How To Create A Brand
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To succeed in today’s business world, you need a strong brand that helps you stand out from the crowd. Otherwise, you could get lost in the fray, unable to build a positive reputation, attract loyal customers, and become a leader in your industry.
Creating a strong brand identity goes beyond simply picking a name and setting up shop. You need elements that resonate with your target audience and identify you as their key partner in problem solving.
As long as you have a business idea, you have enough to get started in creating a brand. You just have to follow the steps below to start establishing an identity you can build upon for years to come. Let’s get started.
Build Your Buyer Personas and Map Their Journey
Before you can build a brand that speaks to your target audience, you need to know exactly who your customers are and how they interact with companies in your industry. Here’s how to figure that all out.
Define Your Target Audience
To define your target audience, think about the main focus of your business and what problems you aim to solve with your products and services. Then, identify who can benefit from having your solutions at their fingertips.
If you need help clearly defining your audience, you can:
- Focus on the benefits you offer, not just the main features of your products and services
- Look at who your main competitors are targeting with their web content and ads
- Check forums, subreddits, and social media sites for conversations about your industry
As you work through this process, you might find you have more than one target audience. If you own an auto body shop, for example, your customer base may include not only car owners, but also automotive repair shop owners.
Create a Buyer Persona
Once you understand who your target customers are, you can build buyer personas that help guide all your branding efforts. The buyer persona should include your customers’ key demographic info plus their goals, challenges, and how you can help. Make a buyer persona for each audience you’ll serve with your brand, then focus on mapping out their purchase journey.
Map the Customer Journey
A buyer’s journey map follows your audience from the very start of their challenge through checkout. You’ll start by identifying what they’re thinking, feeling, and doing as they set out to find a solution to the problem at hand. Then, you’ll define what products and services they’ll need along with what online content will serve them best as they do research into the best options. After that, you’ll look at how they might interact with your company and find their leading solutions.
Once you have an excellent understanding of your customers’ desires and ideal buyer’s journey, you can create a brand that resonates with those individuals. Refer back to this information often as you move through the rest of the steps.
Figure Out an Excellent Business Name
You need a business name that is both on target with your company’s purpose and easy for your customers to remember. Beyond that, your name should be unique, noticeable, and broad enough to allow you to pivot and grow in the future.
To start dreaming up names, think about your target audience and their buyer’s journey. Also, take a moment to reflect on why you’re in business, what you’re selling, and how you plan to make a difference in this world.
With those things in mind, you can start coming up with ideas by using a business name generator from:
Write down all the name ideas that speak to you for later review. If anything comes to mind while browsing the results, jot down those names as well.
Narrow It Down
To narrow down your options, rule out names that are:
- Hard to spell
- Too vague
- Too narrow in focus
- Potentially offensive
- Absolutely forgettable
Look for names that let your target audience know what you’re all about at a glance, but don’t box you into a singular purpose forevermore. If you currently sell rugs, for example, you might like to name your business Eternity Rugs. But if you want to broaden your horizons down the road by selling bedroom sets, artwork, or mirrors, your name could hinder your ability to grow and attract a wider audience.
Select the Best One
Upon narrowing down your list to the top three names, you’ll need to:
- Read the name out loud to see if it’s catchy, memorable, and easy to say
- Research the name online to see if anyone has claimed it or anything close to it
- Check the US Patent and Trademark Office for claims on each name
- See if your Secretary of State’s records show use of the names
- Ask your family and friends for their opinions and recommendations
Before you commit to a final name, do one last check to make sure you can snag .com domain name for it. Also, see if you can set up Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts using that name.
Upon picking the best option, you can move forward in registering your business name with your state. You may also want to get a federal tax ID if you plan to hire any employees or independent contractors.
Create a Brand Story and Voice
To make your company truly relatable to your customers, you need a compelling brand story. Upon reading your story, your customers should feel a close bond with your company and a desire to support all your endeavors. They should also feel inspired to follow your saga and see where the next steps in life take your brand.
Before you can write up your brand story, you need to figure out what voice your company should have. That’s right, your company will have its own voice that you’ll use in the creation of your story, website content, social media posts, and so much more.
