Entrepreneur Magazine defines branding as “your promise to your customer.” Everyone has heard of branding. Whether it’s “brand name,” “personal brand,” or the field of branding and brand marketing, these buzzwords are constantly a hot topic in the business world and beyond. Your brand defines what you and your company do. But it isn’t only that. It is how you are known. It is what people come to expect from you. It draws customers to you that share the same ideals. It sets you apart from your competition.
So how do you get started brand building and making the many (often seemingly small) choices that make up a brand? You don’t just think of a random name, slap on a logo
, and start putting content out there. While sometimes it looks easy, a LOT of thought goes into all of your favorite brands branding. Here are four important pillars of branding that when put together will make up the core of your brand you can build on over time.
Name & Logo
These can be so difficult, but trust us, THEY MATTER. 99% of the time, these are people’s first impression and introduction to your brand. Your name, your logo, your colors, and your design help you set the tone about what your brand is about, what you do, and how you approach your work. Everything from color to font have a lot of subliminal tones, so do your research about how you want to come across with your logo as these tones will also be present throughout all of your branding (website, marketing collateral, sales materials, etc.). When choosing a name, we suggest using some of the brainstorming tactics we discussed in our blog. While it is possible, changing your name and logo can be a bit of a hassle, so try to take your time to make a decision you’re confident in.
Your Mission Statement
The biggest mistake people make is confusing this with what you do, it’s much more focused on WHY you do it. It touches on a more emotional and personal level of what drives your business outside of money or traditional success. In industries with very similar companies or products, a mission statement can make all the difference when attracting customers or generating PR. To kickstart building your mission statement, remember why you started your business in the first place, and what motivated you before you started making money.
Value propositions are what value your company can offer to your customer. It isn’t just tasks you can complete. Here’s an example, if your product is “logo design services
”, one of your value propositions would be “help develop a custom brand identity.” Value propositions are where you sell yourself to your potential customers or clients. You show off how you are different than your competitors and how your services can directly affect and improve their lives and business.
You’re more than just a pretty logo. Your brand voice cannot just be the combination of voices of everyone running your accounts, that is confusing, inconsistent, and downright lazy. Developing a brand voice is a crucial element of branding yourself. Are you casual or scholarly? Are you funny or serious? Long or short winded? Sarcastic or straightforward? What topics do you touch on? What is completely off limits? Check out brands similar to yours and brands you admire (and even those you really dislike) to learn a bit about their brand voice and see what you can take from that. Take a look at their brand voice on their websites, social media accounts, any media/video they’ve created. Answering plenty of questions like the ones above and building a “style guide” is a great way to start hounding down your brand voice and making sure your employees stay consistent of your goals with your voice and tone.