Building your brand is one of the most important steps in developing a new business. The number of small- and medium-sized businesses out there is growing exponentially — and you need to make sure your company is ahead of the pack. What differentiates your biz from the rest? And how will you communicate those factors to your prospects? One word — branding.
What is branding?
Some define branding as a “name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” (American Marketing Association). Others define branding as “the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decisions to choose one product or service over another.” (Seth Godin, author of ‘Linchpin’). However you define it, your company’s branding should convey an overall feeling and/or message for the products and services your offer. Many business owners make the mistake of thinking that branding can wait until things “settle down.” But here’s the truth — without branding, your company will be unable to ever get to that “settle down” point.
What it YOUR brand?
In determining what your brand is, start by asking yourself these questions: What makes my company stand out from my competitors? Why should a customer choose my company over others? What product or service do I offer to satisfy a need of my customer? The answers to these questions will serve as the building blocks to developing your brand. You want your brand to have value and act to draw in customers. If your brand sticks out to them, word-of-mouth affirmation will do wonders for your business.
Designing your brand.
So, you’ve established your brand. Now what? Now is the time to turn your branding dreams into a reality by using design work! By incorporating a visual aspect, it can evoke positive connections to your brand and your company. To put the importance of visual branding into perspective — some large corporations spend tens of millions of dollars on a branding campaign! This just proves that the power or good branding is undeniable and is the biggest builder of trust and credibility.
The earlier you start thinking about your brand, the better. With each decision you make, ask yourself if your branding elements will help customers learn about your business, convince them to spend that extra dollar on your products/services over your competitors’ and if they would recommend your business to their friends. If you can answer positively to all of these, you are on your way to building a successful brand.
What challenges did you run into when developing your brand identity? What other resources did you find helpful? We, along with other aspiring entrepreneurs, would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.