Let Your Voice Be Heard
Your brand voice needs to encapsulate the personality of your company and speak directly to your target audience. Depending on the focus of your brand and the unique characteristics of your customer base, your voice might be:
- Upbeat, friendly, and positive
- Sassy, to the point, and motivational
- Warm, supportive, and simple
- Confident, understanding, and friendly
Also, define what grade level you’ll write to and if you’ll use contractions, slang, and idioms. Write up a description of your brand voice in a style guide and add an example of what you mean.
Tell Your Epic Tale
With your brand voice pinned down, you can start crafting your story from the ground up. Start by reflecting on how or why your brand got its start. What inspired you to create a company? What challenges did you face along the way? How did you overcome your key hurdles?
Then, as you start to write, keep the main conflict at the heart of your story. Infuse your tale with drama and emotions to pull in your reader and start making personal connections. As your tale pulls your reader from your starting point and through your challenges, let them feel your journey deep in their soul, then present your resolution. By the end, your customers should see you as a key problem solver in your own life – and theirs.
Once you’re done, save your brand story for later use. Depending on how you approach the creation of your brand and marketing materials, you’ll need it for your website, social media channels, brochures, and many other things along the way.
Get a Logo and Other Visual Elements
Now that you have a sense of your brand purpose, personality, and audience, you can go ahead with the creation of an awesome logo. During that process, you’ll also come up with the fonts and color scheme you’ll use for your brand.
Create a Logo
Before you can sit down and create a logo, you’ll need to figure out what font, colors, and images match your brand’s personality. You can sit down for a brainstorming session, build a mood board, or research your competitors to get inspiration. If you prefer to leave it to a professional, you can work with a graphic designer instead.
After that, it’s time to reflect on the style of logo you want, such as:
- Trendy: Use the leading trends to link your logo with the current time period and mindset
- Timeless: Think classic styles that feel ageless and endlessly sophisticated
- Retro: Embrace vintage-inspired images and fonts that generate pure nostalgia
- Minimalist: Infuse basic geometry and color schemes with the perfect amount of whitespace
- Quirky: Go a little bit zany and think outside the box to highlight your love of whimsy
With your style picked out, you can select your logo type. The most popular ones include monograms, symbols, emblems, and mascots. You can also go with an abstract design if that works best for your company.
Once you have an idea on the direction you want to go, fire up a free logo generator and start playing with the different images, fonts, and colors. Create many different types of logos, so you can reflect on all your options and settle on the one that best aligns with your brand personality and purpose.
Other Visual Elements
When you go ahead and create your website, you’ll need to link its design back to your logo to create a cohesive brand identity. The best way to do that is to use the same color scheme as your logo for your background and accents.
You do not need to use the exact same font, however. Instead, pick a couple from the same family that make your headlines, subtitles, and text easy to read. If you used a sans serif font for your logo, then you’ll want your website to use that type of font as well.
To keep everything on the same page, write down the HTML color codes and exact fonts when you finalize your logo. Save them in your style guide alongside your brand voice description, story, and other key elements.
Create a Descriptive Slogan for Your Brand
When it comes to branding, quality slogans stick in the brain and create connections faster than any other element. So, you’ll need a good one to start your busines journey, but you can change it up in the future.
Pepsi and many other major brands have gone through dozens of slogans through the years. If you find one you really like, however, you can stick with it for the long run, as Nike has done with their ‘Just Do It’ tagline.
Once you create a slogan, you’ll use it as a tagline on your website, as an important part of your product packaging, and on many of your key marketing materials. Since it’ll show up in so many important places, it’s smart to take your sweet time in dreaming it up.
You have many options in finding your ideal slogan, like using metaphors, making bold claims, or creating a catchy jingle. If you need inspiration, you can use a slogan generator to get some ideas. You just have to enter one word you want the slogan to include and hit ‘Generate Slogans’ to get many great results.
As you look over the options, keep these key things in mind:
- Think about what your target audience wants from your brand
- Highlight what makes your company and products truly unique
- Be bold, yet honest in describing your brand’s purpose and results
- Make it humorous to quickly capture your audiences’ attention
- Keep the word count as low as possible while still making your point
Don’t settle on just one slogan and throw the rest away. Run them across your family and friends to see what they think. Once you find the one that works best for your brand, put the others in a safe place for later review. You never know when you’ll need to adjust your branding elements to best suit the needs of your customer.
