How To Build Your Own Brand
It’s difficult to create a unique brand from scratch. How should it appear? What emotions should it evoke in viewers? Will my intended audience find it appealing?
When you begin to consider how to link the dots between what you’re selling and who you’re attempting to reach, questions like these unavoidably arise. To get started, you might look at our article on how to launch a business.
What you need to know about creating a powerful brand identity for your company, whether you’re starting from scratch or want to make changes to your current branding design.
What is a brand?
A brand isn’t just a recognizable name and brand logo that distinguishes you in a crowded market.
Your brand is how people perceive you wherever they interact with your business—both the impressions you can control and the ones you can’t.
If you stop to consider it, humans also have personal brands. Each of us has a name, a face, a communication style, and other characteristics that help us leave distinct impressions on different individuals.
Similar to people, companies have names, goods, logos, colours, fonts, voices, and reputations that contribute to who they are and how people perceive them.
Without being consistent and upholding that consistency as you extend your brand to every aspect of your organisation, you cannot effectively approach brand creation. The ideal method to develop a brand is to first decide how that consistency will look and what emotions you want it to arouse.
How to build a brand
Building a new brand essentially boils down to seven steps:
- Research your target audience and your competitors.
- Pick your focus and personality.
- Choose your business name.
- Write your slogan.
- Choose the look of your brand (colours and font).
- Design your brand logo.
- Apply your branding across your business.
While you may go over some steps again as you pivot or build your brand, it’s crucial that you think about each one as you develop your brand identity.
Let’s start by laying the groundwork to inform how to build your business brand.
How do you create a successful brand?
In this video, you’ll learn the six steps to building a meaningful, recognizable brand for your online business.
1. Research your target audience and your competitors
Understand the present market, including your potential clients and rivals, before you begin making judgments about how to build a business brand.
There are many ways to do this step of how to make a brand:
- Google your product or service category and analyse the direct and indirect competitors that come up.
- Check subreddits that relate to your customers and eavesdrop on their conversations and product recommendations.
- Talk to people who are part of your target market and ask them what brands they buy from in your space.
- Look at the relevant social media accounts or pages your target audience follows and are receptive to.
- Go shopping online or offline and get a feel for how your customers would browse and buy products.
As you go about your research, make a note of:
- Who your “lowest hanging fruit” customers are—the ones you could most easily sell to.
- Who your top-of-mind competitors are—the brands that are established and known in the market.
- How your customers speak and what they talk about—the interests they have and the language they express them in.
Before continuing, it’s critical to have a firm grasp on this because it will guide your brand’s emphasis and help it stand out from rivals.
2. Pick your focus and personality
You can’t establish your brand to be everything to everyone, especially at the start.
It’s important to find your focus and let that inform all the other parts of your brand as you build it.
Here are some questions and branding exercises to get you thinking about the focus and tone of your brand.
What’s your positioning statement?
A positioning statement is a sentence or two that asserts your position in the industry. This is merely to assist you in building your brand’s slogan and in helping you to answer the proper questions about your brand; it is not necessarily something you put on your website or business card.
Your unique value proposition is the one thing you’re competing on. Find it, go in on it, and make it a part of your brand’s messaging.
As an alternative, you can write this down as a mission statement that makes a clear promise to your clients or to the world if the business you intend to create has a cause at its core (for example, if you’re launching a social enterprise).
What words would you associate with your brand?
Imagine your brand as a person to help you understand how to develop your brand. What kind of person would that be? What kind of personality would your customers be attracted to?
This will help inform your voice on social media and the tone of all your creative, both visual and written.
Pitching three to five adjectives that represent the kind of brand that might resonate with your audience is a fun and helpful exercise for learning how to develop a new brand. I put together this list of qualities to aid you in starting.
What metaphors or concepts describe your brand?
You can find the distinctive features you want your brand identity to have by personifying it or thinking of it as a metaphor.
This can be a car, a pet, a famous person, a sports team, or anything else as long as it has a well-known reputation in your mind that conjures the mood you want your brand to evoke.
For instance, you may opt to use the raccoon as a starting point if you want to build your brand targeting business owners: They’re resourceful survivors who would do whatever to survive.
If your brand identity was an animal, what animal would it be and why is it like that animal to you?
3. Choose your business name
“A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet. But Nike by another name would be seen on fewer feet.”
Shakespeare (sort of)
What’s a name worth? You can argue that your name matters a lot or a lot less depending on the type of business you intend to launch.
A brand is much more than just a name, as we’ve already stated. What gives your brand identity’s name true market meaning are its character, deeds, and reputation.
However, one of the first significant decisions you must make as a small business owner is likely the name of your enterprise. If you want to go that route, it will have an impact on your brand name, logo, domain, marketing strategy, and trademark registration (it’s more difficult to register a trademark for generic brand names that directly reflect what you sell).
