Your brand is important. It is the essence of your business and what you do. To share it with the world, you carry it throughout your products or services, your marketing messaging, the look of your website and materials, and more.
But what if you are just getting started and you don’t yet know what your want your signature brand style to be? How do you begin to develop that identity so you can present a consistent brand that people understand and respond to? Follow these tips:
Develop a brand strategy
Before you can start thinking about logos and color choices, you need to fully outline what you want your brand to be. Answer these questions in detail:
- What are your goals for the business now and down the road?
- Who is your target customer and what matters most to that audience?
- What is your promise to customers?
- Who are your competitors and what sets you apart from them?
- How is your business unique? What can you do that is different from everyone else?
- What is the nature of your product or service? For example, a law firm would be more serious in nature, whereas a toy store would be fun.
Those questions help you form the foundation of your branding message, so give them plenty of thought. You should walk away from this exercise knowing who you want to target, how to grab their attention, and how to “talk” to them once you do.
Take an honest assessment of where you are right now
Spend some time evaluating your products or services, processes, website, marketing materials, logo and anything else you have already created.
Does each of those items fit within your branding strategy? In other words, does your logo, visuals, or copy speak to the audience you want to target? Are you backing up your branding promise? For example, if you promise unmatched customer service, are you actually providing it? If you say your tech is “cutting-edge,” is it really?
Even if you don’t have much to review now, it’s important to figure out where you are falling short and to revise those elements to fit the new style you want to convey.
Check out the competition
Visit their websites or store fronts, and get your hands on their marketing materials. For example, sign up for a free webinar or download or request more information.
Note the language and visuals they use. Pay attention to how their marketing collateral and messages make you feel, the emotions they evoke and the impression they leave on you. Decide what you like and don’t like.
Chances are, they’ve done some research and figured out how to resonate with your audience, so that can give you clues on how to present your own business (e.g., super formal or informal and fun). However, your most important goal is to pinpoint ways to differentiate yourself from them.
You can also take cues from your favorite brands, even if they fall outside your industry. You never want to copy anyone, but you can get some inspiration from the brands that always seem to catch your eye.
Start developing ideas
Brainstorm with employees, mentors or even friends, and start to sketch out your brand style. Think about the image you want to portray to ensure you attract the right customer.
Create tag lines and slogans. Come up with a color palette, usually of one main color and two or three complementary colors. Google typography and pick a few that are a good match for your audience and your product or service. Jot down ideas for visuals that reflect the core values and purpose of your business. And draft the most important messaging points to share with your audience.
As you brainstorm, your signature branding style will slowly take shape, and you can begin to incorporate it across all your marketing mediums and when you engage with customers. Or you can work with a professional branding strategist to help you get there a little faster.