limited resources; however, many companies today are using crowdsourcing solutions like Designhill in order to speed up their process.
Ultimately, finding ways to make your brand stand out without breaking your budget is a win-win situation for everyone involved.
5. DIY a logo or hire a professional.
The next step is to get a logo designed. It’s always best to work with a designer who specializes in creating logos.
A graphic designer can help you sort through your options and come up with ideas that fit your brand.
But keep in mind: A logo isn’t just a stamp you put on all your marketing materials; it should be unique and tailored to your specific brand—and should include parts of your name or title, so that people can immediately identify where they know you from. Still stumped?
Your local university probably offers design classes, so ask around if you’re looking for someone to design a logo for free.
Otherwise, Web designers do logo-design as part of their overall service. Expect to pay $500-$1,000 for a good logo.
If you want to create your own logo, there are plenty of resources available online, like Creative Market, that offer stock images and templates for designing logos yourself. Just make sure yours is original!
A great way to make an impression when you’re starting out is with embroidery or screen printing on t-shirts and other clothing items.
6. Promoting Your Brand through Content Marketing.
7. Creating Visual Assets for your Posts.
There are no hard and fast rules about creating visuals for your content; just make sure you’re making good choices for your brand, and that your visuals reflect what people love about your business.
If you’re creating infographics or videos, as mentioned above, make sure they’re entertaining and keep readers engaged! Web design can also be one of these assets.
All businesses need websites, but if you are creating an online store, your website needs to represent that in some way too!
Your logo is a form of visual asset for yourself; you should use it on all platforms and wherever possible.
Step 8. Utilizing Social Media Platforms
The rise of social media has meant that it’s easier than ever to share your brand with an audience.
Not only is it useful for getting yourself out there and connecting with others, but it’s also great for helping to expand your brand and grow.
However, with so many different options available, figuring out how to leverage them can be daunting. There are four main social media platforms that you should be using to help your brand: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
These have been around for a while now and have very active communities to connect with in addition to huge followings all over the world.
Facebook: While originally started as a place for college students to reconnect after graduation, Facebook has become one of the most popular social media platforms. It allows users to connect with friends they haven’t seen in years, keep up-to-date on their lives and keep track of their activities on their timeline feed.
This means that if you’re trying to grow your personal brand, it’s incredibly easy to build up fans and followers who can see what’s happening every day on your profile page (as well as posts where people tag you).
This platform is incredibly useful when building an individual identity or small business page as everyone who follows you will receive updates when you post something new or comment on other people’s pos
9. Make sure you stay consistent.
Be consistent in posting across social media platforms, just as you would with sending emails and making phone calls.
If people are expecting your posts at certain times of day or week, you’ll stay top-of-mind—and there will be no down time when you’re not sharing your message.
To stay on schedule and have more control over publishing times, use a tool like Hootsuite. This makes it easy for you to manage all of your profiles from one place.
It also has scheduling options, which allows you to organize your posts in advance so they go out when it works best for you! This can help save time and helps ensure that your messaging is consistent.
When using multiple channels, keep in mind that each one has its own audience and purpose. Don’t just post a Facebook status update on Twitter; do share links to your website via Facebook but then link back to those same articles from Twitter.
This helps increase engagement by keeping things relevant for each platform’s users. Another great way to maximize your content is by repurposing it across different platforms and mediums (text/images).
Take what you write for LinkedIn Pulse, format it for an Instagram post, record yourself talking about that topic for YouTube and then share it everywhere else!
In addition, don’t forget about images! Make sure you take or source high quality images that really speak to your audience.
10. Have custom merch made.
A great way to make an impression when you’re starting out is to have custom merch made to promote your business. Screen printing and embroidery are popular options when it comes creating a corporate apparel program for your brand.
This allows you to have a physical product associated with your brand without having to spend thousands of dollars on inventory.
You can use social media sites like Instagram and Facebook to drive traffic to your site, but don’t expect results right away.
Start by engaging with others in these communities by posting pictures of your products or company information, answering questions about what you do, etc., then gradually start posting more promotional content over time until most of what you post is geared toward getting sales.
If people see you being helpful first and foremost, they’ll be more likely to buy from you later down the road.
Another way brands stand out from one another is by having custom web development done for them.
There are many companies that specialize in making customized websites that match a company’s branding perfectly.