Sometimes branding or creating a brand can feel a like a daunting task. Most business owners know that branding is important, but they usually put it on the back burner to all other business-building activities, which could end up costing you time and money in the long run.
With D-I-Y strategies you might be dabbling with will likely end up inconsistent and confusing and won’t help in growing your business. On top of that, you will end up spending your resources trying to refine and recreate things, so that they work better for your business.
Before you try to gain momentum with your marketing efforts, you need to build the foundation of your business first. And, this is done with the creation of your brand. If you build your brand the right way it can serve as the groundwork for massive growth in your business. But when building a brand feels so overwhelming in the beginning, where do you start?
Let’s dive in with these three steps:
Step One: Get clear on your brand foundation
Brand strategy is the first part of my process because everything else will stem from this. The foundation of your business defines things like your target audience, positioning, and messaging.
Skipping ahead to marketing before defining your brand is the most common mistake I see entrepreneurs make. I’m not talking about the logo and graphics that go along with your brand here. I am strictly talking about the foundational strategy of your brand. Design plays a pivotal role in the growth and success of any business. But it’s about more than just the design, it’s about the strategy behind that design and how you visually communicate that with your audience. Without the strategy, your brand and website won’t do any good, no matter how beautiful they are.
Step Two: Create an elevated experience
Only after you have a fully developed brand strategy you can create the next part of your brand – your brand identity. A brand identity is made up of two main components: the visual part – logo, color palette, typography style, and photography style, and the voice part – your tone, voice, and communication style.
Most business owners skip straight to this part because it feels easier than tackling the strategy. It’s more fun to pick out your colors and fonts, so who wouldn’t want to do the fun part first. But in reality, you could spend a lot of time and money developing a pretty brand that might not communicate the right message to the right person.
Without a solid brand strategy in place, there is nothing to guide the design process. Instead of picking fonts, colors, and style based on current trends, try making those decisions based on who you are trying to reach, what you are trying to say, and how you want to build your brand. The strategy establishes the direction and goals of your brand and your identity is how you begin to execute it.
Your business will be more confident that the design will effectively communicate the right message and look good at the same time.
Step Three: Develop a clear marketing strategy
The last step in building your brand is to execute your brand through marketing platforms to influence your ideal clientele, position your brand the right way, generate more leads, and monetize your services and products.
This is when you’ll create your website, email marketing, collateral, etc. that clearly communicates your brand strategy using the brand visuals and bringing it full circle.
Remember, your website is an extension of your team, your brand identity and the main marketing piece that will layout your brand strategy clearly and concisely for your audience.
The same can be said for any marketing collateral that you create for your business. When you create these pieces with the right strategy behind it, you get much better results.
Below is a checklist for the essential elements of a strong brand. Do you have all of these elements in place?
- Brand Strategy
- Target audience
- Customer Journey
- Brand Identity
- Logo variations
- Color palette
- Font palette
- Brand marks and emblems
- Brand patterns
- Brand photography
- Brand Marketing
- Lead generation
- Sales funnels
- Social media
- Email marketing
- Content marketing
So, the next time you think about your brand, just remember that it is simpler than it seems. While creating an intentional brand takes a lot of time and thought – it shouldn’t be thrown together AND it doesn’t have to be overwhelming either.
When you build your brand in this order, you can more effectively create a brand that lasts and grows with your business. If you skip around and piece it together randomly, you’ll likely end up with an inconsistent and confusing brand that you’ll struggle to grow because there is no clearly defined foundation or connection between it all.