You’ve already discovered Reasons to Building Your Brand. You understand how it can develop trust and authority without requiring a major investment. And you see how your brand could open up doors of opportunity that would otherwise be shut off to you.
But knowing the value of branding isn’t the same as knowing how to get your brand launched and growing. That’s why I’ve put together this guide that includes the five most important steps you need to take to get your brand off the ground and moving.
Step 1: Lay Your Branding Foundation
Before you start tweeting or shooting YouTube videos, you need to lay a foundation. The foundation of your brand will give you clarity and focus, so you can connect with the right audience in the right ways.
One of the most important things to remember about your brand is that you can’t fake it. If you try to build a brand that isn’t genuine, you will fail. The only way to create a consistent brand is by taking stock of where you are and amplifying the positive.
So, what does this look like in practice?
First, make a list of the core values and beliefs that are most important to you. If your business has a leader team, make the list based on the values and beliefs of the leadership team.
This could include anything from integrity or authenticity to family. These are the ideas that will drive your brand. And if you ever have a question about how to approach something, there’s a good chance that your core values will point the way. Or at least in a helpful direction.
Second, list your passions. What are the things that get you up in the morning? What keeps you going? What inspires you to persevere when it seems like the deck is stacked against you? Though brand creation seems fun (and it often is), there will inevitably be moments when you want to give up. By building your brand on something you’re passionate about, you’ll guard against despair.
Third, note any special skills, education, or experiences you have. And don’t assume that they have to be monumental. Most of us have unique talents and experiences that we don’t view as unique because they’re such a part of who we are. So, if you’re having a hard time coming up with anything, ask someone who knows you fairly well. There’s a good chance they’ll be able to offer some thoughts.
These lists of values, passions, and skills will help you craft a vision, mission, and voice that are uniquely you. Once you’ve settled on a clear mission for your brand, it’s time to refine and expand it.
Step 2: Connect with the Right Audience
Though it might seem counterintuitive, the best way to reach people is by limiting the people you attempt to reach. When you try to be all things to all people, no one will care. And that’s because everyone isn’t your target market.
If you’re going to build a successful brand, you need to niche down as narrowly as possible. Then, design your brand so it’s focused like a laser on the few rather than the many. When you do this, you may reach fewer people, but they’ll be more likely to connect with and follow you.
You may want to come up with a persona that you can use to represent your ideal client. Think about their demographics, their interests, and their values. Then, whenever you make a decision about your brand, remember that persona and ask yourself how they would perceive it. This is a simple way to keep everything about your brand focused on your mission.
Step 3: Develop Your Brand Story
Stories are compelling. They hit us at a visceral level. And they can convince us to act when boring statistics or facts can’t. That’s why brands that are built on a captivating story do so well.
Over the past several years, marketers have begun to realize the power of storytelling. If you want a brand that convinces people to make a purchase, you need to have an interesting brand story and message.
So, what does this look like?
First, take the target market profile you developed in the previous step and let it guide you. The people represented by your persona are the main characters of the story. You’re the guide. So think about what they want. What are their goals? Where do they want to be a year from now?
Then reflect on how you can guide them to their destination. What do you offer that will help them in their journey? Why should they choose you to lead them rather than a competitor?
Examples of good brand stories could give you valuable ideas on how to craft yours.
Once you’ve gotten clarity here, you can begin shaping everything around this story – from your brand photography to your brand graphic design, video productions, and everything in between.
Let your story be your guide.
Step 4: Create a Winning Brand Strategy
Now, you’re ready to craft a brand strategy that’s tailored for your target market. Make sure to use everything you’ve put together so far, including your brand story and your target market persona.
First, have a professional corporate headshot taken that you can implement across platforms, including on your website and across social media sites.
If you are a product based company, have a professional for your product photography so that you can stop people mid-scrolling and get their attention.
And make sure all your brand photography fits your brand’s voice and personality.
Second, hire a professional to create a logo and style sheet for your brand so you can keep the look and feel the same across platforms. This may include fonts, colors, designs, and other visual aspects of your brand.
Third, determine the best content to create. The kind of content you create will largely depend on your target market. Some demographics prefer blogs. Others will only consume your content if it’s in video form. And podcasts are the favorite media for still other people. So, figure out what kind of content your audience wants and develop a strategy that optimizes for it.
If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, check out some thought leaders currently in your niche (and in other niches). Note what they’re doing and try it out for yourself. So much of brand creation comes down to investing time and effort. So, don’t get discouraged if things don’t take off right away.