Building a brand from the ground up that stands out above anyone else is no easy task. 1. Visually What should it look like? 2. How should it make the people feel who you are trying to engage with? 3. Will it resonate with my target audience?
These are questions that will come up when you start thinking about how to make that connection between what you’re selling and who you’re trying to sell to. If all you have is a business idea or you want to oscillate your existing brand, here are some important things to consider about building a strong identity for your business.
What Exactly Is a “Brand”? A brand isn’t just a recognisable name and logo that distinguishes you from the crowd. Your brand is how people perceive you wherever they interact with your business or products or not. A first impression you can control and the ones you can't. Businesses have names, products, logos, colours, fonts, and their own language and reputations to manage that makes them who they are and affect how they’re perceived by the market.
You can not build a brand without being consistent and maintaining that consistency as you extend your brand to every part of your business. But it all starts with establishing what that consistency is going to look like and the feeling you want it to be evoked by the consumer.
How to Build a Brand Building your own brand broken down to 7 easy to follow steps: 1. Research your target audience and your competitors. 2. Pick your focus and personality. 3. Choose your business name. 4. Write your slogan. 5. Choose the look of your brand (colours and font). 6. Design your logo. Apply your branding across your business and if needs be, evolve it as you grow. While you might revisit some steps as you pivot your brand, it's important that you consider each aspect as you shape your brand identity and what that effect may have on your audience.
Start with the groundwork to inform the way you go about building your brand.
1. Figure Out Your Place in the Market Before you start making any decisions about your brand, you need to understand the current market: who your potential customers and current competitors are. There are many ways to do this: Google your product or service category and analyze direct and indirect competitors that come up. Sign up to there newsletters and keep a trend diary ie when they go into sale when new products are launched when they use discount codes and try and build a trend. This is great for companies with no budget for adverting and marketing. I launched a brand called The Interior Co in 2009 I used to watch the big retail brands and what they did and try to emulate some of this strategy into building what my brand is today without the huge loan to pay for this. ( I am passionate about small brand building creating personal service and goods which reach a niece market, I am not interested in keeping up with huge brands with astronomical budgets for marketing as we are about uniquely identifiable small businesses trying to offer something unique.
I believe this to be the only way to compete in this huge world of online retail. Check subreddits that relate to your customers and eavesdrop on their conversations and product recommendations on Twitter Instagram and Facebook, follow everything which you see if a potential competitor and log it. Talk to people who are part of your target market and ask them what brands they buy from. Create your space in the market, the way I went about this was in 2012 when I started my clothing brand Feathers Of Italy
I wanted to see who my customers were, so I booked 24 shows around the country and I got in the thick of it with my potential customers. Talking to people was the best bit of advice I could give you. People flocked on to my stand at the various shows saying I love your brand there's nothing like this on the high street! and I will tell you why! because huge retailers follow trends, I follow my heart, what sits well with me, what I love!
Look at the relevant social media accounts or pages your target audience follows and are receptive to. Go shopping online or offline and get a feel for how your customers would browse and buy products. As you go about your research, make a note of:
1. Who your potential customers are 2. Who your top 2 competitors 3. How your customers speak and what they talk about and the interests they have and how they express them selfs. It’s important to have a handle on this before moving forward as it will inform what your brand should focus on and how it can position itself apart from competitors. I work with an open mind when doing this because as I have told you I am looking for a more niche market, so I look to make a note but I don't necessarily act on it but I do keep it in my mind and it is worth the hard work of logging it all down.
2. Define Your Brand’s Focus and Personality Your brand can’t be everything to everyone, especially at the start. It’s important to find that focus and let that inform all the other parts of your brand as you build it. Here are some questions and branding exercises to get you thinking about the focus and tone of your brand. What's your positioning statement? A positioning statement is one or two lines that stake your claim in the market. This isn't necessarily something you put on your website or business card—it's just to help you answer the right questions about your brand. Your positioning statement should go something like... e.g We offer (these products or these services) for (women in their mid-years) to (enable them to make the most of their figure and look and feel more confident). Clothing retailer Feathers Of Italy statement. Unlike (Mint Drop Clothing, we (find out what our customers want and needs are and we build our product collections with this in mind).
Your unique selling proposition is the one thing you're competing on. Find it, go in on it, and make it a part of your brand's messaging. Alternatively, if the company you want to start has a cause at its core (e.g. if you're starting a social enterprise), you can also write this out as a mission statement that makes a clear promise to your customers or to the world. What words would you associate with your brand? One way to look at your brand is as if it was a person. What would he or she be like? What kind personality would your customers be attracted to? This will help inform your voice on social media and the tone of all your creative, both visual and written, Its worth having this on a poster on the wall to keep reminding yourself whilst writing your blogs and posts on social media.
