Branding is a key strategy that every business should implement to grow and thrive.
Brand building connects strategy and creativity, and it can change the way people perceive your business.
Most of the time, small business owners face branding challenges that other companies do not have to deal with. Developing, building, and promoting a unique and powerful brand on a small budget can be tough.
May I share a secret with you?
My favourite quote regarding the business branding process is: ‘If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand’. Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, shared the quote.
You may be thinking: ‘Cliché inspirational quotes are not for me’.
I agree. But this is not a simple overused cliché. A brand is a lot more than the products or the services you offer to customers. Your logo and website (and also your products and services) may change over the years, while your brand values remain the same.
This post will teach you everything you need to know about brand building and how to go beyond an eye-catchy logo and memorable slogan.
Table of contents:
- What is brand building and why is it important for your business?
- 7 easy ways to build a successful brand for your business
1. What is brand building and why is it important for your business?
Before getting down to the brand-building strategy’s nitty-gritty, I would like to answer a simple question: what is a brand?
‘Is this a trick question?’
I just want to highlight that your brand is how people perceive your business and their experiences with your business.
Think of a popular brand. Since I’m a massive fan of coffee and I can’t live without my morning cup of joe, I’ll go with that. So, think of Lavazza coffee. Lavazza brand isn’t just coffee beans or coffee machines but the reason why I would never switch to another coffee brand. Lavazza has become part of my identity and personality.
Building a brand requires a lot of effort, time, and an effective strategy.
In other words, a brand is a promise. When you sell a product or service to a customer, you promise to deliver a product or service that meets customers’ expectations.
Now, let me explain to you what brand building is.
Brand building is the process of creating the desired perception of your brand so that people can correctly associate it with its values.
Brand building includes:
- Brand personality
Brand personality refers to a brand’s individualistic traits. Have you ever heard of the ‘Big Five’ brand personality traits? Here they are:
The world’s most popular brands emphasize just one of these dimensions and optionally, a secondary personality trait. However, you can read more about the five dimensions of brand personality here.
- Brand identity
Brand identity refers to the tools used by your company to build a unique, powerful identity. In other words, your brand identity is the way your business looks and speaks to people.
Basic brand identity includes:
♦ Web design
♦ Video and motion
♦ Interactive elements
♦ Colours and fonts
- Brand strategy
Brand strategy is the first step you need to take when creating a brand from scratch. Brand strategy refers to a long-term plan for the development of your business.
The key elements of a successful brand strategy are:
♦ Purpose (are you running your business to make money? Do you have a different goal? e.g. improving people’s lives)
♦ Consistency (your message should always be cohesive – e.g. post on social media only photos that align with your business message)
♦ Emotions (you should build a relationship between your customers and your brand by provoking their emotions – e.g. making your customers feel like they are part of a community)
♦ Message and story (tell people the most compelling story about your brand)
♦ Competition awareness (watch what your competitors do and what brand strategies they implement)
♦ Target audience (identify the group of consumers most likely to want your products or services)
Even though the process of brand building can be confusing and intimidating, I assure you that you can build a unique and memorable brand as long as you align company values with your brand.
Now, let me explain to you why brand building is so important:
- Get recognition – Your business will become known to the customers.
- Attract ideal customers – The more personality and identity your brand has, the more you attract the right customers.
- Increase marketing effectiveness – Your marketing campaigns will be a lot more effective with a consistent and cohesive brand.
- Command higher prices – Remember that customers are buying brands and not only products or services. As a result, you will improve the financial performance of your business.
- Build trust – A strong brand will build customer trust (and, as a result, you will retain customers easier).
- Improve employee satisfaction – An employee who works for a strongly branded company is more satisfied with their job.
2. 7 easy ways to build a successful brand for your business
Now that you understand that brand building goes far and beyond a nice logo, I will show you the most effective steps you should follow to create a successful brand.
- Write a mission statement
Do you remember what I shared in the first section of my post? Establishing a business purpose is a key element of brand strategy. Let me give you some examples of mission statements from the world’s most famous companies:
- LinkedIn: ‘Connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.’
- Facebook: ‘Give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.’
- PayPal: ‘Build the Web’s most convenient, secure, cost-effective payment solution.’
- Asana: ‘Help humanity thrive by enabling all teams to work together effortlessly.’
- Philips: ‘Improving people’s lives through meaningful innovation.’
Define your own business purpose. As I told you previously, you should go beyond making money. Money isn’t everything. I know what you are about to say…’Money isn’t everything as long as you have enough’.
All right. Let me rephrase that. Your purpose should be to make a profit so that your business can do more.
