If you have a million-dollar idea, chances are you’ve daydreamed about building your own brand and the profit potential that could follow once you’ve established your business. The very definition of the American Dream, building a brand, being your own boss and achieving financial security is the ultimate goal. However, very few people successfully bring their brand to market due to one reason – not following the appropriate steps from concept to launch. Following are the 5 critical steps you need to take when building your own brand, to ensure all your hard work pays off in the end.
1. Understand the meaning and purpose of a “brand.”
While a commonly-used term, many aspiring entrepreneurs assume they understand what a brand is — while in reality they’re confusing “brand” with “business.” Your brand is how you differentiate yourself in the marketplace, understanding that you’ll likely face competition. Your brand is how you identify your business and how it’s different than similar offerings. It includes such things as:
Your brand is how customers will relate to you. For example, a company focused on beauty or personal care products for women is going to have a more feminine vibe to appeal to its target audience — with soft tones, casual copywriting and an eye towards aesthetically-pleasing packaging. A tech company, on the other hand, will establish a brand that is modern, direct in its content-writing, and designed to convey forward-thinking innovation.
2. Identify Your Audience
While identifying a unique product or service concept is critical, understanding your target audience is just as important. Very few companies survive by blanket-marketing anyone who will pay attention to their message, while successful brands identify their ideal market and strategically develop campaigns with those people in mind. Ask yourself who your product or service will best serve, what is their age range, geographic location, gender, and interests? If it’s an infant or baby-focused product, for example, you’re wasting your time and money marketing to single people and couples with school-aged and older kids. However, marketing to young couples who setup wedding registries in the past 1-5 years is a captive audience.
3. Pick a Business Name
This step takes thoughtful consideration, as well as some research with your Secretary of State’s office to make sure you’re legally permitted to use a specific company name. Your business name should align with your product or service, such as being playful and endearing if child-related, or edgy and hip if tech-focused. Remember to consider your various marketing opportunities when selecting a business name, understanding that social media is great for exposure, but limited in visibility for long company names within tiny profile images. Website domains should also be short, and long company names make for long URLs.
4. Establish Your Look
Your logo, website and marketing collateral will define how customers identify you and perceive your business. While it might be tempting to create a logo and branding materials on a site like Canva to save yourself some money, it’s wise to enlist the services of a professional designer. By conveying the tone and look you’re going for, a pro will be able to bring your vision to life and provide a variety of file types to serve every marketing purpose as you launch your business.
5. Unapologetically Market Yourself
Once your logo and color scheme are established, it’s time to market yourself in every meaningful way possible. For budget-conscious start-ups, look at cost-effective social media marketing opportunities and leverage your network of friends and family to help spread the word. There are also subtle ways to reveal your new brand, such as through customized clothing. Online resources such as NamePress exist for this very purpose, allowing you to customize t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats and more with your branding. No design expertise is needed thanks to the thousands of design templates they have available coupled with their user-friendly interface. Once you’re set up on NamePress, send your family, friends and customers there to order their own branded merch, and help you get your name out in the marketplace in a big way.
Building a brand is a time-consuming process requiring careful consideration, as back-tracking when something doesn’t look or feel right will waste both time and money. Take the time to ensure your new brand is exactly the tone and vibe you’re going for, and you’ll launch your new business with confidence.