“When setting out to start a company you’ll quickly realize that to be successful you need to build a brand and beyond that, you’ll need to embark on the branding process.”
In late 2018, my business partner (Jessica Baker) and I set out to start a small business. Our business model at the time was up in the air but we knew that we wanted to sell donuts at events. We have since built out our brand and have named it NOLO Donut Cart, “a customizable donut cart for events of all kinds”. The branding process for us was full of revisions and is still something that we work on continuously in an effort to become better and more successful within our market.
So, what does it look like for you to enter into the branding process? How will you stand out in your marketing, customer service and experience, and overall company identity?
Let’s dive in to find out!
What Makes A Good Brand?
When I think of a good brand, I think of 3 things specifically:
- They have to have a great product! No matter what you’re doing or what industry you’re in the product has to be really great and customers have to love what you’re doing. If your product is terrible, people will notice right away, and it won’t matter how much you invest in your brand. You need to begin with a great product or service first.
- Image. With image, there are few different things that come to mind. For me, these things are a logo, website, social platforms, and product packaging and design. Making these aspects of your brand concise and clear is so important to the way that your business is perceived in the marketplace. Having a professional image will help drive business and help you stay fresh in potential customers minds.
- Customer service and customer experience. For some, this might seem like a no-brainer, but I can’t stress enough how important this is. Exposure is always a good thing unless of course, it’s coming in the form of bad reviews. So, don’t let there be any bad reviews, deliver on your promises for your customers and clients and they’ll deliver for you!
“Now there are a lot of different factors (not just three) that play into building a good brand and it is definitely a process that needs to be ongoing as your company is developing, growing, and aging.”
One thing to keep in mind is that although changes to your brand are good it is also helpful to make sure that you aren’t changing things just for change’s sake. Once you have established brand identity, it’s important to uphold that identity and support it with the content that you are putting out. That way, you begin to build brand equity and customers and potential customers begin to recognize you in the marketplace as credible and reliable.
If you’re in need of some consulting along the lines of branding and better understanding where you’re at in your niche, be sure to reach out to us for a free consultation!
Also, if you haven’t read our article on defining brand terms, be sure to check that out so you know what we’re referring to.
Breaking Down The Branding Process
You’re ready to start a brand, build a business, or refine what you’ve already built. How do you start?
Establish a Product
First, we need to establish your product or service. This is not always a simple step, however. My business partner and I took close to 3 months before we decided on what our product was going to be. Maybe this is a step that you’ve already accomplished or maybe it’s something that you need to look at a little closer as you refine your business model. My encouragement to you is to not be afraid to start small. Sometimes simplicity is best as you strive to build trust for what your business is able to provide.
Target Market and Audience
You’ve got your product and now it’s time to find out who your audience is. Who are you going to sell your product to? You most likely found out or thought of this as you were designing your product but it’s good to solidify what you’re already thinking in your head and write it down. Be sure you really know who you’re marketing to and don’t just guess or “sort of know”. One great way that I’ve found how to do this is to look at what audiences’ other businesses in your industry are targeting.
Research is so important, and I can’t stress enough how much researching your niche will pay off when you’re building your brand and growing your company. So, get at it and dive in! A great article that dives into these two things a little deeper is from Fresh Sparks. They advocate for a lot of research and industry scanning. We would concur.
This quote from Tailor Brands says it all:
“The goal is not just to be recognizable, but to be so closely identified with your company’s defining characteristic that you become known for it.”
Identity is incredibly important and is wrapped up in so many different things. From your website to social media. It’s not just images and graphics it’s the way you handle your products and interact with your customers.
Identity will set you apart from your competitors and from other businesses. A great way to start building an identity is establishing a moto, key phrase, or mission statement. Just a few weeks ago we published an article and the first bullet point was all about key phrasing. Check it out here!
Logo and Tagline
You’ve made it this far and it’s definitely time to start working on a logo for your business. If you’ve truly gone through the previous steps that I’ve laid out, you are probably closer to having a logo than you think. Be on the lookout for an article that we’ll be working on all about Logo design and in the meantime, here are two quick tips:
- Clear identity. It’s important for your logo to be clean, crisp, and on-point. There’s a lot of great examples out there and a really good one to look at is Apple. Their logo is clean, simple, and, wouldn’t you know, is an apple which makes it perfectly on-brand!
- Purposeful. While every company has its own niche, it’s going to be important that you know yours, when you do you will know what will best fit when it comes to fonts, colors, and even the possibility of animations and characters.
Taglines can also be an important and effective way to brand your company. Be sure to think through what your company is about and try to create a sentence or a short catchy one-liner that helps people remember what your company is all about. Here’s a quick read that can help you walk through the tagline creation process.
Your Voice Through It All
We’ve gone through and broken down the branding process and a little bit about what it means to create a company. From understanding what it means to establish a good brand to building a product, finding your audience, creating an identity, and establishing a good tagline and logo. This can be a crazy time, but it can also be one of the most exciting times for your business. You are designing your business’ personality and how people will perceive it!
As I wrap this article up, I want to leave you with one last piece of advice, that is, keep your voice through it all. The world will throw a million different things at you and everyone will try to give you input and alter your business to be what they think is best. But what I learned from my business partner is that it’s important to keep your voice and remember what you’re chasing after.
If you’re looking for more tips and tricks check out this article from Forbes that I really enjoyed while writing this article.
Cheers to your branding process 🥂
Cole Anderson is a student at North Central University where he studies music. As a music major, he is obviously very interested and talented in playing guitar and other forms of music. When he’s not studying, writing, or playing guitar, you can typically find him hanging out with his girlfriend Jessica or being a good person and helping someone in need (cause he’s just like that).
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