Beginner’s Guide To Building A Successful Brand from Scratch

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Before diving deep into how you can build and grow your brand, I would like you to answer the following questions:

  1. If you had money to buy one luxury car, which one are you buying?
  2. Which designer clothes would you sell a kidney for?
  3. Are you taking Uber or Lyft to get you home at 11.00p.m?
  4. If Coca Cola closed today, which soda would you buy?
  5. You can only choose one airline to fly you to your dream destination, which is it?
  6. From the thousands of celebrity artists to choose from, who is singing at your birthday party?
  7.  Which five-star hotel are you never going to step your foot in even if it was free?
  8. Why do you spend extra on your favorite washing powder instead of the alternative which is cheaper with the exact same results?

What is the Meaning of Branding?

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In basic terms, branding is when you put a mark on a product or a service that uniquely identifies it from similar enterprises. The mark, which often heavily relies on visual appeal, can be a logo, a name or any other symbol that can only be associated with the product or service in question. But, is that all there is to it?

Branding, in the context of growing a business, is when you build a story around the mark to create a meaningful connection with the target audience. It is the impression that your customers will tell when they think of your product or service.

Simply, branding is not about your product or service. Rather, it is about how your customer thinks using the product or service will improve their quality of life. Will they be happier? Will your product make their work easier? Will they get closer to their goals if they subscribe to your service? It is all about their feelings, emotions and aspirations, and aim of branding is appealing to them.

Coca Cola is a major case in point. Each year, the company spends billions to advertise people drinking coca cola soda in family dinners, friends’ reunions or just having a good time by themselves. The mood across each ad is always one of enviable happiness and love. They have convincingly sold to us the promise of undoubtedly experiencing the same feelings if we buy their products as well. As a matter of fact, did you know that Coca Cola spent $4.24 billion in 2019 for advertising?

Why is Branding so Important to Growing Your Business?

Do you know of any company whose product or service is not as good as the alternatives, yet everybody swears by it? If yes, what do you think is the secret sauce?

I am not advocating for mediocre, second-class products and services. All I am saying is that, a not-so-good product with first class branding practices is more likely to succeed compared to a model product with little or no branding.

This section aims to show you five advantages of intentionally pay close attention to branding:

1. Give a Purpose (Something to Fight For)

To demonstrate this, I want you to imagine the life of doctors. They often wake up when the whole neighborhood is still asleep and head off to the hospital where they might pull thirty hours or more straight. In between, they will deal with patients who are yelling, screaming, hysterical, depressed, in comatose and in debilitated conditions. Furthermore, despite the protective gear they put on, they are still at risk to contract infections. Also, due to their chaotic schedules, they might skip or even forget lunchtime because time is of essence to a patient’s survival. Then they will go home only to wake up the next day repeating it all over again.

Why do they not quit already? Easy! They have and know their purpose. Everything they do is because they want to save a life and more, to improve the quality of that life. They are aware that the long hours, the sleepless nights and the skipped meals could make all the difference to an accident victim needing surgery or a woman in labor. It is the promise of the possibility to make that change that gives them the purpose to go to work every day.

Purpose! When you deliberately put effort to grow your business brand, you give yourself and the business something to fight for. Why do you do what you do? Why that product or service? Why should I, the customer, care for what you have to offer? Whatever answer you give, that is your purpose and branding simply cements it for you every day!

2. Build Your Target Audience’s Trust and Confidence In Your Business

One of the main goals of your business is to establish itself as the go-to in your domain. This is such that, whenever the target customer has a problem, they are comfortable and confident enough to turn to your business for a solution.

Branding done the right way helps to increase your credibility thus positioning you as an authority in your area of expertise. It tells the customer that you care, that they can rely on you and that you are here to stay.

3. Allows You To Set A Higher Price

One of the perks of having a distinguished brand, one that is uniquely set apart from the competitors, is the allowance to set prices as they see fit. This is because the business is no longer about survival. Good branding gives the business the competitive edge it needs to finally charge their products and services the true worth that they deserve.

4. Attract New Customers Easily

Acquiring new customers is probably the hardest thing for a business in its early stages. The business usually assumes a stagnant state where it seems like it has reached its peak. It’s frustrating, isn’t it?

