Have you ever wondered if it’s worth it to build a brand? How can it really impact a business?
Pepsi or Coke? Apple or Android? Good branding is key to success: if you have two similar products, which one would you choose?. Whichever you pick, chances are your decision is based on your preferred brand. And that’s how strong a name, a logo or an online presence can be when branding is done right.
Everything your business does or portrays, ranging from its name, mission, logo, and products or services, all the way to its website, colors, fonts, social media accounts, quality, prestige, and critics represent your brand.
Both good and bad impressions will shape the way customers interact with your brand, and thus will define the success of your business. In a nutshell, this is why the client is always right: they have the last word.
- 1 WHAT IT TAKES TO BUILD A BRAND
- 2 Build a Brand steps 1 to 4: DEFINE YOUR BRAND
- 3 Build a Brand steps 5 to 12: BUILD YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE
- 3.1 STEP #5 –WEB HOSTING
- 3.2 STEP #6 – GET YOUR DOMAIN NAME
- 3.3 STEP#7 – GET YOUR BRAND’S EMAIL
- 3.4 STEP #8 – BACKEND TOOLS (CMS, plugins, themes, google tools)
- 3.5 STEP #9 – FRONTEND TOOLS (About page, images, cleaning modules, navigation, homepage)
- 3.6 STEP #10 – BUILD YOUR CONTENT
- 3.7 STEP #11 – USE SOCIAL MEDIA IN YOUR FAVOR
- 3.8 STEP #12 – GROW YOUR EMAIL LIST
- 4 CONCLUSION
WHAT IT TAKES TO BUILD A BRAND
As soon as you decide you’re starting a business and you want to build a brand, you need to be sure about what you’re getting into. Confidence and consistency will help you in the brand building process:
You need to feel somewhat comfortable with the area you’re going to work in. And hey, everybody will tell you to follow your passions and dreams, but that’s not going to help anybody if you’re not skilled on those things. So, get competent at your passion and do something you’re awesome at.
On the other hand, how much money are you willing to spend and how much money do you need? You can’t jump in blindfolded. The investment to build a brand depends on what you’re going to do, so think it through and plan ahead.
Keep in mind that it’s not all about giving shape to a product or a service, you also have to promote and sell to get somewhere. Building a brand requires to give it a name, a personality and an objective: all these will align your business with your customers.
And of course, there has to be a way for your product or service to reach the audience.
Today the definitive and ultimate way to do just that is through the internet. You need a good website, email list and social media presence.
Build a Brand steps 1 to 4: DEFINE YOUR BRAND
STEP #1 – THE MISSION AND VISION
What you’re trying to accomplish says a lot about you and your business. So your brand has to express themselves through these two elements: your mission explains your brand’s existence and purpose, while your vision describes the ideal future you want to reach.
Microsoft explains in their About page their mission is “to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more”, and their vision is “to help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential”.
Facebook Inc.’s mission statement used to be “to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected” but changed it in 2017 to “to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together”.
Mark Zuckerberg explained in a post that they’ve made progress on their former mission, but “It’s not enough to simply connect the world”. Their vision is “people use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them”.
Here, you just read what both brands are actively working to accomplish and where they expect to arrive. It has to be highly specific, however, it doesn’t have to be rigid. As Facebook did, the mission can change in order to adapt to the needs of the world.
ANSWER THIS QUESTIONS
At Brand building, making your mission and vision requires you to ask yourself:
- Who is your audience?
- How are you going to help them?
- Why are you helping them?
- What sets you apart from the rest?
Remind yourself this is not a cheap technique to sound cool, you have to mean it! It’s not
only for customers to but for you and your team to believe and internalize. Build a brand and stay true to it.
STEP #2 – THE PERSONALITY OF YOUR BRAND
It’s been commonly described that brands have 5 dimensions of personality:
- Sincerity (described as domestic, genuine, cheerful, down-to-earth).
