5 Simple steps for a successful brand building process
Building a brand is a process that doesn't happen overnight. In fact, it's an ever-evolving process as your business grows and evolves too. But it's not something just for the big and mighty businesses to think about, as every business has a brand no matter how small because your brand is actually just the perception other people have about your business.
Branding is your way to influence that perception and make it a positive and professional reflection of your business. Impacting the perception can be done in various ways, but one of the fastest and easiest ways to get started is through all the tangible elements of your visual appearance; your brand identity.
To avoid the common mistake of rushing straight into the design and marketing of your brand without putting much thought first into the actual strategy behind it, I want to share a simple 5-step process to follow in order to get it done successfully.
Step 1: Know Your Business
Before you make any design decisions for your brand, you want to first dig deep into who is your business exactly. Your brand identity; the colours, fonts, images, graphics and logo you use should be a representation of your business, not just some randomly selected nice looking details that kind of look nice together.
You want to think about the personal characteristics your brand represents, the tone of voice you communicate in and the values you stand for as all that should be the basis of your stylistic decisions going forward. Your style choices would most likely look very different as an energetic fitness business than as a calming yoga studio.
Step 2: Clarify Your Vision
One thing is to know who you are now, but it's equally important to think about where your business is aiming for tomorrow. You want to consider where you want to see your business in 5 or 10 years' time and what are the goals you're trying to reach. This way your choices now can already start to lead you to the desired direction.
You also want to think about where you envision your business to be positioned in the marketplace and do your thorough research on your competitors so that you can find a way to stand out and give your customers a reason to choose you. If you don't know what your competitors are like, you have no way of figuring out what makes you different.
Step 3: Know Your Customer
But no business exists without its customers so one more step is to get crystal clear on who your products and services are for; who needs and benefits from your services the most and what are they like?
You want to figure out detailed behaviours and their lifestyle so that you can get your brand message across the right way for the audience you intend it to. Similarly, the colours, fonts and images you use should resonate with them specifically.
Step 4: Reflect this in Your Brand Identity
Only after figuring out the first three steps should you start to focus on the design choices for your brand. You want to choose colours, fonts, logo and images that reflect your business, support your vision and align with your ideal customer keeping always in mind how you can do it in a way that is different to other businesses in your niche.
Choose a small set of colours and fonts to stick to, set guidelines for your image style and graphics that you use repeatedly and create a logo that summarises the essence of your business without forgetting to use your brand colours and fonts for it. Different colours and fonts create different emotional associations so really look and listen to how they make you feel -- your branding is in the end all about the emotional connection you create with your target audience.
Step 5: Apply to Your Branded Content
Once you have your visual brand elements decided, the key is to start using them consistently. And I really mean consistently. These same elements should be showing up repeatedly in the content and documents you create in your business from your business card to your social media posts, your website and even your invoices.
Consistency makes your brand identity more memorable and recognisable in the eyes of your audience, and recognition leads to more trust and confidence in your brand. And I'm sure it goes without saying that trust is key in making positive buying decisions.
In marketing, it is said that your message should be seen or heard a minimum of seven times before it provokes action to buy. You could similarly use this as a rule of thumb with your branding, so don't be afraid of repetition.