Now that you’ve successfully registered your business, what’s next? What do you do once you’ve incorporated? Other than getting down to business. How do you create a lasting impression in your target audience?
Branding is the next step.
Why? Branding helps your audience identify your products & services better because it gives your brand personality. You are not just selling an item or offering a service, it is more than that. You want to sell an experience, a lifestyle, or a promise. Bear in mind that when consumers choose products/services, they are making decisions based on emotional as well as rational judgements. Use your branding to create a real point of difference.
Branding adds value to your products. When you brand your products correctly, the look and feel elevate your brand image, making it more credible. Experience tells us that people are more willing to trust brands that look professional and established, rather than something that is unbranded. A strong brand can also add value to your core business. A brand that is recognizable communicates your business’ mission directly as well as what it offers.
With effective branding, your products can easily stand out against the competition. It can be a special colour that represents the value of your business, or an iconic packaging design—elements that would leave a lasting impression in the minds of your target audience.
Why is good branding important?
- Improves Recognition
- Creates Trust
- Supports Advertising
- Builds Financial Value
- Generates New Customers
- Inspires Employees
But do they know about you? Do they know WHY they should buy from you and not from your competitors? If you can’t answer these questions, don’t worry—many businesses can’t either. Actually, they just skip over these questions and focus on selling and finding the next customer. They only talk about features.
Why branding? Why is it the next step? Beyond just a memorable logo, good branding increases the value of a company, provides employees with direction and motivation, and makes acquiring new customers easier. So what exactly is a brand? The short answer is: everything. A brand represents the sum of people’s perception of a company’s customer service, reputation, advertising, and logo. When all of these parts of the business are working well, the overall brand tends to be healthy.
On the flip side, we all probably know a company that offers excellent products or services but has a tarnished brand due to poor customer service.
As a business owner, what can you do to start building your brand? How do you do it yourself? This guide will give a very broad overview of branding and will help you get started on your journey.
A great way to start is to imagine your brand is a person and they just walked through your door. How would you describe them? Who is this person? What’s their name? How do they dress? What’s their favourite food? What are their likes and dislikes? Are they excitable or calm? Formal or casual? These questions will help you imagine a real personality to serve as your brand’s avatar, and from there it’s easy to slip into that mentality.
Lastly, how do they make you feel after they’ve left? As you think about this person (your brand), imagine them interacting with your ideal customer.
Let’s start the branding process by considering the following questions.
Define your Ideal Customers and their target market.
Your customers should be the driver behind every marketing decision in your business. As such, you need to understand who is buying from you and who should be buying from you. Who is your ideal customer?
An Ideal customer is someone who:
- Wants your products
- Has the ability to pay for the product
- Has the authority to purchase your product.
What are the specific needs of that target market?
What is their pain? This is where you get into the specifics of their problem (the problem your services or products will solve). Be as specific as possible.
How does your service or product satisfy that need?
How do your offerings satisfy what they want/need? Your end positioning statement makes a connection between what you offer, what they need, and how your product or service satisfies that need.
What is special about your business?
How does it stand out from the competition? (It helps to think like a potential client.) What’s your differentiator? What do you do better than anyone else in your marketplace? If your competitor is located next door, why would your customers come to you instead of them?
What is your unique selling point? (USP)
Look at the two descriptions above. Which is more important? Is it your amazing service? Your product? Or is it a combination of both? Try to focus on one as the main selling point. Think about what customers normally say about doing business with your company. Now, condense all of your points down to a 1-3 sentence positioning statement. Everything you’ve filled out will help you craft a concise statement that is essentially built to define how you want your target market (your ideal customer) to see you, your positioning statement. In a nutshell…
- Who you are
- What you do
- Who you do it for
- Why they should buy from you
What is the personality of your business?
Consider how your brand will interact with people. How do you want it to act and talk? Are they a friendly brand? Or maybe inspiring. Choose three to five adjectives that describe your brand’s personality and the relationship they have with your clients and staff.
Vision: This is the DREAMING aspect of your branding – if everything goes right, how will your organization change the world? It is inspirational and aspirational and should challenge employees.
Mission: This is the DOING aspect of your branding – how you intend to act as a servant leader. Your mission statement proclaims who you serve, what you serve, and how you do it every day. In essence, it describes the organization’s purpose and overall intention.
Values: What are your business’ core values? Core values drive company behaviour and create a customer’s expectation. It guides decision-making and establishes a standard against which actions can be assessed. These core values are an internalized framework that is shared and acted on by leadership.
Put it all together
Once you’ve come up with the words, phrases, and ideas you’ll use to talk about your business, you can use them on everything for your business, including your website, signage, and social media to name a few. Everything that you and your employees do should consistently share the same attitude, look and feel. Lastly, don’t forget to involve your customer service, HR, and Operations as they can also help you build a strong brand from the inside out.
To this end, we have a created a worksheet you can follow to get you started. Once completed, you can then hand this to your graphic designer. With it, they will be able to develop a logo, a colour palette, a typeface, and images, etc that reflect your brand personality and values (commonly called a Brand Style Guide or a Corporate Style Guide).
Visit Nimbus Design to view some of our branding projects.
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