The ideal store name is one that’s challenging to copy and even more challenging to associate with other competitors. Instead of picking a brand name based on your product category, think about keeping your business name general if you have any future intentions to expand the product lines you sell.
You can use our business name generator to brainstorm some names, or try one (or a combination) of the following approaches:
- Make up a word, like Pepsi.
- Reframe an unrelated word,likeApple for computers.
- Use a suggestive word or metaphor, likeBuffer.
- Describe it literally (caution: easy to imitate),like The Shoe Company.
- Alter a word by removing letters, adding letters, or using Latin endings, likeTumblr (Tumbler) or Activia.
- Create an acronym from a longer name,like HBO (Home Box Office).
- Combine two words: Pinterest (pin + interest) or Snapple (snappy + apple)
Be sure to look around to see what is available before settling on a domain name because your brand name will also effect the domain/URL of your website. Visit our article on picking a suitable company name, or use our tools to find some domain name inspiration or check for availability (whois lookup). Visit our domain name registration tool after that.
If for no other reason than to ensure that it doesn’t have an unexpected meaning or is too similar to something else that you could have missed, it is also a good idea to run your name past a focus group of close friends.
4. Write a slogan
A snappy slogan is a nice-to-have item that you can use as a tagline in your social media bios, website header, bespoke business cards, and anywhere else where you have limited space to create a great impression.
Remember that you can always alter your phrase when you discover new marketing opportunities; Pepsi has had over 30 different slogans over the previous few decades.
A strong tagline increases brand awareness by being brief, memorable, and memorable. Here are some ideas about how to approach creating your own slogan:
- Stake your claim. Death Wish Coffee: “The World’s Strongest Coffee”
- Make it a Metaphor. Redbull: “Redbull gives you wings.”
- Adopt your customers’ attitude. Nike: “Just do it.”
- Leverage labels. Cards Against Humanity: “A party game for horrible people.”
- Write a rhyme. Folgers Coffee: “The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup.”
- Describe it literally. Aritzia: “Women’s fashion boutique.”
For inspiration, use our slogan generator or draw from your positioning statement to come up with possible one-word summaries of your company.
5. Choose the look of your brand (colours and font)
Once you’ve settled on a name, you should consider your brand design, including your colour scheme and typography, to determine how you will visually represent your company. When you start using a website builder to create your own website, this will be useful.
Choosing your colours
In addition to defining your brand’s visual identity, colours can also assist you convey the sentiment you want to convey and maintain consistency throughout all of your activities. In order to prevent misleading customers, you should pick colours that set you apart from your immediate competition.
Even though colour psychology isn’t a precise science, it does influence your decisions, particularly when choosing the colour for your brand’s logo.
This infographic offers a nice overview of the emotions and associations that different colours generally evoke.
It is crucial to take into account how readable white and black text will be over your chosen colour scheme as well as how colourful text may appear against white and black backgrounds. To come up with a palette of complementary hues, try using a program like Colours. Grab the hex codes to have on hand, then look through the many shades to select your favourite.
Choosing your fonts
At this point, it’s also good to look at fonts you might want to use on your website.
When it comes to fonts, keeping things basic is the greatest way to establish a brand. To prevent confusing visitors, choose no more than two fonts: one for headings and one for body copy (this does not include the font your company logo may be in).
You can use Font Pair to browse from a wide selection of fonts that go well together.
For inspiration, use Stylify.me on your favourite websites to see their visual style at a glance.
One of the first things that undoubtedly comes to mind when you consider creating a new brand is a brand logo design. And for good reason—after all, it serves as the public face of your business and may be seen wherever your brand is present.
The ideal logo for your brand should be distinct, recognisable, and scalable to work at all sizes (something often overlooked).
Think of all the locations where your company’s logo must appear, including your website, Facebook page, YouTube channel banner, and even the tiny “favicons” you see in the current browser tab.
It will be nearly impossible to read if, for example, your Instagram avatar is a text logo. Create a square version of your brand logo with an icon element that is still recognizable at smaller sizes to make your life easier.
Notice how the Walmart logo has both the “sparks” icon and the wordmark, which can be used separately.
The following are some of the several logo types you can select to assist you in working with designers and discovering a look that makes sense and will support the development of your
Abstract: Google Chrome
business. Make sure the fonts and colours you selected complement your logo and help to represent your brand.
An abstract brand logo has some significance, but it’s basically just a shape and some colours that are difficult to connect to anything in the outside world.
The advantage of an abstract logo is that you may invent this meaning yourself and make it come to life in your clients’ minds.
