So, you’re building a brand. You’ve got the juices flowing and are ready to get out into the world—but where do you start? Here are 5 key steps to building a strong brand foundation.
Don’t start with pretty colors and fonts, or a fancy logo and slogan — those things come later, once you know what you’re selling and who it’s for. Instead, start by focusing on your product or service. Build a core offer that solves a problem for a specific group of people, then think about how you can bring it to them in a way they find appealing and accessible. You can’t be everything to everyone, so focus on finding one specific group of people who need what you’re offering.
To build a strong brand, a business owner must first figure out how to set themselves apart from their competitors. It is important to understand that your brand doesn’t only help you with your positioning in the market. It also helps you separate and differentiate yourself from the competition. Ask yourself, “What sets me apart from the competition?” The offers/services do not have to differ in a major way (or at all) but how and who you target, or the way you bring your offerings to the table, should be different to make you stand out.
We cover this in our Dream Brand Guide, a comprehensive workbook to help you define your dream brand vision. You can download it here.
It is hard to build a successful business when you have no brand. And it’s even harder when you’re trying to build a name with nothing but a website and some social media accounts. Building a brand — or launching one, if you are just starting out — is a tough, time-consuming process.
But there are ways to start building your brand on the fly, even if you don’t have much of anything else. The process may seem daunting, but it can be summed up on a single post-it note.
At the very least, figure out the following:
• Purpose & business objective(s) (why?)
• Target(s) (who?)
• Offer(s) (what?)
• Launch date (when?)
• Media (where?)
Yes, we know what you’re thinking. “But I’m not a graphic designer!” And that’s ok. You don’t have to be a professional to have some solid aesthetics. You will never be expected to be an expert in every area of your business. If you want to hand this task off to someone else and see what they come up with, go for it. But if you want to do it yourself? We believe in you!
Your brand aesthetic can be as simple as choosing a color palette and font that fits the tone of your brand, and sticking with them on all graphics and products. Or, if you’re feeling ambitious, maybe there are some other elements that really speak to who you are as a business owner or entrepreneur. Could you create some custom images or icons that reflect what you stand for?
Just remember clean, clear, simple design is your friend here. #AestheticsMatter! Your audience will notice when something looks polished, professional, and well-designed—and things that look polished, professional, and well-designed build trust with your audience.
Your brand is your identity. It’s who you are and what you do. It’s what people expect of you and what they think of when they think of you. When a customer senses that you’re missing in action, they feel like they’re no longer getting what they paid for. They’ll doubt that you’re living up to your end of the bargain and will think less of you. And, ultimately, they’ll leave.
That’s why it’s so important for you to make sure that your brand is always present and presentable. You must constantly be thinking about how to represent yourself as well as communicate with people through the things that you say and the things that you do. If people don’t know what a company stands for or represents, then they won’t buy from them or support them. You want to stay on top of all things brand across all mediums: social media, press releases, website, print ads, advertising, packaging, etc. Be sure not to miss a beat!
Check out our article about the Top 5 Productivity Tools Every Small Business Owner Needs in 2022, to help you be more productive and stay super consistent.
These steps are the foundation of a strong brand. Once you have these down, you can begin to look at your specific niche, really focus in on who your dream customer is, and how they want to feel when they interact with your brand. This is going to be something different for each brand, because we’re all targeting different niches! You know who you are and what your niche is. This list is a great way to start building the structure of what your brand will look like and where it’s going.
When it comes to launching a new brand, this is a very broad picture of the process. You can expect an operational/micro-list from me in the not-too-distant future! In the meantime, feel free to work on all this with the Dream Brand Guide.
We hope that these 5 key steps will help you in building a strong foundation for your brand. Let us know on Instagram, we’d love to hear!
At AHBC Group, we are passionate about helping entrepreneurs launch and grow a brand that is authentic to them, their purpose, and their audience. We enjoy working with entrepreneurs who have a strong purpose, a clear vision and who are animated by ethical, eco-conscious, and inclusive values, who like to challenge the status quo, and are not afraid to build a truly unique brand. If that sounds like you and you would like to discuss your project with us, apply here!