Note: You can use your mission statement as a guiding-light (without sharing it to people) or post it on your official website. The choice is up to you.
- Get to know your audience
You can apply several strategies to determine your target audience and tailor your mission to meet your customers’ needs.
As the Entrepreneur says, ‘When we try to be everything for everybody, we run the risk of being nothing for nobody.’
You cannot attract everyone with your products and services. This is why you need to determine your audience.
On the Australian Government’s official website, you will find some valuable tips on how to identify your target market.
You will learn more about how to research and segment your market and define your target customers.
- Define and use your brand voice
Brand voice is the personality your brand takes when communicating with prospects and customers.
The tone of voice you use makes you different from the rest, and it builds a connection with your audience by encouraging dialogue.
The flow of your words and the language your use must align with your audience.
Let’s assume you’re marketing to teens. Should you use a formal brand voice? For sure not.
So, depending on your audience, do not hesitate to use informal language and humour.
For example, a friend once told me he wanted to create a dark chocolate brand called Victory and use the slogan ‘even when you finish this dark chocolate, the victory will still be bitter sweet’. Of course, he was joking. His purpose was to highlight the importance of humour in brand voice.
To learn more about brand voice, I suggest you read the tone of voice examples of famous brands listed by Medium.
- Tell a compelling story
Storytelling is powerful.
A great brand story has to be meaningful, personal, emotional, authentic, and engaging (meaning that it must not bore the audience to tears).
Your business story should answer these questions:
- Who are you?
- What is your company’s mission?
- What motivates you and your team?
- How did you develop your products and services?
- What are you offering?
- What type of customers are finding value in your brand?
The answers to the questions above should be the meat of your story (that MUST be interesting and compelling). However, telling an exciting story is not enough. You must keep your readers engaged.
Useful tip: use a hook to start your story and create an enticing beginning to engage the reader.
Just get a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, a refreshing cocktail, or anything that can help you find inspiration for writing and tell the world your story.
- Design your brand’s visual identity
As I shared previously, your brand identity includes elements like logo, colours, photography, typography, etc.
Your brand’s identity speaks to your audience.
But what is the number one element that makes good visual branding?
Consistency means using the same visual elements across all products and marketing materials.
And since we are talking about consistency, let me share another secret: using the same logo and fonts across all marketing materials is highly important, but it is not enough. You must also use the same contact information across all websites, marketing materials, and printed assets.
I know what you’re thinking…’How can a small business that does not even use a physical office stay consistent with both visual identity and contact information?’
Well, small businesses can quickly achieve consistency.
With B2B HQ’s virtual offices, you can keep the same contact information as you scale up. First, we allow you to grow your company without the need to change the contact details we provide to you.
Secondly, our professional meeting rooms and office building do not show any logo, company name, or branding, meaning your clients stay your clients. They will only see your OWN company visual elements so that you can stay consistent.
- Start building out and promoting your brand
Now it’s time to increase brand awareness and visibility.
You should build your own website and list your business on various platforms, search engines, and websites.
If you have already established your brand’s visual identity and defined your brand story and voice, this process won’t be time-consuming.
For example, it won’t be difficult to write an ‘About us’ page if you already know your brand mission statement.
Useful tip: stay original on social media. Avoid robotic language, over-enthusiasm, and business buzzwords.
Remember what I told you about your brand voice: you should use it to stand out from competitors and show how unique your brand is.
Once you list your business on various websites and platforms, you can start optimising your listings (so that you can effectively use these websites to promote your brand).
- Use a brand advocacy strategy
A brand advocate is someone who supports your business and promotes your services and products to new customers.
Below you will find some tips for a successful customer advocacy strategy:
- Get customer reviews (hopefully, my previous posts about Google reviews and Bing Places reviews can help you collect more customer reviews)
- Run promotions (e.g. social media contests and giveaways, shopping sprees, joint promotions, referral discounts, etc.)
- Create a customer loyalty program
- Use influencer marketing (promote your products and services by partnering with popular social media users or bloggers)
Without branding, your business will be just another face in the crowd.
To reinforce your mission, build a deeper level of trust, and increase financial performance, you need a unique and effective brand building strategy.
Now let me ask you another question.
Why is applying a powerful brand building strategy more challenging for start-ups and small businesses?
Because sometimes, they lack physical office space (because they don’t need it or cannot afford it). Without a professional office that gives a business a reliable image, no brand-building strategy can be successful.
If you want to make your brand visible, relevant, and unique, but you do not use a brick-and-mortar office to help you build a professional image and achieve your goals, B2B HQ can help out. We can provide you with a cost-effective virtual office package that includes the same benefits as a conventional office and allows you to bring consumers closer to your brand.