Building a brand isn’t something that can happen overnight. Those who have taken the leap to start their own business first have to account for the legal and financial responsibilities, not to mention finding a location, hiring employees…the list goes on (endlessly). The reality is very few new business owners have the time or bandwidth to focus on building a brand.
Making your business come to life for potential customers takes time, effort, and knowledge. It’s overwhelming – even to those with a background in marketing. With that being said, neglecting to brand your new business just isn’t an option.
In this article, I’ll lay out 5 clear and easy steps to branding your company that can be implemented today:
1. Find Your Voice
Your “brand’s voice” is where the branding process begins. If you think about some of the most notable brands like Nike, Ford, McDonalds, and many more, there’s a good chance you can clearly define what they’re about by the way the speak to their customer base. Your business might not be built on motivating people to run that extra mile, haul a load of construction materials, or sit down for a cheap, happy family-friendly meal, but you can learn a lot from the blue bloods of branding.
There’s no shortage of options when it comes to this component of building out your brand’s personality. Pick a word, or even a personality type, and start building from there. For example, words like “inspiring,” “humorous,” “cool,” “proud,” can all be used as the building block upon which your brand voice develops.
It should be noted that before anything else, you should attempt to identify your ideal audience demographic. Meaning if you’re trying to sell your landscaping services, a child-like brand voice might not be ideal. Similarly, if you’re trying to spread the word about your new daycare facility, a word like “elegance” isn’t a great place to start.
2. Build Out Your Visuals
There’s a massive advantage to having a ‘recognizable’ brand when you step out into the community. When people know exactly who you are and what you do just by seeing a logo, you’re in a good place.
Step one is putting together your branding assets. These include things like your colors (and we’re not talking “red” and “blue” but specific shades to ensure uniformity), fonts, as well as graphic elements and imagery. Check out this article for a breakdown of each component in further detail.
3. Put Yourself Out There
When it comes to getting the word out about your business, don’t be bashful. Having a stock of branded goods – from business cards to baseball caps – can go a long way in the brand-building process. At this point you’re just trying to help people form a connection between seeing your name and knowing what you do.
Aside from physical forms of branding, there’s another place you need to be putting yourself out there: social media! Small businesses have the benefit of being able to reach people in their area by forming an online connection. Build out your profiles (complete with your new branding materials) and start posting. If you’re offering any incentives to new customers to get your business off the ground, make sure to mention that on your social channels as well.
Remember that it’s not all about the “hard sell” when you’re first introducing your brand to the world. For example, if you’re opening up a new window cleaning company you likely accept that not everyone is going to need your services immediately. Your goal should be to be memorable, so that when someone does need a company to provide the services you offer, you’re the first name they think of when making calls.
4. Ask For Feedback
Nobody likes to be criticized, but if all you hear is praise, you’re not going to get better. With that in mind, ask those around you, especially the ones whose opinions you trust, for honest feedback throughout the branding process. That last part is crucial, too – don’t wait until you’ve ordered the hats and shirts before you ask your friends and family if they like what you’re doing.
It can be challenging to put yourself in such a vulnerable position where your creative ideas (that you thought were really good) get put down or critiqued in a way that you weren’t expecting. But negative feedback is critical to making improvements. Not to mention, you need some feedback from the ‘market,’ and there’s a good chance you aren’t going to want to shell out thousands of dollars for a true focus group study conducted by a research company.
5. Start Paid Online Advertising
It’s great to post frequently on your social media channels in an effort to build your audience. The unfortunately reality is, though, that organic content strategies are a challenge. The good news? Paid advertising on networks like Facebook, Instagram, and even TikTok, is accessible and affordable for budgets of all sizes.
Obviously it helps to have experience, but in terms of a DIY solution for reaching a targeted audience, you simply can’t beat social media. Once you get familiar with the platforms you can begin putting together more complex campaigns with specific goals, but if you want to put your name in front of a specific demographic in a specific geographical area, it can be accomplished quickly by setting up a Facebook ad account.
One tip: utilize the resources available to you when you set up a campaign for the first time. There are endless “how-to’s” online that can help walk you through the process. Once you get more comfortable, you can create more dynamic campaigns, but the main concern should just be getting something up and running.
Don’t be afraid to reach out and find a branding partner if you’re tied up with the many other duties that come with getting your business up and running. Though financial budgets are important, managing your time is an even higher priority.
Get in touch today to bring your brand, and your vision, to life.