Startup Tips: Branding your Business
A brand defines your identity as a company and differentiates you from competitors. To create a brand that customers will instantly love and recognize, check out these practical tips to branding your business.
Let’s imagine that you have an image of the latest iPhone on your computer screen right now. What’s the first impression that comes to mind? Probably, you might find it sleek, elegant, and beautiful. Its high-end design is unlike any of its peers.
And that is how Apple, makers of the iPhone and its other flagship products, is known for. Apple’s brand is synonymous with avant-garde design, feature-rich display, brightly lit stores, and excellent customer service. Their brand is what makes them stand out as an innovative technology company in this generation.
If you’re a small business or a startup, it can be an uphill battle to compete or even remotely become the next Apple in your industry. Since your marketing budget is often limited, it’s only practical to find ways of building a brand without costing an arm or leg.
Branding is more than just a nice logo or a catchy tagline. As you work your way to branding your business, it’s important to first understand what a brand means. So, let’s start.
What is a Brand?
A brand is any identifying mark, symbol, or words that companies use to distinguish their products or services from competitors.
That famous red and white curvy script with the roll-off-the-tongue logo name is what most people remember when they think of Coca-Cola. Nike was not the first one to say, “Just do it” but they popularized this succinct slogan in the consumers’ consciousness.
Ferrero Rocher seals their brand as the makers of chocolate hazelnut balls wrapped in a luxurious packaging of gold foil and see-through plastic containers.
A company’s brand is also shaped by how customers perceive their products or business in general. It’s your reputation in the industry and a promise of what customers can expect from your products or services.
Take Trader Joe’s for example. They are not only known as a grocery chain that sells organic products at reasonable prices. Their loyal customers love them because their employees would go above and beyond to delight them. The care and attention they give to customers are what makes Trader Joe’s brand shine.
Overall, your brand is a combination of who you are, what you want to be, and what customers perceive you to be as a company.
So, how can you have a successful brand like these companies we mentioned? Your brand’s message and experience should extend across different areas of your business. People tend to acclimate to companies that are consistent with their branding—whether it’s at their storefront, website, online advertisements, print collaterals, or customer service.
More importantly, branding a business doesn’t stop at logos, taglines, or packaging; it’s an ongoing process. How well you work with your brand determines the kind of relationship you’ll establish with customers. Your products or services should leave a favorable impression from customers long after you’ve earned their sales.
If you want to have a startup branding that people will think highly of, it’s going to take some great effort. Here are the steps you can follow to build a brand that you and your customers will admire.
How to Build an Awesome Brand
When branding a business, these are the steps you can take to develop a successful brand strategy for your startup.
Define your Brand
Before you get busy with choosing the right color palette or fonts for your logo, you need to clarify first who you are and what you aim to be as a company. This part requires some corporate self-discovery. Ask yourself these questions:
- What are my company’s mission and core values?
- How should my company make a difference in our industry?
- What features and benefits should our products be known for?
- What qualities can prospects and customers associate with my company?
To have genuine answers to these questions, do research. Know who your target customers are—their behavior, needs, and the qualities they look for in a product or service.
Also, check out your competitors. How do they position their brand in the market? What makes you different from them? These data should support your quest for defining your brand.
Create your Brand’s “Look and Feel”
Once you’re clear on what your company is about, it’s time to communicate that identity to the public. This is where you get visual by designing your brand. This is one of the essential steps to branding your business.
- Brand design template – Before designing visual materials for your brand, work out a complete design strategy. This includes the standard color, typography, and format as your design guide. This ensures that your brand design is consistent with your logo, email signature, website, and printed materials.
- Logo – A company logo is one of the visual assets that come to mind when you build a brand. After all, it is considered as the face of a company. It is what people see when they first come upon your brand.
- Website – Your website serves as your piece of land in the digital world. It’s also akin to a window where customers can peek in to see what you’re offering and get a feel of your brand.
- Other branding assets – This includes your business card, letterhead, email signature, product packaging, etc.
Wherever your customers encounter your brand—be it on your website, social media, or a printed leaflet—make sure that the design elements are consistent with all brand assets.
Tell your Brand Story
Beyond the glitzy design is your brand story. What message do you want to convey to your audience? When branding your business, make sure to weave your messaging to your brand.
Keep in mind, customers are not just looking for a product. They want an awesome experience and authentic engagement with brands. In other words, your brand story should pull them in and make them care about what you have to say.
To make your brand story more authentic, it’s important to convey it on a personal level. This means using a language or brand voice that connects to customers emotionally.
Are you fun and friendly? Or do you want to come off as professional and serious? Make sure to highlight your brand personality through your voice.
Your brand story can be in the form of a personal experience or a feature on the interesting lives of your customers. However you want to communicate your brand story, it should focus less on your products and more on what’s important to your customers.
Stay Consistent and True to your Brand
Consistency is the key to branding your business effectively. Anything that a customer can see, hear, or feel about your brand should be consistent anywhere else.
Whether a customer drops by at your physical store or buys products at your e-commerce site, your brand image should remain the same. Again, follow a standard design guide to bring consistency to your brand.
Lastly, be true to your brand promise. Make sure that what you promise to deliver aligns with the reality of your customers’ experience. So, if you’re selling a smartwatch that can track workouts and heart rates, then make good on that promise. Otherwise, you’ll make your customers feel cheated and drive them to look elsewhere. You wouldn’t want that, would you?
Branding your Business, the Right Way!
Building a remarkable brand is more than just the color, font, and logo design. It’s a symbol of your company’s identity—who you are, who you want to be, and how other people see you.
When customers can easily recognize and accept your brand identity positively, you are more than just a name and logo to them.
And that my friends, is what makes a brand memorable. You don’t need a vast fortune to create a brand that everyone will love. With a little creativity and in-depth awareness of your strengths, your brand can attract and keep the core audience in your direction.
These practical tips should guide you to go the extra mile when it comes to branding your business. If you need an extra hand to get your branding up a notch, Full Scale is more than happy to help.
Our creative team includes graphic designers, videographers, content writers, and marketing experts to bring your brand identity to the center stage. Send us a message so we can get your creative projects rolling in no time!