You have probably heard about branding and know that it is an important piece of any business, large or small. From the Nike swoosh to the McDonald’s golden arches, branding is all around us. Even when we may not realize it.
Branding is an emotional feeling about a company that not only makes people recognize your business when they see it, but creates trust.
Without a branding-building system in place, you’re unable to differentiate yourself from every other business that offers a similar product or service. This means that anyone can just come along and take your audience/customers- if you have not built your brand that your people recognize and trust.
How do you want to be perceived
The first step in branding is to figure out what people like-and don’t like- about your business. If you are just starting out, what do you like about other businesses you would want to emulate?
Identify your competitors
Identify direct competitors in your research by searching directly for the problems you want to solve online. Who else is answering those questions. This will help you find elements that are working well AND keep you from doing something to similar, which could make it confusing to your audience.
Analyze current trends
When you are creating your brand you want to look at patterns of information that can help predict future events. Small businesses can set up Google Alerts to look up keywords for over time, or use Trend Hunter for aggregated data.
*It is important to remember that even though trends are important they shouldn’t be your only concern or determining factor.
Determine what sets you apart from other brands.
What makes you different? There is only one you, so use that to your advantage. As Dolly Parton said “Find out who you are and do it on purpose.”
Plan your visual assets & elements.
Make sure that you are keeping your audience (and the way you will be using your visuals) in mind when planning. For example, you may have an audience that needs a large, clear font for optimal user experience. Or maybe you have a largely male audience, you would probably want to steer clear of extremely feminine visual assets.
Now it’s time to put all of these pieces of branding into action. To help you with that I have included my branding workbook.
What other elements of branding would you add?