A business exists to serve its customers. Before deciding how your business can best serve its customers, you’ll need to figure out what your company stands for and how you’ll represent yourself in the public sphere. This is your brand.
Your business brand will be shaped by your initial planning, but it will be refined over time by the way the public perceives your brand. In other words, you can—and should—build your business brand with as much planning as possible, but inevitably your brand will evolve over time as you interact with customers.
Building your business brand from scratch requires three main steps: knowing your business, creating a visual identity, and establishing yourself online.
Knowing your business
You need to know your business inside and out before you can try to define its personality. Consider what makes your business unique, and figure out how you can emphasize that distinction to your customers. Most businesses with strong brand are known for a unique characteristic—Apple’s secrecy, H&M’s stylish affordability, or Whole Foods’ uncompromising dedication to local and organic food.
One way to identify what makes your business unique is to establish your core values. By determining the principles that will guide your business decisions, you’ll make a step towards figuring out what your business stands for. Whether or not you directly convey these principles to your customers, they will certainly affect the ultimate shape your business brand takes.
Creating a visual identity
Once you know what your business stands for, you’ll need to spend some time creating a visual identity that communicates your message. Most of your customers won’t take the time to read your core values, the history of your business, or the though process that guided the creation of your unique brand. Instead, they’ll make a flash judgment about the value of your business based on the visual identity that you forge.
Most important, of course, is a memorable logo. Spend whatever you can afford to produce a high-quality logo that your customers will be able to identity. A well-designed, memorable logo is worth the investment.
After producing a logo, consider the colors that will represent your business, the style of photography that you’ll use to depict your products or services, and the fonts that will carry the message you’ve crafted. Once you’ve made all of these choices, you’ll need to focus on consistency—frequently changing your visual identity leads to a fragmented brand.
Establishing yourself online
Finally, create a hub for brand by building an online presence for your business. Your efforts should focus primarily on a compelling website, but establishing yourself on social media is important as well. Your website should have a strong home page that quickly explains what your business does.
We have tons of tips on this blog for refining your website and social media presence—poke around and see how you can further improve the brand you’ve created.