Successfully branding your business is one of the most important things you can do to achieve business success. A recognizable brand can carry your company through lean times and keep people coming back for more. But understanding that you need to develop your brand is a lot different than actually doing it.
If creating a successful brand were easy, everyone would be at the top. But it’s not easy. It takes time, dedication, and creative thinking. If you are a small business, you may have to work harder to develop your brand and do it with fewer resources than larger companies that can hire creative designers and branding experts.
You can create a successful brand, though, no matter the size of your team and budget. You need the right mindset and a few helpful tips. Below are some ways to build your brand into a company asset all its own.
What Is a Brand?
First, you need to understand what a brand is. A brand is how you present yourself to the world and how the world perceives you. This brand should be consistent across various applications, such as digital media and print collateral. A few examples of branding:
- Printed materials like mailers and posters
- Logos and letterhead
- Colors and symbols
- Mascots, characters, or brand representatives
- Taglines and jingles
- Signage and packaging
Branding can really be anything that distinguishes your company from others. For example, some companies go so far as to keep the same flooring throughout various stores. The moment you step into that store, you instantly know which store you are at. Branding can encompass a wide variety of elements, but consistency is key. Otherwise, people won’t recognize your brand, no matter how cool or well developed it is.
Tips for Creating Your Company’s Brand
Many different elements go into the creation of a brand. Maybe you want to incorporate a beloved mascot—think Keebler elves—or maybe you want to create a recognizable image—like Twitter’s blue tweeting bird. Perhaps your business would do better with catchy taglines or sharable videos. Whatever your business is, you need to think long and hard about how to build a brand that can help you promote your business.
Tip #1 - Be Evergreen
When starting out with your brand strategy, you need to do some research. You should look at what your competitors are doing, and find out how you can beat them. Do research in your industry to figure out what people are looking for and how you can reach them on an emotional level.
If you are a home improvement company, how can you get people to see your company as a reliable partner in their efforts to create a cozy home for their families to enjoy?
Whatever branding you choose, make sure that it will stand the test of time. You don’t want to have to change your brand because that will set you back. Updating a brand every few years is fine, but you shouldn’t have to start from scratch. If you choose branding that lasts, you won’t need to completely rebrand your business.
Tip #2 - Promote a Positive Image
Negative messaging does work in marketing, but you don’t want your brand to be tied to negativity. You want people to associate your brand with positivity and good feelings. People should feel good choosing your products or services. Making people feel ashamed to be using your company’s offerings won’t work well over time.
You can use negative messaging in other ways, but not in your branding. Here are two examples of messaging, one positive and one negative:
- Use our environmentally-friendly products so that we can all enjoy Earth for centuries to come.
- Use our environmentally-friendly products because if you don’t, your neighbors will think you are a bad person.
Again, negative messaging can get people to do certain things, but it doesn’t work well for the long term. People may begin to feel negative feelings about your products or services due to negative brand messaging.
Tip #3 - Be Consistent
One of the most important tips related to branding is consistency across applications. People should be able to pick up a mailer and know which store it came from right away. Think of Target’s Christmas catalog they send out each year. You know immediately what it is and which store it’s from. Your branding should be consistent and instantly recognizable.
Target’s symbol is recognizable across all applications. They haven’t changed the target symbol’s coloring or shape over the years. It remains the same, so customers always recognize the store.
Your branding, once you settle on it, should remain the same (or extremely similar). Some companies will do minor tweaks or updates to branding over the years to keep things fresh, but these things should be small and slowly developed over time (think Ronald McDonald’s slowly evolving appearance—despite the changes, he is still recognizable due to consistency with hair color/style, clothing appearance, and those big red shoes).
Tip #4 - Stand Out From Others in Your Industry
No matter what industry you are in, you want to stand out from the crowd. Your business should be distinguishable from others quickly and easily. You don’t want a name that can easily be confused with another company. Your branding should not look just like another business similar to yours.
While you want to stand out, you also want your branding to make sense. For instance, if you are a cleaning company, you shouldn’t name your company, Dave’s Friendly Helpers. The name doesn’t say anything about your company, plus it’s confusing. And what if you brand that cleaning company with a logo that has ocean waves? That wouldn’t correspond to the services your business provides.
Stand out but in a way that makes sense for your industry.
Tip #5 - Target the Right Audience
Branding should be targeted to your industry’s ideal audience. For instance, if you run a medical spa, you should probably be targeting your marketing toward women. If older women are the ones who will be using your services the most, then your branding should be geared toward older women.
Without targeted branding, you may not be able to attract customers. Tell your story and get your message across through branding that is tailored to your target audience.
Need Help Developing a Successful Brand Strategy?
Hopefully, these tips can help you get started building your brand identity. Branding is not always easy, and it can be extremely difficult for certain industries. Branding strategy may not be in your wheelhouse. The good news is that you don’t have to develop a strong brand strategy all by yourself. Many companies will partner with a brand development team, such as the one you will find at Digital Division.
Our marketing company can help you develop your brand’s purpose, core values, brand voice, buyer persona, brand story, color scheme, logo design, social media brand personality, mission statement, website design, and other marketing materials meant to target potential customers. With our help, your business can have a unique identity geared toward your target market. Reach out to Digital Division now for effective branding strategy assistance.