3. Choose a Business Name It took a long time to create Feathers Of Italy my clothing brand I wrote everything down I could think of and every way of saying it down on index cards including Italian spellings. I invited a few friends round for lunch popped a cork and after we had eaten and not too tipsy we all passed the cards around and made a comment on the name of the company then explained why we thought that. One person added to piume d'italia how will i remember this name and I won't remember how to spell it so I will probably forget the brand. Great constructive criticism a few others went love the name but me too I won't remember. By the end of the lunch, it was apparent keep it easy but the fact that the products are all from Italy was important to me so Feathers Of Italy was born
What's in a name? Depending on the kind of business you want to start, you can make the case that your name matters very little or it matters a lot. As we've said before, a brand is so more than a name. The personality, actions, and reputation of your brand are really what give the name meaning in the market. But as a business owner, your company's name is probably one of the first big commitments you have to make and it's a scary one because once it's named it's very difficult to change any part of it. It’ll impact your logo, your domain, your marketing, and trademark registration if you decide to go that route (it's harder to trademark generic brand names that literally describe what you sell). Ideally, you want a business name that’s hard to imitate and even harder to confuse with existing people in the market. If you have any plans to expand the product lines you offer down the road, consider keeping your business name broad so that it's easier to pivot than if you chose a brand name based on your product name. Now I have chosen to use Italy in my brand name it is very difficult now to sell products from say France. You can use a Business Name Generator to brainstorm some names on Shopify but i have tried this to create a new brand and for instance if you are going to be selling men's watches it asks you to put keywords in so say you put luxury, mens watches, watches, etc it throws out things like Luxury Mens Watches as a brand name! not very unique or helpful, I have yet to find a better solution than brainstorming with friends. Because your brand name will also affect the domain/URL of your website, make sure you shop around to see what’s available before you decide. I do this simultaneously.
123 reg is a good place to start this is also great for identifying your competitors as if there is a similar name coming upsold you can just research what they sell and if it is too close to yours. For instance I own The Interior Co I had decided on my name long before I checked out with 123 reg if it was available and there was a company called The Interior Company hence me choosing co-option, at the time i wasn't worried about it as they only did interior design and were in Hampshire but as both them and I evolved we both became similar and recently a client said I didn't call you to do the interior this time because you had moved to Hampshire! a tricky one when you have already made your name in the marketplace it is very difficult to now change your name.
4. Pick Your Brand’s Colors and Fonts Once you've got a name down, you'll need to think about how you'll visually represent your brand, namely your colours and typography. This will come in handy when you start to build your website. Choosing Your Colours Colours don't just define the look of your brand; they also convey the feeling you want to communicate and help you make it consistent across your entire brand. You'll want to choose colours that differentiate you from direct competitors to avoid confusing consumers. In this instance someone who came into the market trying to gain our market share quite literally copied they called them selfs feather stones instead of us being Feathers Of Italy, they used a white feather in the logo and copied our buying techniques and styles. I am an artist and I painted my feather logo so it is really distinctive so it wasn't long before clients said I thought you had changed your name but when i didn't see your distinctive feather logo I thought it couldn't be you, also I have a way of displaying my goods which is unique to me and the way I treat customers is equally unique, to the point of remembering what they bought last time, my photographic memory comes in handy for this. Colour psychology isn't an exact science, but it does help to inform the choices you make, especially when it comes to the colour you choose for your logo. This infographic offers a nice overview of the emotions and associations that different colours generally evoke.
via The Logo Company it's important to consider how legible white and black text will be over your colour palette, and how coloured text might look over white and black backgrounds. Try using a tool like Colours to brainstorm colours that work together, grab the hex codes to keep handy, and sift through different shades to find the ones you like then write it down because even on Canva you can input your own Hex code to get that specific colour. Choosing Your Fonts At this point, it's also good to look at fonts you might want to use on your website again once you have choose one or two write them down and make sure you always use those as this helps with identity. Pick two fonts at most to avoid unnecessarily confusing visitors: one for headings and one for body text (this doesn't include the font you might use in your logo). You can use Font Pair to browse from a wide selection of fonts that go well together and download them if necessary.
For inspiration, use Stylify.me on your favourite websites to see their visual style at a glance.
