Making good branding for your business can be sometimes confusing.
Where should you start? What should you consider and focus on?
But of course, it can be also inspiring and exciting. Whether the first option or the second one applies to you the most, it's always helpful to follow a step-by-step process to guide you in branding your business.
And that's exactly what we are going to show you in this article.
Hi there, and welcome back to the Serendipity Marketing blog. We're a digital marketing agency with the mission to help small businesses grow by applying psychology to their marketing strategies.
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So, let’s get started with these step-by-step branding guidelines for any business.
Business Branding Step 1 - Determine Your Why
When you're defining the brand for your business, the first step is to determine your why. Why did you start your business? Who does your product or service help? And how?
A lot of brand new business owners, unfortunately, go into their branding with anxiousness because the real-world pressures them. They feel like “Oh! We have to get this going because I need to make money” or “I've only got so much time to work with before I have to make a return” or “My business is going to fail” and so on.
And the result of this is that it makes you focused only on the sell-sell-sell in your brand. Instead of who your brand is for and how it helps them. That stress will start showing up in your branding and trickle down through your advertisements if you're not careful. So, you want to take a minute to shred any financial stresses or business deadlines worrying you for just a moment and allow yourself to get into a creative headspace and determine your why.
What is the point of this business? Who does it help and how does it help them? Write that down. This will be the foundation to the rest of your brand because anytime you get stuck or need some creative direction you can always refer back to this and it will tell you why you started this business in the first place.
Business Branding Step 2 - Determine Your Niche
The second thing that will probably come naturally as a result of step one is to nail down your niche. Who is your target audience? We've all heard the saying that if your audience is everyone, it's no one. We know it's tempting when you're first starting out to say “I want everybody to shop for me”.
But let us tell you that the secret ingredient to what makes a brand successful is that it comes from a unique voice for a specific audience. So, if you're trying to generalise your brand for everyone, it isn’t going to work.
Let's say you're opening a restaurant, for example. You might be thinking something like “Well, everyone has to eat. So, why can't my audience be for everyone?”
Here are a few things that will answer that question and help you narrow down your audience. First is your location. Unless you're in a super touristy area, the chances are slim that your customer base is going to extend to London if your restaurant is in Manchester. Second, your menu. Not everyone likes everything. The seafood for example; some people love it and some people hate it. And you might say “Well, we offer more than just seafood”. But if that’s the case, then you might start getting customers who think “It's probably not very good then if their speciality is not seafood”.
Another example here is if let's say you're proud to offer a lot of gluten-free options. That's an awesome feature to have but not everyone is going to appreciate it or care. We all have friends who have to eat gluten-free and know of all the great gluten-free spots in the city. And then, on the other hand, you can have people who don’t know what "gf" means on a menu.
So, the point is what you offer will matter to certain people and not matter at all to others. And that's good because it tells you exactly who your audience is and who you should be going after. So, outline your ideal customer because the rest of your branding and every social media post you make and blog etc should be created with that customer in mind.
Alright, now before we move on to step three, have you ever thought about how much you should invest in marketing to generate constant business growth? Click the button below to calculate the ideal marketing budget you should allocate for higher visibility, engagement, and profit.
How much should you invest in Digital Marketing?
Business Branding Step 3 - Determine Your Values
So, step three is to determine your values. What does your brand stand for?
You've written out your mission and specified who your business is for. Now you need to determine what values your business stands for. And if you're already kind of writing off this step as unimportant, you should know that 13% of consumers would pay 31 to 50% more for your products or services if they were under the impression that your business is making a positive impact on the world.
So, your customers care about what your brand's values are in this day and age. And if your customers care, so should you. A great example of this is Patagonia. They're a brand that sells a lot of clothing and equipment for outdoorsy things like fishing, hiking, etc.
One of their values is protecting the environment so they'll run sales where a percentage of the costs are donated to grassroots non-profits working on the front lines to protect our air, water, and soil for future generations. In your case. if you're a local business think about what issues need more awareness in your local community that you can draw attention to with your values.
And whether you're local or not, just ask yourself what you genuinely care about or are passionate about, and think about how you can interweave those values into your brand. Even if you don't have the means to be donating profits right now, you can at least lay the foundation of your values now to take action in the future.
Business Branding Step 4 - Determine What Makes You Unique
Now the next thing you'll need to do is determine what makes you unique. Again, this is probably another thing that will come naturally as a result of jotting down steps one and two. But you need to write down what makes you different. There are 5.8 million small businesses in the UK alone, so you're bound to have a few direct competitors, either nationally, internationally, or both.
And even if you think you don’t have direct competitors as you invented your product or service, there's still someone who is selling to the customer you want to be with the existing product or service that solves the same problem.
Your solution is different, but you still have competitors. So, that being said, you need to make a list of the things that make you unique. Why should people buy from you and why not your competitor?
You need to be able to answer this question because if you can't, your customers won't be able to either. And as a result, they will continue buying from the same other businesses. What makes your product or service different from the rest should Always be intertwined with your branding.
A common example of this is when we see household cleaning product lines that pride themselves on being nontoxic and having good healthy-safe ingredients. For us, they'll often have a green leafy natural-looking branding to their logo or graphics, because it promotes the thing that sets them apart. But we'll get more into that in the next step.
For this step, just answer the question; what makes you unique?
Business Branding Step 5 – Create A Brand Guide
Alright, now the last step is to create a brand guide depending on what you've done up to this point. You may have more or less to do in this step, but your brand guide essentially wraps everything you've written down up until this point into a visual representation.
So, here are a few things your brand guide will need to include: your logo and any variations of it, as well as when to use which version, your fonts and which are okay to use and where, such as headline, text paragraph, text, etc.
You'll also need to include your colours along with their hex codes. Choosing your colours is important because different colours make people feel different things. And using the right signature colour can increase brand recognition by 80%.
And we need all the brand recognition we can get, right? So, here is a link to our Colour Psychology Article that will help you understand the best colours to use to better positively impact your target audience.
We can't stress enough how important this part is. So, now if you already know what your logo is and your fonts and colours are, then you need to put all of this information together in a brand guide so that, as your team grows, you'll need to be able to quickly communicate what you need to be done and how it should look.
Having a brand guide will help ensure that no matter who creates what for your brand, it all looks cohesive. And this then helps with brand recall and making your brand recognisable.
This is important because brand consistency has been known to increase revenue by 33%. And the most efficient way to provide consistency is with a brand guide that everyone on your team has access to and knows to follow.
So, at this point, with all of the information and instructions, how are you feeling about branding your business? Pretty confident and ready to get started? Or, do you still feel a little apprehension about it? Let us know down in the comments and leave any questions you have for us there as well.
If you need help with your digital marketing to grow your business in terms of visibility, engagement, and profit, contact us today and speak with one of our digital marketing experts to see how we can build the bridge between the point you’re standing at right now and your goals.