The good news is that branding can help break this cycle, unlocking a whole new level of growth. How does it do this?

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A good brand tells a good story. And a good story appeals to the dreams and the emotions that the target audience cares about. If the brand can meet the expectations it promises this audience, eventually the audience will want to share this experience with the people they care about. This is what we call referrals. Referrals can take time at first and whatever impact they make can seem insignificant, but in the long run, every effort will be worth it. Referrals take many forms including online testimonials, word of mouth and sharing of experience on various digital platforms.

5. Easier to Introduce New Products and Services

Branding invites a loyal following of customers who believe in your product or service. The trust and the confidence that you have created in them enables them to give you the benefit of doubt when you launch a new item. Even better is that, they serve as a ready market to test your product while simultaneously providing you with the feedback needed to improve and determine the future success of the new product. Say, the new service is a hit, what’s better than having loyal and willing customers at your doorstep eager to try it?

Branding Strategies to Get You Started

1. Define Your Business Value Proposition

Value proposition, by definition, is the unique thing that your business can give to your target audience that the competitors cannot. It is the specific response to why the target customer should care about your product or service and not the existing alternatives. It is the promise of the value the target customer will derive from using your product or service.

The importance of defining the distinguishing aspect of your business is because it is the pillar upon which your branding efforts will be centered on. So, what sets you apart from your competitors? What unique value are you providing your customers that they cannot get anywhere else?

2. Identify Your Target Audience

The first rule of business is understanding that you cannot create for everyone. Because of this, not everybody can be a consumer of the product or service your business offers. Therefore, in order to properly channel branding efforts to the right audience, it is crucial to know who the audience consists of. This involves creating different personas for each category of your target audience.

Building customer personas simply means, understanding who they are, what they like and dislike, what they do and aspire to achieve, who are their friends and so on. They are many factors you can use to build personas. These include but not limited to, age, geographical location, social status, and personal beliefs.  Are you selling to the youth, the middle-aged or to the old? What’s your customer’s typical morning like?

3. Understand the Competitors

As you are starting out, it is essential to learn how similar businesses have been playing the game. The goal is to study what strategies have worked for and against them, then use this knowledge to leverage your tactics. However, note that it is not about duplicating their models to your business. No. You still have the responsibility to create your own structure of doing things. See it this way, your competitors who may have or have not been in the business longer, have valuable knowledge about the customers you target. Their experiences have led them to understand the various things that make your target customers tick. Moreover, you can borrow these inspirations, test them and see what gives. Otherwise, you can check for whatever loopholes they might have missed, and brainstorm how to improve them for your own audience.

4. Employ Consistency

What does this really mean?

An example to demonstrate this is through a simple exercise: Open a new tab on your browser, then log into all of your social media accounts and then do a search of your favorite brand. You do not have to be an active customer of theirs. I want you to note if the logo, the name, mission or vision and colors are the same everywhere. Furthermore, can you scroll down to see the frequency of the content they publish? What about the style and the design of the content, can you tell if an image is from the brand without looking up the name?

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Best guess is that everything looks the same. So what is the big deal about consistency in branding?

Branding is about positioning your business on top of the customer’s mind. Therefore, it is important that in every platform they are likely to interact with your business, they should experience a similar if not the same vibe. They should be able to see the same logo regardless of whether are on Facebook or Twitter. Eventually, they should be able to tell what you are about even without looking you up just the way you can see the Coca Cola logo and picture soda. Or, imagining sneakers after seeing the Nike’s swish logo.

Consistency should apply to all your products, services and every content regarding your business. This includes putting up content at similar times and using the same style while creating the content. Essentially, make your own trademark of executing things.

Ways to Start Promoting Your Brand

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There are hundreds of ways in which you can promote your brand, which can be pretty scary and overwhelming if you are just beginning. In this section I have shared a few ways you can try at little or no cost at all. Once you get started and had a good idea on how to about it, you can then dip your toes into the more complex options.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing involves three parts:

  • Creating a Social Media Presence
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Paid Advertising
1. Creating a Social Media Presence

Having a social media presence means that your business can be found on the existing social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Most of the platforms are free to use and very easy to begin.

