Consumers these days don’t just want to buy a product. They want to connect with the entire brand. As such, this means that entrepreneurs build a strong brand for themselves. However, this doesn’t happen overnight.
You need to design an identity that reflects your brand. This, therefore, calls for some critical thinking. While you can build your brand by yourself, some people prefer hiring an expert brand identity designer with experience in this field.
Now, the DIY route can be intimidating. However, with the right guidance, you can accomplish this task. Here are the six steps to building a strong brand identity for your small business.
1. Conduct Extensive Research
Creating a brand identity that your customers can resonate with starts by understanding who they are. So, the first step is to learn about your audience. Understand what they like, their dislikes, hobbies, and value.
Once you understand them, do competitive research. Determine how your competitors have positioned their brand in terms of visual elements, themes, and personalities.
Lastly, interview people close to your brand, that is, your employees. Listen to their ideas of how the company should be portrayed.
2. Translate Your Learning into Visuals
This involves creating assets like logo, color patterns, typography, iconography, graphics, photography, and the style that explains your logo and tone.
Three Cs are important when creating brand assets;
Clarity – Don’t make your customers work hard to interpret your message. Instead, be as clear as possible with everything from words to picture use.
Consistency – Maintain the same voice in your billboards that’s on your website and social media. Consistency makes your customers more confident, which builds trust.
Commitment – Branding takes time. Therefore, even if your first and second tries flop, try against the third time and the fourth until you succeed.
3. Tell Your Brand’s Story
Crown your brand identity with a story. Well, this step isn’t mandatory. However, it will help you understand why you started your enterprise. The brand story should cover;
• Your company’s beliefs
• Problems that your products/services can solve
• The approach your company uses to solve those problems
• Why you decide that your business will be the one to solve those issues
• The future of your business
Your brand story is more than a pitch that you give when people ask about your company. It should say why your brand exists and the way it relates to people.
4. Build Guidelines for Your Brand
A beautifully created identity used wrongly is worse than a poorly designed brand identity. It is why building a brand style guide is crucial.
Make sure that the guidelines are clear and easy to follow. You can include examples, videos, and other interactive elements if possible. Also, don’t forget the practical aspect. It needs to be as informative as possible for your designers to create something authentic.
5. Know the Things to Avoid
Avoid giving your customers mixed messages. Please ensure that you know what you want to say and craft it using appropriate language and visuals. Sure, your message can make sense to you, but does it make sense to your target customers?
Also, be unique. Do not copy your competition, even if it has great branding. Note that it is easy to do the same thing as your established competition because you sell similar products/services. However, remember that you have to come out as unique. Therefore, only steal ideas and use them to create your twist.
Also, bear in mind that although the print and online material can differ, they should have similar colors, themes, and messages.
6. Track Performance Metrics
Monitoring will help you know what works and what doesn’t. You can use Google Analytics, social media conversations, surveys, and comments to determine what people think about your brand and how it interacts with them.
This can help you know the areas that need improvement and correct them to improve your brand identity.
Strong brand identity will help your business stand out. Note that small businesses usually can’t afford huge marketing campaigns like larger businesses. But telling your customers who you are and your offerings can help you succeed. And your brand identity can help you do that.