Explore and Map the Competitive Playing Field
More people than ever are shopping online for everything from clothes and pet products to groceries and furniture. The sky is the limit in what you can find online and get delivered straight to your door in a matter of days. Even when shopping in store, customers tend to hop online to look at product reviews and research the brands before completing their purchase.
So, if you want your brand to remain competitive in this digital world, you’ll absolutely need a web presence. The best way to do that is with a website and social media accounts. Unfortunately, before you can create those brand elements, you need to complete a competitive analysis first.
A competitive analysis is a deep dive into what your three main competitors are doing to attract and serve their customers. With that knowledge, you can skip to the chase and provide your customers with the shopping experience they want most.
Perform a Competitive Analysis
Before you can analyze what your competitors are doing, you need to know who they are. So, think about how your customers would find your products online and use them to perform an online search.
Go past the sponsored links and write down the top five competitors listed there. Then, repeat this process until you see which three competitors show up the most. Those three are your main competition in this industry.
To analyze what your competitors are doing, start by doing a full audit of the products and services listed on their websites.
While doing that, you’ll want to look at their:
- On-page descriptions
- Pricing, including shipping and fees
- Instant discounts, promo codes, and other deals
Also, note any extra content they may have on the page, like buyer’s guides and user manuals. Explore the rest of their site as well. Look for a resource page or blog that has other supportive content designed to help their customers through the buyer’s journey.
Then, move onto their social media accounts to see how they are advertising their products. While doing that, ask yourself:
- What products do they focus on most?
- How are they promoting the content on their site?
- When do they post their ads and other works?
- Are their customers engaging with their posts?
- How could they better serve their customers?
As you work through these steps for each competitor, try to find ways you can improve upon their approach and add your own spin to it.
Think about how you could fill in the gaps in the buyer’s journey and help customers solve their challenges. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and determine if there’s anything missing from their websites and social media pages.
Create a Keyword Map
You can put your all into create the right brand elements and still come up short if your customers are unable to find you online. Thankfully, you can look to search engines for help in that realm. To get your brand on the radar of the leading search engines, you’ll need a keyword map. This map is a list of all the top keywords people use to find products and services in your industry.
To create one, you’ll need to use a keyword research tool, like SEMrush, to see how customers are finding and engaging with your competitors’ websites. With this tool, you can just input their website and see all the top keywords that link to each of their pages.
Once you know some of the leading keywords, you can build out a list of even more with Google Ad’s Keyword Planner. After compiling your list, you can find the keywords with the most searches each month and use them to plan the pages in your site. You may use them to figure out what content should be on your static webpages, blog posts, and landing pages. Write down that information in a spreadsheet, so you can refer back to it when building up your website.
Build Up Your Website and Social Media Accounts
With all the information you compiled up until this point, you can create a website that serves the needs of your target audience. You should already have a .com domain from when you created your business name and bought that entity. You should also have already made your social media accounts that align with your business name. If not, you’ll want to do that now.
Build a Solid Website
Once you have a .com domain, you can set up hosting and create your site using their website builder tools or WordPress. You also have the option to use your domain to set up a Shopify store and sell your wares through their platform. Upon going that route, you can sell products directly through Instagram without having to send your customers through multiple pages.
If you’re not tech-savvy, however, you might want to hire a web designer to create or setup the site for you. They will consult with you to see which direction you want to take your website, and then create all the pages to your specifications.
No matter which route you choose, put your keyword map to work in creating pages that’ll best serve your customers. If your customers have a lot of questions about your products or services, for example, you might want a FAQ or resource page. To address the answers in a longform format, you might prefer to set up a blog as well.
Fill Out Your Social Media Profiles
With your website set up, all that’s left to do is fill out your social media profiles. You can focus on just one or maintain your brand presence on multiple platforms. No matter what, make sure to use your logo as your profile picture, add your brand story, and keep the voice aligned with the rest of your marketing materials. Link your social media profiles on your website and vice versa to create a cohesive online presence.
By now, you have a strong brand presence you can use to promote your products and services online. You can use a lot of those branding elements in the creation of your product packaging, print advertisements, and other marketing materials as well. Just remember to verify that everything is on brand before publishing to give your customers consistent support through every step of the buyer’s journey and beyond.