Posted By: Kyle Fagala
Whether you have nothing more than a business idea you believe in or a desire to reimagine your existing image, there are a lot of questions that come up when you start thinking about how to build a brand that stands out. Some are obvious:
“What should it look like? Who is my target audience?”
But others are a bit more ambiguous:
“How do I want to make people feel? Will this resonate with my target audience?”
Answering questions like these will help you connect the dots between what you’re selling, who you’re trying to reach, and how to maintain a meaningful relationship with your audience after that initial hook. As part of our “How To Create Amazing Social Media Content” series, we’re doing a deep dive into building a strong brand identity for your business. That starts with the basics!
What exactly is a brand, anyway? It’s more than a recognizable logo or catchy slogan. Your brand is how others perceive you and your business, an identity you establish first and foremost with your voice—your style, communication methods, the “face” you present to the world. Your brand will also include the products and services you offer, your logo, the colors and fonts you use for printed and online materials, and your reputation. All of these things make up who you are as a business and affect how you’re seen by those around you.
One of the most important factors in building a strong brand is consistency, but to do that, you have to know exactly how that will look. What feeling do you want your brand to evoke? Who do you want your brand to appeal to? This is where your initial research should come in.
Put time into determining who your target audience is
Before you make any major decisions about your brand, you need to understand the current market and know who your potential customers will be. There are several ways to gather this kind of information. Google your product or service category and analyze the reviews. Talk to people you feel are part of your target market and ask them what brands they’re drawn to. Look at and follow some of the social media accounts or pages your target market is excited about.
When you shop online, pay attention to how the experience feels as a customer and imagine how you can replicate the positives of that with your own website. Pay attention to which customers you can sell to most easily, the brands that are established within your market, and how your target audience communicates—this will inform what you brand should focus on and how you can position it to stand out from your competitors.
Find your brand’s focus and stick to it
Your brand will never be able to be everything to everyone, and you’ll wear yourself out if you try to achieve that. Find your focus at the start of this process and let that inform the rest of your brand as you build it. Consider creating a positioning statement to get you moving in the right direction. This is just one or two lines that helps you answer important questions about your brand. It’s not necessarily something you’ll slap on marketing materials, but it can aid you in creating a tagline! The basic formula is:
We offer [this product or service] for [this target market] to [value proposition]. Unlike [any alternatives], we [key differentiators].
Go all in on this and make it an essential part of your brand’s marketing. You can even use it as a starting point in writing out your mission statement. Having a clear proposition or mission statement will help you find the right voice for your brand on social media and set the tone for your creative content as well.
Consider slogans, colors, and fonts
Slogans can be a great way to condense your brand into something small and catchy enough for use on social media bios, business cards, and anywhere else where you only have a few words to make a big impact! The best slogans are short, memorable, and capable of making a strong impression. They don’t have to be static, either—Pepsi has cycled through dozens of slogans in the last thirty years! There are a number of slogan generators available online to get you started, or you can play off your positioning statement for potential one-liners.
The importance of how you visually represent your brand can’t be understated, either. It’s tempting to think that something as simple as the colors you choose don’t really matter, but they actually help define the look of your brand and play a part in conveying the feeling you want to communicate. Take some time to read up on color psychology, which explains how the shades we choose are interpreted by other people, and be mindful of certain color combinations.
Give fonts some thought, too! As far as your website goes, two fonts will normally be enough—one for headings and one for body text. This doesn’t have to match the font used in your logo, but it should be complementary to create a smooth visual experience. If this sounds overwhelming, don’t worry! The Neon Canvas creative team is experienced in everything from brainstorming slogans to building beautiful websites that tell your brand’s story in a powerful way.
Apply your branding consistently and cohesively
Your brand’s story tells your audience who you are and what you stand for. It sets the stage for every interaction they have with your brand, whether that’s in the office, on your social media platforms, or through your website. It’s very important to tell that story consistently and cohesively across your business! Begin by asking questions like:
What was my motivation for starting this business?
Why does this company exist?
What is my company contributing to the world?
What is the real story behind my business that every customer should know?
Not every business is based on having a particular mission, and that’s fine. But every business does have a story they can tell to help customers relate to (and trust in) them!
Building a strong brand identity doesn’t stop once you launch your new website or order new printed materials. It should be a constantly evolving process, refining what works and removing what doesn’t as you grow. While you’ll never have complete control over the way people perceive your business, you can create a killer first impression and maintain it through consistent branding. If you’re not sure where to begin or how to put your best foot forward, Neon Canvas can help! Our team has the knowledge, resources, and tools to build your brand into something special, wherever you currently are in the process. We appreciate you and your business, and look forward to helping you tell your brand’s story in impactful and productive ways!
Kyle Fagala, DDS, MDS
Co-Founder, Neon Canvas