Your brand is the foundation for everything in your business. With a solid foundation in place, your business is prepped for unstoppable growth. Having a clearly-defined, well-thought brand can make a big difference when trying to market and grow your business.
But if you don’t do it the right way, it might not be as effective. If your brand is pieced together randomly and inconsistently over time, it will come across to your audience and potential clients.
Instead of jotting down some notes and throwing together a pretty design, let’s think about it differently.
Following these 3 steps to build your brand, you’ll more likely end up with a strong foundation that will act as the groundwork for incredible growth in your business.
Step 1: Get clear on the foundation of your brand.
Brand strategy is the first part of my process because everything else will stem from this. This is the foundation of your business, and it defines things like your target audience, positioning, and messaging. You might already have a business strategy and a marketing strategy, but what connects those two together is a brand strategy.
Here’s the breakdown of the terms:
A business strategy details the vision, mission, and long-term objectives of the business. Whereas branding is strategic, marketing strategy is more tactical. Marketing is actively promoting and selling a product or service, and it’s about putting the right product/service in the right place, at the right price, at the right time. And finally, the brand strategy exists to enable, express, and bring the business strategy to life. Therefore, branding is the expression of the essence of your business and communicates the characteristics, values, and attributes, how it is positioned differently from competitors, and why a customer would buy it.
So skipping ahead to marketing before defining your brand is the most common mistake I see entrepreneurs make. Now I’m not talking about the logo and graphics that accompany 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, and 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.
Before you try to put all your time and effort into designing your brand and marketing your business, you need to start here so that the designs you create and the marketing you do will make more sense and be more effective.
Step 2: Create an elevated online presence.
After you have fully developed your brand strategy, you can start creating the next part of your brand – your brand identity. A brand identity comprises two main components: the visual part like your logo, color palette, typography style, and photography style, and the voice part like your tone, manner, voice, and communication style.
Most business owners skip straight to this part because it feels easier than tackling the strategy. 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. Your brand strategy helps create your brand identity because it gives you something to start with. Instead of picking fonts, colors, and styles based on current trends or your personal favs, you are 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.
With a strategy-based brand design, you can be more confident that the design will effectively communicate the right message and look good at the same time.
Step 3: Develop a clear marketing strategy that generates visibility.
The last step in building your brand is to execute your brand through marketing to influence the right people, generate more leads, monetize your services and products, and position your brand the right way.
So now that you have your brand strategy well defined and your brand identity designed, you can put all those pieces together in your marketing. This is when you’ll create your website, email marketing, collateral, etc., that clearly represents and communicates your brand strategy using the brand visuals and bringing it full circle.
Sometimes people will jump straight into a website because they think they need an online presence to succeed. While it is true that having a website is essential for any online business, you can’t just throw it together and expect it to make millions either. Trust me. I’ve tried.
Your website is an extension of your brand identity and the main marketing piece that will lay out your brand strategy clearly and concisely for your audience. In the beginning, you might have a simple website that gets your business out there and gives you a starting point, but this will only last so long. Eventually, you need to bring it all together and connect it with your brand strategy to make sense and do what you need to do to grow your business.
The same can be said for any marketing piece you create for your business. When you create these pieces with the right strategy behind it, you get much better results.
The next time you think about your brand and are scared of it, just remember that it is simpler than it seems. While creating an intentional brand takes a lot of time and thought and shouldn’t be thrown together, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming and daunting either.
When you build your brand in this order, you can create a brand that lasts and grows with your business more effectively. Suppose 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.
Now that you know the process for building an intentional brand, it’s time to get to work. Here’s what you need to do now:
- Evaluate your current brand
- Clarify and strengthen your foundation (check out this workbook)
- Elevate your online presence and visuals
- Establish a solid marketing strategy to execute for growth