Do you want to create a brand identity for your small business? If YES, here are 13 best ways to build a brand online for your business starting from scratch.
A brand is an intangible asset that you can’t really hold in your hand or give to someone else. Yet, a recognizable brand that people can relate to and love is one of the biggest assets a company can ever own. This is because a brand is an idea, a trust in a product, an establishment of credibility and a creation of market.
What is a Brand identity?
Branding is the way your business is perceived by you, your team and customers especially when they interact with your business. Your brand is your identity. It is the reason why people will choose you over someone else. It is what will make your customers to be willing to reach into their wallets and pay for what you have to offer instead of going for what your competitors have.
To create a brand, you have to be focused and also you will have to have a message that is clear and resonates with the people. According to a research that was conducted by Neilson’s Global New Product Innovation, it was discovered that 59 percent of customers will prefer to go for a new product from a brand that is familiar to them as opposed to an unknown brand.
Building a brand from scratch for a business or product is not an easy process. This is because you will be competing against bigger and more established businesses that have devoted customers and more funds. Building a brand goes beyond coming up with a name, a well-designed logo, a slogan and a few targeted adverts.
Importance of Creating a Brand identity for your Business
Creating a brand is really important for every business and thus every entrepreneur needs to spend time, energy and resources in order to brand his or her business because;
- Your brand makes you unique and differentiates you from your other competitors.
- Brand increases the popularity of a business thereby making it easily recognizable.
- A good brand helps to generate referrals, because people will like to tell others about the products they have used and liked.
- A clear brand strategy provides the staff in a business with the direction that the business is headed.
- Your brand helps you to connect with your customers on a sentimental and emotional level
- A strong business brand sets an expectation in the mind of customers and thus will create a mental picture in their mind any time the encounter the business or product.
So how do you build your brand? You build it by staying aligned with the core message that your business is about. It is basically why you built the business. You need to be focused and not broad because the more focused you are, the more you can construct what your ideal customer looks like and thus you can easily build a profile of them.
You can easily find out what their age is, their occupation, desires, goals and what you have that they need. Here are other tips that will help you to build your brand from scratch.
13 Best Ways to Build a Business Brand Online from Scratch
1. Focus: Building a brand does not have to be a very difficult process. All you have to do is to do all the right things that build a brand and then continuing doing them. You will have to communicate your core beliefs to your customers.
The core beliefs are the core messages about your business. If you put your message out, it will attract customers who will want to know more about your business. This also includes having partners and staff that align with your message.
You need to have partners and staff that believe in your brand and are willing to work with you to achieve your goal in spreading your message. The importance of focus for a new brand or business cannot be over emphasized because as a new kid on the block, you can’t be everything to everyone so will have to be focused.
2. Consistency: make sure that your message is always the same. Every time you make an effort to brand or improve your brand, you will have to ensure that the message that is being passed to your potential customers is in line with your core message. Every time you create a new product, your product must reinforce your core message. Same goes with any partner or staff that may be affiliated with your business.
3. Determine your Audience: for a business to build its brand, it has to determine who it intends to focus on with its branding effort, (that is the target audience). Be specific and try to find out in specifics the details and lifestyle of your customers so that you can tailor your mission and message to meet them specifically.
If your target audiences are teenagers, college students who study abroad in foreign schools or single moms who work from home, your effort and message for them should be tailored down to a level that they will understand, relate to and accept.
4. Determine your Core Message: to create a brand that your target audience trusts and relates to, you will need to know the core knowledge and belief that your business has and intends to pass. The core message of a business should be captured in its mission statement and it defines what the business is and why it exists and will influence every other aspect in your brand building effort.
Your core message should be reflected in all aspects of your business and brand including in your slogan, message, personality and voice. For example, Warby Parker’s (an eye glasses company) mission statement is: “to offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for a socially-conscious business”. This mission statement is well reflected and represented in their business.
It specifies the type of eyewear it sells at what price range and to what purpose. Warby Parker even goes further with their mission statement by adding that “we believe that buying glasses should be easy and fun. It should leave you happy and good-looking, with money in your pocket”. Here you can see that the mission statement is clear and they their brand is still able to cut across a wide variety of people.
5. Research About your Competitors: You should research about other brands that are similar to yours yet you should never copy exactly what they have on ground. You should strive to be unique and thus let your potential customer see the reason why they should go for what you have instead of patronizing your competitors.