Characters’ faces frequently serve as the basis for mascot logos. Be aware that they are a bygone style nowadays and are only advised in select situations (for example, if you’re purposefully trying for a retro look). Despite the fact that they may humanise your business by developing a distinctive and relatable brand identity or personality.
Emblem logos frequently have a circular shape and pair text with an emblem for a brash and opulent brand appearance. However, if the design is excessively intricate, they may lose some of their effect when reduced in size. But when done well, they can have a significant impact on the creation of brands and result in a distinctive logo design.
The initials of your whole company name are transformed into a brand logo by lettermark logos. This is a style you might want to think about if your idea for a business name has three words or more, especially if the initialism is memorable.
Your brand is visualised as an icon in an icon logo. An icon logo, as opposed to an abstract one, makes a statement about the product (for example, Twitter’s bird symbolises the platform’s frequent brief “tweets”).
You should avoid employing an icon logo alone if you are a new brand attempting to increase brand recognition. If you’re unsure of the type of brand logo you want, though, combining an icon logo and a wordmark is typically a good bet.
Wordmark logos make your company’s name, logotype, and colours stand out. The issue with wordmarks is that they are frequently challenging to design in a square format that can be scaled down without losing legibility.
However, you can easily solve this issue by adding a coordinating icon logo or making the wordmark’s first letter into a distinct but related logo, as Facebook did with its F.
Because of the limitations that exist for each logo type, many logos are a combination of styles.
You don’t have to pick between an icon and a wordmark when you believe they are both necessary to represent your brand since a combination logo enables you to obtain the best of both worlds as a new small business experimenting with the best way to establish a brand and logo. This makes it simpler to fulfil the requirement of developing a scalable logo while maintaining the prominence of your business name. For instance, McDonald’s may utilise its recognizable golden arches anyplace that doesn’t accommodate its entire wordmark.
You’ll likely be hiring a designer to create your brand logo unless you have design skills of your own. On Fiverr, you can hire someone to do it cheaply, or you can hold a logo competition on 99Designs.
Use our Watchful logo creator to begin coming up with concepts, or visit Seek Logo for even more logo inspiration. There is also our in-depth guide on creating a logo, in which we take you step-by-step through the procedure.
7. Apply your branding across your business
By using your branding throughout your company, you may create a unified brand narrative. A brand story encapsulates the essence of your company and its values. Every customer engagement with your brand, both in-person and online, is set up by this.
Shopify observed that when people are making their first online purchase, they frequently check for the mission and purpose of the company to determine whether they share any values with the company (e.g., sustainability). For more information about the company they are purchasing from and, for more socially concerned clients, how the company is run, they will visit its About Us page. Share your company’s brand story if you have one, since it helps convince them that you are a trustworthy vendor.
When building a new brand, your positioning statement can get you started, but you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions for your brand story:
- What motivated me to start my business?
- Why does the company exist?
- How do we contribute to the world?
- What is the story behind my business the customer should know?
Not every firm has a mission, but if you build your brand around a mission or set of principles, tell your customers about it and share your brand story. Take a look at the companies TOMS and Coca-Cola; the first is a brand with a clear objective, the latter less so.
The mission of TOMS, a manufacturer of shoes and accessories, is to “change lives.” One for One, TOMS’ inaugural charity endeavour, distributes shoes to kids in need. More recently, TOMS has started contributing to the COVID-19 Global Giving Fund as well as other humanitarian causes. When a customer buys something from TOMS, they may feel good about it since they support the cause that the purchase supports.
Coca-Cola, a well-known soft drink company on a global scale, doesn’t have a clear social or environmental objective, but it successfully connects to its target audience through branding that emphasises bringing people together to enjoy fun, enjoyment, and connection. If a customer enjoys a Coca-Cola product with their pals, they may feel more socially connected to their friends or loved ones afterward.
There is plenty that brand-new business entrepreneurs may learn from Coca-Cola. It provides wonderful instances of brand marketing using enduring styles, familiar colours, images, and fonts.
Whether or whether focusing on a purpose is the ideal strategy to establish a brand for you, the main thing is to provide the customer a story they can tell about your company.
Evolve your brand as you grow
The process of developing a brand does not end with the creation of a logo, tagline, or even with your launch of brand awareness. Anywhere your clients contact with you, from the design of your website to the promotional materials you create to how you package and ship your goods, your brand needs to be present and consistent.
As you expose more customers to your brand, learn more about your target audience, and develop effective communication strategies, you’ll continue to mould and evolve its style and identity.
It’s important to appreciate that you will never have 100% control over how people perceive your brand identity.
Make a strong first impression, steer customers in the correct path, and manage your reputation, but you can’t influence the unique perceptions that each person has (say, if they had a bad customer service experience).
All you can do is strive to connect with your core audience while always putting your best foot forward. But perhaps you now have the means, information, and assets necessary to begin.