The reason for creating accounts on these platforms is so that your customers can easily find you. This is because nowadays people spend a significant amount of time on these platforms and if done right, your content can appear on their feed while also making even easier for them to share your products and services with their connections.

However, the catch lies in knowing which platforms to use. Remember that not everyone is your customer, and if you have truly defined who that customer is, then you will know which platforms they are likely to be on. Furthermore, whichever social media platforms you settle on will depend on what your business is about, type and format of content.

After setting up, all you have to do is consistently post content about the business thus creating and growing brand awareness.

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. Instagram
  4. LinkedIn
  5. YouTube
  6. Reddit
2. Influencer Marketing

On the social media streets, you will find persons who have master the game hence gaining themselves quite a reputable following. Due to their many followers, they hold a power to influence people’s decisions which then presents a valuable asset to growing your business brand. Can you imagine what a good review from an influence with twenty thousand followers could do to your brand? Great things indeed. One, you get brand recognition, build on the business credibility among the followers and undoubtedly, you bag in new customers just because their favorite influencer liked and recommended the product or service.

The key to make influencer marketing work for your business, is by reaching out only to the influencers who are in the same niche as you. This way, your branding efforts are more likely to be exposed to your target audience. It would not make any sense to have fashion influencer promote your sports brand. Though, your brand would reach many people, your sports product or service would make even less sense.

This method of promoting your brand, however, may require a form of payment. This could be in free services or products, money or a partnership.

3. Paid Advertising

As it implies, this method involves using the ads programs available on the social media platforms. You just create a post that highlights your business services or products and leave it up to the platforms’ algorithms to promote it to as many people as it can. This, of course, relies on your budget.

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Paid advertising is a quick way to get as many people to know about your brand in a really short time. It is advantageous especially if you do not have the time to wait until you have a big following.

Setting Up a Website

Having a website is crucial to any business that is intent on building and growing their brand. When possible customers come across your business through social media, paid ads, referrals such as word of mouth or search for products or services similar to yours, the first thought is usually to learn more information before they can make a decision. By having website that showcases all that you have to offer and linked up to whatever platform necessary, can be a huge boost to your brand. Best part is that it all happens without your active involvement, clearing whatever doubts the potential customers have while increasing the chances of converting them to actual customers.

But like everything else, there is a catch. If you setup the website haphazardly, you lose good points in promoting your brand to the visitors. The sad thing is that if the first impression a visitor to the site is horrible one, the person may never use your website again. Therefore, it is critical that be well suited to your target audience, easy to use and definitely appealing to the eye. Treat the website as the face of your brand. Make it good!

There are various ways in which you can setup the website. One, you could hire a developer to build one for you from scratch. Two, you can use the existing Content Management Systems such as WordPress, Square Space and Wix. With their free and paid themes, you can easily tweak them to suit your business needs. Finally, you can hire a CMS expert to do everything for you.

Blogging

The next best thing you can do for your brand is to add a blog in your website. A blog allows you to talk about your business products or services by clearly showing how they are solving customers’ pain points. It is the red carpet stage for your business to shine and even brag a little.

A good blog that endears the brand to the audience has to focus on giving solutions to its problems. It is in blogging 101 and comes highly recommended from me. Blogs do not have to consist of long blogs like this. You can make them short and sweet, ensuring that whatever question the customer had is clearly answered. Additionally, it is good to know that writing quality content that relates with your audience further cements you as an authority in your domain. It is what we call, “Knowing your stuff!”

Podcasting

Podcasts can be described as individual talk shows, which are presented as either videos or audios. However, I would recommend audio formats because they require less space to download and can be listened literally everywhere i.e. while driving or cooking. Plus, you do not have to stress over extras such as video quality, background settings and all the accompanying shenanigans.

 In a podcast, you basically speak about your business or related items that helps your audience to understand what you are about in detail. They are super easy to begin as you can simply just record yourself talking then host the audio on iTunes, Spotify and other similar sites.

Conclusion

Building a brand should not be rocket science. As you have seen, it is not difficult to begin a reputable brand in particularly easy to follow steps as outlined in this article. However, I should warn that you may not see results overnight. But if you are patient and consistent, you should experience positive change in just a couple of months. Good luck!

Have I left out important points that a new business owner can benefit from? Do you have a comment, suggestion or question? Please let me know in the comments section below!

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