Do people know who you are and what you offer? Does your business stand out from the crowd? What do people know about your products or services?
Customers look for trustworthiness, creativity, intelligence, authenticity, and confidence in the businesses they work with, with trustworthiness at the top of the list with 31%. If you aren’t portraying these characteristics, or people don’t know anything about you, you haven’t established your brand.
What is Branding?
Your brand is how you connect with your customers. It includes many aspects:
- Business philosophy
- Colors and fonts
- Emotional connections created
These different aspects of branding help you create awareness about your products or services. This brand awareness helps people feel they know you, what you stand for, and how you can help them.
Infographic by- Invesp
Your brand gives your business personality.
What is a Brand Personality?
Your brand personality comes down to the emotional connection you have with your audience. This involves your brand niche and your understanding of your target audience. It is the story you create around your business.
Discovering Your Brand Niche
As you consider how to represent your brand, it helps to use journaling. Think of the words you associate with your products or services. You want to consider words that create an emotional connection.
When creating your branding niche, ask yourself questions.
- What do you say to describe your products/services?
- How does it solve problems? How would people use it?
- What emotional response do people have with your products/services?
- What makes your business stand out from others?
These questions help you determine what you already convey to customers and what message you want associated with your business.
Understanding Your Target Audience
Understanding your audience goes hand-in-hand with creating your niche. Once you have an idea on your message, you want to consider who you want to reach. This will help you fine-tune your branding.
Start with how your products/services solve problems. Understanding the problems you can help with is the first step to figuring out who your target audience is.
You also want to consider the emotional response. This goes beyond needs to wants. What do people want from your business?
Consider how people use your products/services and what makes it stand out from other options. Once you answer these questions, create a fictional character.
Think of the demographics of your target audience.
- Economic status
- Job/Career status
- Marital and child status
- Sex of customers (if applicable)
Get as detailed as possible when creating your customer avatar. Think of everything you can that makes them the ideal customer for your business. What words and associations are important to this ideal customer?
Once you understand your target audience, compare this to your current branding. Make sure you make your message correlate to what your avatar wants.
Create the Brand
Why do your niche and target audience matter? Understanding who and what helps you create the branding materials that will appeal.
Looking at this image, what do you expect the business wants to convey? Chances are, this image is for people in the cooking industry or home cooks. The business would use this image to convey creativity in the kitchen.
This isn’t something you’d use for the busy executive who rarely eats at home. No emotional connection would get created in that instance.
Branding goes beyond images. You want to use colors and fonts that will capture your target audience’s attention and create appropriate emotional responses.
Fonts like this would create an emotional connection with small children, but wouldn’t have any response from a teenager. The colors work in the same way.
Consider the color combinations here. These colors could appeal to women and girls, especially teenage age.
Individually these aspects have emotional appeal to different groups. Combining these different types of elements helps you narrow in on your target audience. It’s a matter of combining in the right ways.
Your business logo combines these different elements to create a graphic that customers can associate with your business. I’ll use my logo as an example.
My logo is based on a play in my name and sharing a journey. Penny Layne is my name, but also a street name. My business motto is sharing my work-at-home journey with you. This graphic was created to emphasize that journey mentality.
The colors were chosen to go with this theme. Also, my brand is useful to both male and female, so I wanted to use neutral colors. I chose fonts that create a business feel, without seeming too formal.
Make sure you consider what your logo looks like. You’ll want to use the elements in this logo for your marketing materials. You’ll use the colors and fonts in other areas to help establish recognition.
Every business needs a tagline. This is a simple statement that explains what you do and who your business is for.
Think of the words that can help you describe your business.
- Are you planning to market to consumers or businesses?
- Are your products for adults, teens, or children?
- What feelings do you want to convey to your customers?
Check out some examples to help you understand.
Dollar Shave Club- Shave Time. Shave Money.
Maybelline- Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline.
M&M- Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.
Mastercard- There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard.
These taglines give you an idea of what the company is about while creating emotional appeal. This isn’t the slogan, but a creative way to help people remember your product or service.
You can also create a slogan at this time. This is your mission statement as a business. This tells exactly what the business provides and for who. The tagline and slogan go hand-in-hand.
Using Your Branding
Once you have your branding established, you’ll want to use it for your website, your social media sites, and your marketing materials. Any graphics or articles you create should include your branding, especially the logo.
You’ll want to use the color schemes and related fonts to create visuals for marketing. You’ll want to use the description words you come up with in your ad copy.
Any time you create new products, you’ll want to use those same logos, color schemes and fonts. This helps create recognition across your business. Do the same for contracts or other forms used in a service business.
Make sure the branding is useful as your business grows. Your branding isn’t for individual products, but for the overall business.
You know the Starbucks logo. If you see this logo in the coffee shop, on the streets, or in grocery stores where they now sell products, you know what you’re buying. You don’t even need the business name to know who this logo belongs to.
This is the point of branding. You create customer recognition and build a community around your business. This helps add value to your business. Branding also makes it easier for people to share your business with others, which creates more brand awareness.
Planning Your Business
In a perfect world, you’ll create your business branding when you create your business plan. Sometimes, you need to change things up if your current brand isn’t working though.
These changes could mean you need to take a second look at your overall plans. If this is the case, check out the business plan journal to help you create a stand-out business.