5. Write a Slogan A catchy slogan is a nice-to-have asset something brief and descriptive that you can put in your Twitter bio, website headline, business card, and anywhere else where you've got very few words to make a big impact. Keep in mind that you can always change your slogan as you find new angles for marketing. Some companies like Pepsi have had 30 over the years so don't be afraid to keep redefining this as your brand develops. A good slogan is short, catchy, and makes a strong impression. Here are some ways to approach writing a slogan of your own: Stake your claim: Death Wish Coffee—"The World's Strongest Coffee" Make it a Metaphor: Redbull—"Redbull gives you wings." Adopt your customers’ attitude: Nike—"Just do it." Write a rhyme: Folgers Coffee: "The best part of wakin' up is Folgers in your cup." Describe it quite literally: Aritzia—"Women's fashion boutique" Try Shopify Slogan Maker to brainstorm some ideas or play off of your positioning statement to generate some potential one-liners to describe your business. 6. Design Your Logo A logo is probably one of the first things that come to mind when you think about building a brand. And for good reason. It's the face of your company after all, and could potentially be everywhere that your brand is. Ideally, you'll want a logo that's unique, identifiable, and that's scalable to work at all sizes (which is often overlooked). Consider all the places where your brand's logo needs to exist, from your website to your Facebook Page's profile picture to even the little "favicons" you see in your current browser tab. If you have a text logo as your Instagram avatar, for example, it'll be almost impossible to read. To make your life easier, get a square version of your logo that has an icon element that remains recognizable even at smaller sizes this is a great way to design one as you can get a lot less in a square visual so it will stop you overfeeding the idea.
The following are some of the different logotypes you can choose to help you communicate with designers and find a style that makes sense for your brand. Keep the colours and fonts you chose in mind to make sure they work together with your logo to convey your brand.
There are many tools on the market or we can design one for you at a minimal cost.
7. Apply, Extend and Evolve Your Brand as You Grow Building a brand doesn't stop with creating a logo or slogan. Your brand needs to exist and remain consistent wherever your customers interact with you, from the theme you choose for your website to the marketing you do to customer service to the way you package and ship your products. You'll continue to shape and evolve your brand as you expose more customers to it and learn more about who they are and how to speak to them. It's important to appreciate that you will never have 100% control over how people perceive your brand there are people out there in the real world who will try and attack you it is essential to remain calm. I have just had a friend who thought it amusing to comment on a photo of a bikini we listed stating invite me to the photo shoot next time!! it is not the first time he has put something sleazy so an old friend as he was I have unfriended him as it gives the wrong image!. Another this morning asked why i wasn't modelling the bikinis! my words I would love to express, something like I'm sure your wife would love that comment or better still shall I share this comment on your linked in profile?? I may still do that but ultimately I call this protecting my brand! another lady commented last week Horrible! to a beautiful swimsuit we were selling, I mean why would you actually bother to write that down for everyone to see what an obviously troubled person you were there was a comment from my customer well you wouldn't fit in one anyone love!! its lovely when a client sticks up for you but this is not good I did eventually block her and remove the post. You can tug customers in the right direction, make a good first impression, and manage your reputation, but you can’t control the individual perceptions that exist in each person's mind (say, if they had a bad customer service experience) or you could not get them a product when they needed they seem to hold a personal grudge. All you can do is put your best foot forward at every turn and try to resonate and re-engage with your core audience. But hopefully, at this point, you have the tools, knowledge, and resources to deal with these things.
If this all seems a little overwhelming just take a book and write 1 - 7 down and use a couple of pages for each and just work through it logically. When I started my first business in 2009 I was overwhelmed by the knowledge you had to have to be in business. I started with nothing, not even capital I sold most of my assets including clothes and furniture even light fittings and mirrors, just to be able to buy stock.
Would I have started the business if I knew how hard that path would be? Probably not, but then I would not be in a position now to help other businesses start and grow and I would not be in a position to teach my ethos which is keep control of your business and all aspects of it so you are independent and don't have to rely on third parties which could fail you even making you fall.
I believe if I would have learned more about the basics of maintaining my own content and being in charge of my own back end of my website I would have grown a lot quicker with fewer costs.
I have developed a starter offer website build package where you can start with up to 10 products and services and when I have finished building the site "I teach you how", that's if you want to learn! it is a way of managing this yourself saving you thousands of pounds in design fees. We also can do this for you if you start becoming ultra busy but my service asks you to take control of your own destiny.