When people hear the term brand, they might think about company logos, catchy slogans, or about a specific product from their favorite company.
All of these are parts of a brand, but a brand goes much deeper and more important than that.
Especially if you want to start an online business, you need to know how to build an online brand. And what are the strategies that work for branding?
What Branding means?
Beyond the outside appearance, a brand shows what business is all about.
A brand is similar to people who have different names, faces, styles, and ways of communicating that give unique impressions.
Businesses also have names, products, voices, logos, colors, fonts that affect how people recognize and see your company.
Having a brand for your online business will be a vital part of your success, which makes it one of the leading online marketing strategies. It is also important to maintain consistency when you extend your brand to every part of your business.
But it all starts with establishing your brand how it is going to look an how it will feel.
Why is branding important?
The goal of the brand should be that your customers can connect and experience your products and services at a deeper and more emotional level.
An online brand is used to get your name out there, so potential customers and clients can recognize and become familiar with your business. This is essential, especially if you want to get noticed as a leader in your niche market.
Branding creates a unique image in the mind of online users and can make a lasting impression.
Your company stands out among your competitors in your field, and you can show what makes your business a better choice.
When you focus on building a high-quality and long-term brand, it will help customers feel they made a great decision and that it was worth paying for your offer.
Consumers will remember the brand that made an impact on them. It is why you need to make a good brand design that is easy to remember and is recognizable among other brands.
If you established your brand, it gives your business brand loyalty. This is an important aspect of a business because when people have trust in the quality, you offer they will more likely remain loyal to your brand and won’t buy from your competition.
Good branding also makes sure your business has enough credibility and reputation so you can attract new customers to buy from your business.
When you create a brand, you get more control over your image, your product, and the messages and values you want to represent.
How to build an Online Brand?
Building a brand takes time; you can not do it one day. You need to have a clear strategy and patience to get it done — every step matter to shape your brand identity.
1. Research your customers and your competition
The better you know your customers, the easier it gets to find out where your brand focus should be on. It is why you need to research and create your targeted audience. Even if you don’t know what demographics and interest potential customers and clients have
You can start with a general description of your audience and later narrow it down along the way. When you simply describe your target audience are only women, this isn’t enough, so be more specific. It will make it easier to create your brand around them when you not only know the gender but also age, location, language, and interest, etc.
If you have competition in a similar market, you can get inspiration for your brand and information about potential customers. It will help to get an idea of how can make your brand more unique that it will stand out.
You learn how the competition succeeds and what quality they offer and where they lack on. With this research, you can discover how you can make sure to showcase why your offer is better than from the competition.
Another thing you can do is to look into reviews from customers there you can see what experience people are having with the competition. And find out where the company is falling short on.
Also, check the competitors messaging and values they have across their platforms and channels. You only need to pick a few competing companies in your market to get started with your research.
2. Select your focus and personality
A brand needs to have a focus and a unique personality. So you need to select a positing statement with one or two lines and states where you want to position your brand in the market. This isn’t something you share on your website, but it helps you to answer the right questions about your company.
You can make a positioning statement like this:
- We offer [Product/Service] for [Target Market] to [Value Proposition].
- Unlike the [Alternative] we [Key Differentiator]
This unique value proposition is the thing that makes you better than your competition. You need to make it a part of your brand messaging.
What can do is to imagine your brand as a person. Think about how you would describe your brand with three to five adjectives. It needs to be something that your audience could identify with it. Here you can find some ideas for adjectives.
Think about how you would personify your brand; it gives your idea of the individual quality you want to have.
It can be an animal, a celebrity, a sports team, or anything that has a prominent status that represents the vibe you want to give your brand.
For example, the brand puma has an animal not only in the name and logo, but it also shows the vibe. A puma is a fast animal, so people connect it with running, which is a big part of the brand.
3. know your product or service
Of course, you might think you know what you are selling, but you need to look beyond the surface to find what makes it special. Identify the biggest benefits your offers have. When it is unique and interesting, you can include it in messages of your brand.
4. Choose a business name
It depends on the kind of business you want to start if a name matters very little or a lot. It is probably one of the first big commitments a business owner has to make. The name has an impact on your domain, logo, your marketing, and your trademark registration (generic trademark names are harder to get).
You need a name that is unique and can not be confused with existing players in the market. Also, make sure your business name is broader and not only for one category, especially if you plan to expand your product line.
