Whether you have nothing more than a business idea or want to change your existing brand, creating a brand, or a new brand, is a crucial step in the life of your business.
Here’s what you need to know to create a strong brand identity for your business.
Before we dive in, let’s go back to the basics for a moment: what is a brand, what is branding?
What is a brand?
A brand is a set of characteristics and communication elements that distinguish one company from another. A brand is generally composed of a name, a slogan, a logo or symbol, a design, a “brand voice” or brand tone, etc. But branding also refers to the overall experience a customer has when interacting with a company, whether as a buyer, a customer, a social media user or just a passerby.
What is branding?
Branding is an iterative process of researching, developing and applying distinctive characteristics to your business with the end goal of building a brand image so that consumers can begin to associate your brand with your products or services.
Branding gives your company an identity that goes far beyond the products or services you market. It gives consumers something to identify with and connect with, which is called branding.
In addition, branding will support your marketing and advertising efforts, giving your advertising campaigns an extra impact.
Let’s take a look at all the steps that go into creating a strong brand for your business that will set you apart from the competition.
- Determine your target audience
All the branding work that companies do should bring awareness and concrete results to their brand: sales. But who is behind it all? It’s the consumers. But not just any consumers. It’s your target audience and your customers.
If your brand doesn’t “fit” with your target audience, the awareness, trust and revenue you’re hoping for will never come. This is where the market research that will determine your target audience comes in.
Before you start choosing your brand name, you need to understand who your brand will appeal to. Who will your product be useful to? Who is your ideal customer?
What you learn about your target market and the characteristics of your typical customer (buyer personas) should influence your branding decisions, so make this step your priority.
- Find your mission statement
Why did you start your business? If you can answer this question, it will go a long way in helping you determine your mission statement, which is intended to define your purpose and passion as a business.
Before you can create a brand that your audience recognizes, values, and is willing to trust, you need to be able to communicate the purpose of your business. Then, every element of your brand (logo, tagline, images, and personality) must reflect that mission and vision.
Your mission statement should be able to clearly explain and describe why your company exists and why people should care about your brand.
- Define your unique values, qualities and benefits
What is the one thing about your business that no one else can emulate? It’s your brand.
For this reason, you need to make sure your brand is composed of and inspired by elements that are yours: the values, benefits and qualities that make your business unique.
Take a moment to write down a list of what sets your company apart from others. We’re not talking about the features of the product you want to market, such as appearance, components or capabilities. We’re referring to how your products or services can improve people’s daily lives.
This is what we call a unique value proposition.
A unique value proposition is the value you promise to deliver to your customers after the purchase. It is ultimately what makes your product attractive to your ideal customer. A compelling value proposition must meet three criteria:
It must be specific: What are the specific benefits your target customer will receive?
It must solve a problem: How will your product solve customers’ problems or improve their lives?
It must be exclusive: How is your product exclusive? And how does it differentiate you from your competitors?
- Choose your brand name
A brand is much more than a name. Your brand’s personality, actions and reputation are really what will make your brand name meaningful in the marketplace.
But as a small business owner, choosing your brand name is probably one of the first big commitments you’ll have to make. Ideally, you’ll want to find a brand name that’s difficult to imitate and even more difficult to confuse with existing brands in the market.
You can also use a business name generator to think of some leads first and get a comprehensive overview of all that’s possible.
Finally, to legally protect your brand, you will have to register it with the National Institute of Industrial Property, after having taken care to verify that it has not already been registered.
To register a domain name that includes the name of your brand, you must contact the AFNIC (Association française pour le nommage internet en coopération) for a domain name in “fr.
- Create your visual assets
At this point, you have clearly identified your target audience, your mission statement, and the unique qualities that make up your business.
If you can say with certainty that you’ve mastered these steps, it’s time to move on to one of the most interesting parts of branding and development: visual design. This includes the logo, color palette, typography (fonts), iconography and other visual components.
As you create these elements, put in place a set of brand guidelines to govern the composition and use of your visual assets. This will ensure that anyone using your new brand image will have to follow specific rules and act consistently.
- Find your brand tone
Next, consider the “auditory” component of your brand. What would your brand sound like if it were able to speak?
How you communicate with your target market is also considered part of your brand strategy. Your goal is to set a brand tone that connects with your audience.
From your ad campaigns to your social media posts to your blog posts to your brand story, make sure your tone is consistent throughout your written content, because the right brand tone will encourage your audience to engage with your brand.
Give your audience a chance to become familiar with your brand and learn to recognize your brand tone. Better yet, you can try to adopt a fun and entertaining tone that your customers will look forward to when you post on social media and in your emails.
- Put your brand to work
Once you’ve finished designing and creating your new brand, integrate it into every component of your business. Pay special attention to making sure it is displayed everywhere your business is likely to reach customers. Here are some tips for implementing successful brand communication within your business, across the main channels available to you.
- Your website
Use your logo, color scheme and typography on all pages of your website. Don’t use anything other than your predefined elements in your brand guidelines. Your website is a major part of your company’s identity, and if it doesn’t reflect your brand, it will provide visitors with a jarring customer experience. Also, make sure that all text on your web, not only product descriptions, but also CTAs, i.e. call-to-actions, reflect your brand tone.
- Social media
All profile pictures, illustrations and various images that you post on social media should reflect your brand. Consider putting your logo as a profile picture, as this will make it easier for customers to recognize your business. As with your website, make sure that all your posts reflect the tone of your brand.
If you have a business that makes products, they are probably the most obvious way to interact with your customers. That’s why your packaging should reflect your new brand image, both in its design and in the use of colors and materials.
Since advertisements (both digital and print) are often used to establish your brand awareness and introduce your products to consumers, it is essential that your campaigns reflect your brand image. In fact, all the work you’ve already done on your brand image and branding strategy should make the process of creating advertising campaigns easier.