Building a Brand: 11 key steps
“Brands take a take a lifetime to build and a moment to ruin” stated Warren Buffett – here the BlackChilli Creative Hub provides you with an 11-point guide to establishing and building your brand – if you require more support in implementing this then don’t hesitate to contact us on 01256 861372 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Step 1 : Determine your brand’s target audience
The foundation for building your brand is to determine the targeted audience that you’ll be focusing on. You can’t be everything to everyone, right?
When brand building, keep in mind who exactly you are trying to reach, then tailor your mission and message to meet their specific needs.
Get specific. Figure out detailed behaviours and lifestyle of your consumers.
Here are a few brief examples:
- High net worth individuals
- Local retailers
- Internet browsers
Solidify a picture of your consumers; then create a brand identity that they can understand and relate to.
Step 2 : Define a branding mission statement
Before you can build a brand that your target audience trusts, you need to know what value your business provides.
The mission statement basically defines a purpose for existing. It will inform every other aspect of your brand building.
What’s your mission? Craft a clear expression of what your company is most passionate about.
Everything from your logo to your tagline, voice, message and personality should reflect that mission.
We all know the Nike tagline: Just Do It! But do we know their mission statement? Nike’s mission is: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world“. You can see the Nike mission everywhere. They focus on all types of athletes using Nike products to be their best self.
Step 3 : Research brands within your industry niche
Never imitate exactly what the big brands are doing in your industry.
But, you should be aware of what they do well (or where they fail).
Differentiate from the competition. Convince a customer to purchase from you over them!
Research your main competitors or benchmarks. Study how they have effectively and ineffectively built their brand.
- Are they consistent with their message and visual identity across channels?
- What is the quality of their products or services?
- Do they have customer reviews you can read, or social mentions about them?
To aspire to be a £10 million business you have to look like a £20 million business
Step 4 : Outline the key qualities & benefits your brand offers
There will always be brands with bigger budgets and more resources to command their industry.
Your products, services, and benefits belong solely to you.
You have to delve down deep and figure out what you offer, that no one else is offering.
Focus on the qualities and benefits that make your company unique.
It could be more authentic and transparent customer service, a better way to support productivity, or helping save money with a more affordable option.
Assuming you know exactly who your target audience is, give them a reason to choose your brand over another.
Apple is obviously not just another computer company. One of their key qualities is clean design, and a key benefit is ease of use.
From unique packaging to their announcement events, Apple always reminds customers that its products can be used right out of the box.
Apple’s slogan back in 1997-2002 was “Think Different“. This notion continues to exist, today.
Thinking different makes different!
Step 5 : Create a great brand logo & tagline
The most basic (and arguably the most important piece) of brand building, is the creation of your company logo and tagline.
This graphic will appear on everything that relates to your small business. It will become your calling card, and the visual recognition of your promise.
Be willing to invest the time and money to create something exceptional. You’ll be putting the logo on everything, to reinforce visual identity of your brand.
Develop brand guidelines, to ensure consistency for any future application of the logo and associated colour palette.
A brand is a voice and a product is a souvenir
Step 6 : Form your brand’s business voice
Your voice is dependent on your company mission, audience, and industry. It’s how you communicate with your customers, and how they respond to you.
A business voice should be:
- Informative, etc.
There are endless adjectives and possibilities, so chose a brand voice that makes sense and resonates with your target customer.
Virgin Atlantic is known for its friendly and reliable customer service, and their voice constantly builds that brand. On social media they have a personable style, using location-based humour, reinforcing the value that they bring to their customers–guaranteeing power outlets on every flight.
Local but National – Detail Driven – Bespoke Products – Market Leaders
Step 7 : Build a brand message and elevator pitch
When brand building, tell customers succinctly who you are. Use the business voice you have chosen. Your message should be intricately associated with your brand, and conveyed in 1-2 sentences.
A brand goes beyond your logo and tagline to define the key aspects of who you are, what you offer, and why people should care.
A brand message is an opportunity to communicate on a human level, making a direct emotional connection with your customers.
This means that the language you use should be understood immediately while striking an emotional chord. Make it simple and clear.
Most importantly: when crafting a message, address not what your product can do…but why it is important to your customer.
Step 8 : Let your brand personality shine
Customers aren’t looking for another cookie-cutter company who offers the same thing as everyone else. They are looking for an experience tailored to their needs, backed by genuine personal interaction.
Make your personality STAND OUT in every aspect of your brand building.
Being consistent with this brand personality across all points of contact can be as simple as:
- A conversational voice in communication (using “I”, and “you”)
- Sharing behind-the-scenes content
- Telling stories about real experiences
- Describing your products/services in a quirky manner
Step 9 : Integrate your brand into every aspect of your business
Brand building never stops.
Your brand should be visible and reflected in everything that your customer does and does not see. If a client walks into your office, your brand should be on display both in the environment and with personal interactions.
Anything tangible–from business cards, to advertisements, to packaging–needs the stamp of your logo. When you design your website: incorporate your voice, message, and personality into content.
Profile pages for social media networks should be branded visually, and with your chosen voice for engagement.
It’s not just externally that your brand has to be seen. If your staff live the brand, then they live your dream!
Step 10 : Stay true to your brand
Unless you decide to change your brand into something that is more effective based on measured consumer response, consistency is key.
Once you have chosen a voice use it in every piece of content the business creates.
Don’t constantly change your branding, as the inconsistency will confuse your customers, and make long-term brand building more difficult.
Starbucks is the world’s leading specialty coffee retailer, and their brand has always promised to bring people together.
The Starbucks mission is “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time.”
That’s why at every store you’ll find free Wi-Fi, large tables, and soothing music to make conversing easy. They always write your name on your coffee for an extra personal touch. Even despite a logo change in 2011 (removing the company name!), the Starbucks brand perception remains strong. When you see that simplified green mermaid logo, what do you feel? I guarantee it’s something.
Your brand is also the way you deliberate, differentiate, educate, integrate, encapsulate and communicate exactly what it is that you do!
Step 11 : Be your brand’s biggest advocate
Once you have built a brand that works for your small business, you (and your employees) are the best advocates to market your brand.
No one knows your brand better than you, so it’s up to you to spread the word!
- When hiring employees, ensure that they are a culture fit–aligning with the mission, vision, and values of your brand.
- Encourage employees to establish a personal brand that aligns with your company’s, further strengthening reach.
- Give your loyal customers a voice, encouraging them to: post reviews, share your content, like you, be an advocate or give a testimonial.
Be your own best customer. Live your customer’s lifestyle