To find a good name, you can use this business name generator. Or you try one of the following approaches:
- made-up word: Pepsi
- unrelated word: Apple for computers
- suggestive word or metaphor: Buffer
- Describe it literally: The Shoe Company
- Remove or add letters, or using Latin endings: Tumblr (Tumbler)
- acronym from a longer name: HBO (Home Box Office).
- Combine two words: Pinterest (pin + interest)
You also need to ensure the name is available for both a domain name and if you want to trademark it. You can also ask close people you know if they think it is too similar to another business they know of. Or maybe they have a better idea.
5. Create a slogan and a mission statement
A Slogan is a catchy short tagline that describes your brand. It is for your social media bios website header, and your business card, as well as anywhere a few words, can make a big impact.
You can change your slogan over time, but make sure it is a short(one-liner) catchy and makes a strong impression.
Use the slogan maker to find some ideas. You can make it rhyme or describe it literally. What also works is positioning your brand like the strongest coffee, for example. And a metaphor, for instance, “Redbull gives you wings” as well integrate your customer’s attitude like Nikes “Just do it” is an approach you can make.
Now you can create a mission statement with states what you hope to do, and every part of your company should reflect that.
The mission statement doesn’t answer the what, but the why. So why do you sell this product, and why did you start your business?
Here are some examples:
- Tesla: “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
- IKEA: “To create a better everyday life for the many people.”
- JetBlue: “To inspire humanity – both in the air and on the ground.”
It needs to be something that shows the purpose of your brand. The mission statement includes a general description of the company, its function, and its objectives.
Ensure that everything you do with your brand reflects it.
6. Decide the look of your brand and design a logo
Think about how you visually represent your brand, the colors, and font you want to use across your website.
Colors not only define the look of your brand, but they also represent the feeling you want to communicate across everything you do. Choose a color that is different for your competition, so consumers don’t get confused.
Color psychology can help you with your choice when you want to pick colors for your logo.
This infographic gives an overview of the emotions different colors generally evoke.
Source: The Logo Company
Use a tool like Coolors to find out colors that work together. Make sure you grab the hex code and save colors to generate different shades to find the ones you like.
Now you can choose a font that you want to use on the website. You can pick two fonts one for heading and one for the body text. For your logo, you might select another one that fits with your brand style.
One first thing people think when they hear a brand is a logo. It why a logo represents your brand, so it needs to be unique, identifiable, and scalable, so it works at all sizes.
Also, make sure the colors and fonts you choose, work together with your logo.
You can either design with it design tools like Canva, for example, or hire a designer and start a contest on 99Designs. If you want to make sure that nobody uses a similar logo and it stays unique, you need to trademark it.
7. Finding your voice
When you know your audience, you need to figure out how you can communicate your ideas. To do this, you need to choose a brand voice. They can come in many different types, be it a professional or casual voice. You can be serious or funny and direct or laid back.
Whatever you pick, it depends on how you want to speak with your customers. But ensure you stay consistent with your voice on all platforms where you want to represent your brand. When you have no consistency people may get confused and don’t want to connect with your brand
8. Defining your brand message
If you want to reach your audience, you need a clear brand message to greet them. The message should simply make it clear who you are, what kind of products or services you offer, and how it will benefit the customer.
And it should only be a couple of sentences long, also known as an elevator pitch. It means that you can sell your brand in the amount of time you would spend with someone in an elevator.
9. Promoting your brand across platforms
Now it is the time where you need to promote your brand. You can do this through different social media pages or use online advertisements to reach an audience. Another marketing strategy you can use is to write helpful articles about your offers and topics similar to it.
Keep in mind to use your brand voice, values, and messages consistency on all platforms.
Also, make sure to have about us page where you tell a story about your brand. Share what your mission is, what values you want to meet, and what motivated you to start the business.
Give the customer a story that they can identify with and build a connection to attract potential customers.
Improve your brand as you grow
The process of building a brand has started with finding a business name and designing a logo and having slogans and own messages. But the more your brand grows, the more you need to have a constituency in place when you interact with customers.
You also need to make sure to shape and evolve your brand when you get more customers. You learn who your customers are and how you can speak to them.
While you never have full control over how people see your brand, it is nevertheless important to make a great first impression and have a good reputation.
And with the right marketing strategies, you can grow your brand into a successful business.