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A Guide for Business Owners on How to Brand Your Business

Someone who doesn't know the McDonald's golden arches, Apple's bitten apple, or Nike's swoosh logo would be hard to find. People easily connect these brand logos to their industries, such as fast food, technology, and sporting goods. From McDonald's "feel-good" food to Nike's high-performance innovations, the message is clear and on point. Even though each one stands for something different, they all share the basic rules of strong branding: know your target audience, build customer loyalty, and give your brand a voice, personality, and core values. Making a strong brand is a key part of building a successful business, no matter how small.   brand    

What is branding?

Branding is giving products, services, and other public-facing materials a clear and consistent name so that customers can recognize them right away (and the larger public). Think of branding as the business card for your company. It sets your business apart from those of your rivals. Good versions of it make a clear and powerful promise that is shared across all of the brand's assets. Some parts of a strong brand are:
  • Logo.  This is the visual identity of your company. It shows what the company does and what it stands for. It can be a mix of symbols, brand colors, and other ways to recognize a brand, and it may be the first thing a customer notices.
  • Company name. A unique name that is easy to say and spell and goes well with your logo to show new and old customers what your company is about and what it sells.
  • Tagline. A tagline is an easy-to-remember phrase that describes your company's mission. A slogan, on the other hand, is a powerful phrase that describes your product.
  • Voice or tone.  Your company's brand voice tells your target customers about your values and reaches out to them in a way that will resonate with them and help them remember your brand.
A good brand attracts potential customers, builds brand loyalty, and can even charge more than competitors.  

Five Benefits of having a Strong Brand

Many small businesses start out by making something new or offering something new. But there are clear benefits to making a good brand and putting it to use early.  

1. Stands out from the competition

Having something that makes your company stand out from similar companies can be the difference between getting a new customer and losing their interest.  

2. It builds trust

A well-known brand with good reviews sells more because people trust it. Getting people to trust your brand helps your bottom line. Nielsen, a company that measures and analyzes audiences, says that 85% of consumers' purchases in more than 80 categories were of brands they already knew. 22% of consumers said they were afraid to try a new brand.  

3. Encourages customers to stay loyal

What does loyalty mean for businesses? More repeat sales and less "churn," which is another word for customers leaving. Customers who trust your business are more likely to stick with you, which increases the value of your brand, or brand equity. They are less likely to cancel and sign up again, which means they are more likely to keep spending at your store or site.  

4. Attracts talent

Strong brands not only bring in customers but also qualified workers who see the brand as stable and trustworthy. Those who have a great product but a bad employer brand, such as reviews of bad work environments or CEOs with bad reputations, have to work harder to attract talent and may also lose potential customers who don't think the company's values match their own.

Increases revenue

A strong brand can help a company's bottom line because it can lead to repeat sales, customer loyalty, and steady business. In 2022, the top brands on the Prophet Brand Relevance Index brought in 133% more money than the S&P 500.  

In Eight Steps, Here's How to Build a Brand for your Business

Now that you know what makes a brand strong, where do you begin? There are eight steps to building a business brand:

1. Know your goals

Companies often set brand goals on top of product goals like "make the best gluten-free pancake mix" or "invent and make a windshield wiper that doesn't leave streaks." For example, a business might want to keep customers longer or make a high-quality brand that can charge more than the competition. A brand strategy can be built on knowing your own goals for building your brand.

2. Know your target audience

Understanding your target customer is key to making a brand that resonates with them. Part of this process is marketing your business through the channels they use, like social media and email newsletters. By doing market research, you can find out what your customers like and how they like to get their information. By surveying your current customers, you can find out what they want or what bothers them, as well as who they might buy from instead of you.

3. Set up your unique value proposition

A unique value proposition, or UVP, is your product's competitive advantage. It describes how your product or service solves your customers' problems better than the competition. Companies with a unique value proposition know who their competitors are, why their customers buy from them, and what they can offer that their competitors can't. A unique selling proposition (USP) isn't just a list of features; it's a short explanation of how the brand is different and valuable.

4. Recognize your core values

Research done by The Harris Poll for Google Cloud shows that customers are more likely to buy from companies that care about social issues, have a clear mission, and have values that match their own. Putting your core values on your website not only shapes the culture of your company but also affects how customers or investors feel about your brand.

5. Create a voice for your brand

Voice is a brand's unique personality and how the business interacts with its customers. A brand voice makes it easier for people to connect, form communities, and build trust and loyalty. To develop a brand voice, companies must know their customers (and potential customers) by making a "buyer persona." This is a made-up customer that a company comes up with by looking at their demographics, where they live, and what they buy. Some companies even make a style guide to spell out exactly what words, tones, and styles they will use in all their communications. Your brand's voice could be bold and charismatic or formal and inspiring. Once you know your unique selling proposition (USP) and core values, you can use this voice to tell your brand's story through content marketing, digital marketing, and social marketing.

6. Make assets for your brand

These are the brand's colors, logos, fonts, packaging, slogans, and other things that customers see and feel about the brand. Some companies use color theory, like McDonald's, which knows that red makes you want to eat. Others focus on what you can do with their product, like how the Nike swoosh makes you think of speed. A logo and slogan that is easy to remember to make the brand easy to recognize, which makes customers trust the brand.

7. Make yourself more visible

Once you know who your customers are, you need to know who your competitors are, and what your values are, and make a strong logo and other assets that people will remember. You can make people more aware of your brand assets by using them in social media, advertising, and written communication. Search engine optimization (SEO) is another way for companies to make their site more visible and get more people to visit them.

8. Strengthen the brand

Strong brands usually have brand guidelines that tell employees how to talk about the brand in a consistent way. This helps raise awareness of the brand and makes it stronger in the eyes of its target audience. Companies with strong brands use their logos and other assets in all of their communications and always deliver on what they promise about their brand. This helps customers connect a company's logo and slogan with the quality and uniqueness they've been advertising.

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