When you’re building a business, one of the most fundamentally important things to focus on is your branding. Your brand represents your business to your audience and potential customers, so it’s crucial to send the right messages about who you are and what you do.
Get it right, and your business will flourish. Get it wrong, and it will take a lot of work to get where you want to be.
Pretty daunting, isn’t it! Knowing where to start with building your brand is often the most challenging part.
So, let’s start at the beginning and talk about branding 101: we’ll explore what a brand is, why it’s so powerful, and how you can start building yours today.
DIY Branding 101: What You Need To Know Before You Get Started
What Is A Brand?
A brand is much more than a logo and a colour scheme, although these are vital aspects of branding 101.
Your brand is the sum total of everything you do in your business – your visual content, your voice, tone and story, your products or services, your behaviours and actions, your customer service, your packaging… it all adds up to create a brand image for those who come into contact with your business.
That’s why it’s so essential to have a brand strategy in place. All those different touchpoints (your website, employees, social media posts, signage, etc) tell a story to your customers. Strong branding ensures that story is consistent throughout them all.
Related: How to get your small business started fast
Why Is Branding Important?
Your brand connects you to your audience. If your brand image or identity is inconsistent with who you really are, you are likely to attract the wrong people. This kind of mismatch doesn’t help your business grow and just wastes your time and theirs.
However, when your brand really reflects your business in the way you want it to, you will see the results. Research shows that consistent branding across all channels can increase your revenue by up to 23 per cent.
Your brand helps you stand out from your competitors, build trust with your customers, and ensures you are recognised and remembered.
Related: 3 insider tips for launching a new brand
Personal Branding vs Business Branding
Should you focus on building your personal brand or start building a business brand? In my experience, there is a massive overlap between both. This is especially true now, with social media allowing us more of a glimpse at the individuals behind the big brands we know and trust.
Both business brands and personal brands can be hugely successful: just look at Oprah Winfrey and Coca Cola! We certainly know and trust Oprah, but Coca Cola is arguably more famous, even though we have no idea who is the face behind the brand.
While it is possible to build a purely business brand, it can be more challenging to establish a brand identity without a “frontperson.” In today’s climate, consumers are looking for authenticity and connection. When building a small business, it can be helpful to start with your personal brand. Let people know who you are, give them a glimpse into your business story, your values, and put a face to the name for your audience
Whether you decide to build a personal brand based around yourself or a business brand, remember that people want to buy from people, not from faceless brands and logos. Whichever direction you head in, you will need to find a way to create a personal connection with your customers.
Related: How To Start A Brand: 3 Must-Do Tasks
Branding 101: Steps For Getting Started
Now, you are probably eager to get straight to the fun part, right? The creative part, where you get to choose colours, browse logos, take brand photos, and create awesome content.
Hold up just a little longer – there are a few more steps to take before getting to the nitty-gritty of brand building.
Before all that, you are going to need to do some serious brainstorming to really nail down your brand. Here are some things to contemplate to get you heading in the right direction.
Related: What makes an unforgettable business brand?
Who is your ideal audience?
Don’t make the mistake of building a brand only around the things you like. You have to think about what your audience will connect with. Get specific.
What is your mission statement?
What’s the point of your business? Why does it exist? What are your goals? Capture this in one or two sentences to keep you on track.
Related: The importance of consistency in branding
Do you know your unique value proposition?
How do you stand out from the competition? What do you offer that they don’t?
Do you know your brand personality?
If your brand were a person, how would you describe them? Are you cheeky, adventurous, knowledgeable, approachable, edgy, energetic, serene? This will help you set the voice and tone for your content.
Related: The best tools for DIY branding on a budget.
How will you showcase your brand?
If you are incorporating a front-person into your brand, then you will want to do it in the right way. Professional-looking photos will give people the right perception of your business from the start. But, you don’t have to pay the earth for them! In fact, with the Pro Selfies Masterclass, you can take professional-looking photos with just your smartphone. Check it out here.
Spend some time trying to answer these questions in as much detail as possible. Knowing your target audience as deeply as you know yourself will make the next steps flow more easily and help you be consistent.