So you've decided to start a brand! That's great! But what exactly is a brand? People use the word all the time, but do they really know what it means? I'll be honest with you: when I first started my first business, I had no idea what branding was either. It sounded like some mysterious thing that would happen on its own. But after years of trial and error (and more than my fair share of failures), I've learned how important branding is for any business that wants to succeed online — whether you're selling physical goods or services like mine.
Most of us think that branding is a logo. Wrong!
Bad news: there are no shortcuts or hacks to creating a successful brand.
Good news: there are some simple steps you can take to help ensure your branding makes an impact and keeps your customers coming back for more.
Brand building is not just your logo on a business card. It's all about how you act, talk and serve your customers every day in every way possible. Branding begins with who you are as a business and the values you hold dear to your heart – what makes up who you are as a business? What do you stand for? How is your brand different than other companies in the same industry?
Once these questions have been answered then we can begin developing strategies on how to communicate those differences effectively through all aspects of our business practices from customer service interactions (phone calls, emails) through employee training programs to marketing materials such as social media ads, brochures or websites.
Your logo is not your brand but it’s part of it.
Your logo is the symbol of your brand. It’s one of the most important elements of your brand because it’s the first thing customers see.
The logo is not your brand, but it's part of it. The best brands have a logo that stands for something and makes people think differently about a product or service through its design, color or shape. For example, when someone sees Apple’s “fruit” symbol on an iPhone XS Max (which we all know as “the big phone from last year”), they instantly start to associate it with quality and innovation because these are qualities associated with Apple products since Steve Jobs came back in 1997.
Your brand should be consistent and should be able to reflect who you are and what you stand for or your values.
Consistency is key.
In order to make these things happen with consistency, there are some very basic elements of branding: logo design (including color palette), tagline creation, and useage/integration into all marketing materials (print & web), even down the way which physical business location looks like (building design). Brand consistency means keeping all these elements consistent at all times so that consumers will recognize them as part of one consistent brand experience across all mediums (online/offline).
The better your brand, the better the results.
A brand thrives off authenticity.
Branding is really about the essence of your business, what makes you different and why people should choose to do business with you. It's not easy to put into words but it's something that you know when it's right. Think about the brands that have stood the test of time - McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Nike - they all have strong identities that are immediately recognizable by their customers and potential customers alike. They don't just sell products or services; they sell values as well as products or services.
You can't be authentic if your brand isn't authentic! A brand needs to reflect who you are as an individual or company so that people know what they're getting when they come across one of your marketing materials such as social media posts (or maybe even encounter someone wearing one of your t-shirts). What kind of language do people use when talking about something? Do they use slang terms? Who would be offended if someone said out loud what another person wrote down on paper? Your goal should always be making sure everything reflects who YOU are/want TO BE rather than trying too hard at being someone else entirely--that could lead others astray without realizing it until much later down the road...
So, what's the takeaway?
Branding is the first step in creating a business or company. A brand is what people remember when they think about you and your product or service. If you have a bad brand, it’s hard for people to trust you and buy from you again in the future. If branding isn't important to you right now, then don't worry! You can always come back later when your business has grown bigger than just an idea on paper.