Building a brand is essential to success in the business world. You know it, I know it, and the consumer knows it. It is hard to go up against well known brands with unlimited marketing budgets, especially when you’re an entrepreneur who is just beginning to build.
However, there are ways to make your business stand out without the resources that the mega-companies have. After all, a brand is a reputation, and you don’t need a million dollar budget for people to like what you have to offer.
What Exactly Is A Brand?
Before we dive into how you can build a brand, it’s probably best to define exactly what a brand is. Many people believe a brand is simply the logo, and design of your company, but I’m here to tell you that it is way more than that.
A brand is how you and your business are perceived. Simply put, a brand is your identity. Let’s take McDonalds for example. Whenever people see those golden arches, their mind instantly goes to fast-food. They don’t think of the finest cuisine, they think of food that is prepared quickly, and doesn’t cost the consumer an arm and a leg.
A brand is part logo, colors, domain name, content, social media and many other pieces put together to form a personalized identity that separates you from others who are in a similar line of work..
So let’s go over five ways that you can successfully build your brand.
1. Understand And Build Your Audience
The first step to building a brand is understanding exactly who your target audience is. When you’re thinking about this, try to narrow it down to a specific niche rather than a broad one, because it will help when it comes to the amount of competition you’re facing.
For example, if your business is fixing phones, instead of simply saying We Fix Phones, try promoting the specific type of fixes that you can do, and how you can ensure that it’s done promptly and properly. Maybe you can fix water damaged phones better than the competitor, or cracked phones, whatever it is, make that your selling point.
The selling point needs to be how your business is different, not how it’s the same as other businesses in the area.
2. Take A Position And Stick With It
You can’t play both sides of the fence when it comes to your brand. What I mean by this is that, you can’t simultaneously be a restaurant that makes high-end fancy food, and a restaurant that can guarantee fast-food preparation times. You can’t be a small business who makes precise handmade items and guarantee Amazon-like shipping numbers.
The fact is that you won’t please everyone, so you need to emphasize your strengths. You can do this by creating a positioning statement. A positioning statement is just a couple sentences that adequately describes the message you want to send to your potential audience.
For example: We’re a used car dealership who works with everyone. Whether you have great credit, or bad credit, we have affordable rates. The selling point is that you don’t need spectacular credit, and that the cars are affordable. That tells your audience everything it needs to know.
3. Study The Competition
While your goal should never be to imitate another business model, you should be well-versed in what it is they’re doing. Either use an online spreadsheet, or a notebook to take down notes about how exactly your competitor operates. What are they doing well? What are they doing not so well? Do they have a strong social media presence? What is their brand voice? What colors do they use?
By researching a competitor, you’ll receive a better understanding of the competition and you can start taking the necessary steps to create your own voice.
You can even become the antithesis of other brands. If they have a dry voice, try a playful one, if they aren’t very active on their digital platforms, then you can be extremely active. Play off of the aspects of other businesses that you think they are handling poorly, and capitalize on it.
4. Pick A Name That Packs A Punch
Of course, the importance of a brand name can’t be understated. While it might only be a word or two, coming up with a strong brand name is one, if not, the most important aspect of your business. You need to tell the customer who you are within a single name.
Don’t panic, there are several ways that you can do this. For example, if you make affordable handmade jewelry, something like ‘Budget Jewelry’ could stand out, because people don’t often associate jewelry with products that aren’t expensive. In two words, you’ve showcased how what you’re offering is different.
You can use names that will evoke an emotional response. If you’re opening up a cafe that is quiet, friendly, and filled with smiles, you could try something along the lines of “Warm Heart Cafe”.
By creating a name that is specific to your brand, you are standing out, and making yourself more recognizable.
5. Establish A Reason For Your Brand
Tell the people exactly why you created your business. Tell a personal story that led to the creation of your brand. It shouldn’t just be about making money, or being your own boss, it should be about your passion.
Tell potential customers that you created your brand because you felt it was lacking, or that you had a personal experience with a similar product/business that was terrible, and you decided to create something bigger and better.
Personalization is key when you’re building your brand.
A strong brand is key to a businesses success. Without it, you can’t connect with your audience, and if you can’t connect with your audience, you won’t survive. Especially in this age of social media platforms, you can certainly find ways to get your brand message out there, and speak directly with those who show interest.