Researching about your competitors will also help you to find out what your competitors have done right or wrong so that you can borrow from this to maximize the right and discard the wrong you see in their branding efforts. You should also read their customer reviews, find out about the quality of the service that they offer and also try to find out if they are consistent in their core messages which they post across their various channels.
Google-search the niche in which your brand falls into and determine the direct and indirect competitors that you may have. You can also try to shop (both online or offline) to determine how customers browse through and make their final choice as to which product to settle for. All these will help you to have a feel of who your competitors are in the business sphere.
6. Outline the Advantages That Make your Brand Stand Out: Even though there will always be bigger brands that have more staff or budget than you do, you will still have to figure out what separates your business for them (that is what you have to offer that no other person has) in order to build your brand. It could be its affordability, ease of use or even your customer care efforts.
This will give your target audience a reason to pay for what you have. For example, Lush is not just like every other makeup brand that is available in the market today. They are also strong advocates of ethical buying and the also encourage things that are handmade.
7. Choose a Business Name: There is a saying that no matter what a rose is called, the sweet scent will still be the same, yet if a product like Nike had a different name, it would be seen on fewer feet. Even though building a brand goes beyond having a name, you will have to realize that your business name is one of the first things that a potential customer notices about your brand. And first impressions matter a lot.
Your business name will inform the logo you design for your business, your domain and your trademark registration. A business name should be unique and easy to remember. Also it should not be too specific because you may need to expand your business to other fields that you did not intend initially.
You can make use the service of a freelancer to help you come up with a brand name or you can make up the name yourself by using any other following approaches.
- Choose a name with a meaning that reflects your business like, The Cheesecake Factory
- Invent a name like in the case of Pepsi
- Create a word by mixing two already exiting words like Face and book to generate Facebook
- Using the initials of a longer name like CNN (Cable News Network)
- Altering the spelling of a word by adding or removing letters from its spelling like Orban Box.
When choosing a name, it is better to go for names that have an available domain name instead of one that has already been taken.
8. Create a Great Logo, Slogan or a Tagline: Apart from your business name, a business logo, slogan or tagline are very important tools in a branding campaign. They have the ability to make you stand out from the crowd or just being perceived as boring and uninspiring.
Your logo and slogan will appear in everything that is related to your business, be it your letter head or your business card and will even serve to represent your business when it has become an established and popular brand. Because these elements will always serve as a visual reminder of your business, it is advisable to create a logo and slogan that is epic even if it means spending your time or money to achieve this. You can hire a freelancer or a professional designer to help you create these elements.
9. Determine the Tone and Voice of your Brand: The voice of your business brand is how you communicate with your clients and customers and how they respond to you. It is largely dependent on your mission statement. The voice that your brand takes can be professional, friendly, service oriented, conversational or informative. A lot of businesses are known for their friendly customer care while some tend to have a more professional tone.
10. Determine the Personality of your Brand: Your customers will not be impressed by a brand that is a jack of all trades and yet master of none. They need a brand and a product that is tailored to their specific needs. To determine the personality of your business, you will have to determine your mission statement, determine words that you would associate with your brand and the metaphors and concepts that describe your brand.
The process of brand building is a continuous and never ending process. Your brand should be visibly represented in all your business does and in all things that you want to display to your customers. From your business card to your work environment, your business brand must not be found wanting or lacking. When you create a website, a social media page or even an email, your voice, mission statement and personality should be reflected in it all.
11. Stay Loyal to Your Brand: When a business improves, the business owner or decision maker may feel that there is a need to change the brand, yet unless the decision to change comes as a result of consumer response, then it may not really be necessary to effect the change.
Stay true to your brand message and don’t constantly change it unless it is really necessary. Inconsistency in branding will not only confuse customers but will also make future branding efforts more difficult. For example Apple has always promised to “think different” and this is always reflected in their radical and trend setting designs and concepts which they continue to exhibit till today.
12. Hype your Brand: In the process of building a brand from scratch, it is up to you, and your staff to hype your brand and help in spreading the word. No one knows your business like you do, so it is up to you to be the first and best advocate of your business.
When hiring your staff, make sure that their objectives are in line with what your company stands for so that they can effectively represent your business irrespective of where they find themselves. Also, you need to encourage your loyal customers to post reviews about their experience with your brand and to also recommend it to others.
In conclusion, an effective branding campaign can help to transform a small unknown business into a force to be reckoned with. Building and maintaining a brand is a continuous process. A brand continues to grow and evolve as you expose it to more customers and get feedback on how to communicate more effectively with them. You can’t really have 100 percent control over how people perceive your brand but you should always strive to create the best first impression in the minds of your customers.