- Excitement (daring, spirited, imaginative, up-to-date).
- Competence (reliable, responsible, smart, efficient).
- Sophistication (glamorous, upper class, charming, romantic).
- Ruggedness (tough, strong, outdoorsy).
This classification was proposed by Jennifer L. Aaker in 1997 in her study “Dimensions of Brand Personality”. Her investigation consisted in giving people a set of company names, then she asked them to imagine each brand as a person and to pick the traits they associated with each one.
You can do the same as you build a brand. Following this same principle, you can imagine your brand as a person and give it personality traits. By looking at the 5 dimensions above, pick the one that fits your brand.
You need to have in mind what you’re offering and who your target audience is to get it right! All of this will help you later for picking a name, slogan, logo, and colors that fit your brand’s persona.
STEP #3 – THE NAME AND THE SLOGAN
PICKING A NAME:
We can all agree: the name is key. And its most important function is to resonate with your target audience in one way or another.
It has to feel right for the customer to use that word when referring to your brand, and there are a few ways to achieve that. At the same time have in mind the name of your brand will influence the name of your website and email address, so consider that when choosing and check availability. Make sure to secure your name on social media!
When brainstorming for names, you can help yourself with Wordoid. This tool lets you look for names specifying the language, quality, a word pattern, length and whether or not the domain is taken.
MAKING A SLOGAN:
Now you can try to put a few more words to describe your brand. That’s where your slogan comes in. You have to be concise and smart:
- Keep it short.
- Make it memorable.
- Cause impression.
Many companies make use of metaphors like “Taste the rainbow” (Skittles), some make a call to action like “Just do it” (Nike).
You can even defy your competitors: IBM’s slogan “Think”, to which Apple responded in 1997 with their famous slogan “Think different”; both short, easy to remember, however, given the context, one of them causes much more than the other.
STEP #4 – CHOOSING THE LOGO AND COLORS OF YOUR BRAND
The one thing to identify your brand anywhere will be your logo and colors. Most of the time, it will be the first thing people will recognize from your brand so you want something unique and adaptable!. You want it to look good on a product, on your website, on a profile picture, on merchandise, etc.; you also want it to be identifiable in any size, big or small.
There are many types of logos:
- Mascot (KFC, Kool-Aid, Wendy’s).
- Wordmark (Nintendo, Google, Coca Cola).
- Lettermark (NASA, IBM).
- Emblem (Starbucks).
- Abstract mark (Pepsi, Nike).
- Pictorial mark (Apple, Twitter).
- Combination (Dove, McDonald’s, Burger King).
You can get a logo at Fiverr for a low fee, with plenty of designers and prices to choose from! I suggest you speak to the designers before buying. Tell them you want to build a brand and make sure they understand what you need.
Choosing a logo style is just as important as choosing your colors, both for the logo and for your brand.
Through the you can convey emotions, and your objective is to match your client’s needs: that’s why you see so many banks go blue and white to convey confidence, security peace; or sometimes they pick green, which stands for wealth and hope. You can learn more about color branding and color psychology.
Build a Brand steps 5 to 12: BUILD YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE
STEP #5 –WEB HOSTING
In order to get your website going, you’ll need a host first. This service will provide a server for you to upload your website and make it accessible through the internet; for that, you’ll need a domain name, which you can get from your web host or buy it elsewhere.
From you web hosting service provider you shall expect to get a custom email account and File Transfer Protocol (FTP) for uploading files to the server. Also, you may get access to a Content Management System (CMS), but more on that later (Step #8).
There are many factors that may help you choose your web hosting service of preference, like its online constancy, speed, service, and price. For that, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the most important web hosts on later articles. In the midtime, I can tell you that one of the most recommended and popular is Bluehost.
Important Note: Through this affiliate link, you get access to a Bluehost special discount for Latin Digital Marketing users.
STEP #6 – GET YOUR DOMAIN NAME
We already talked about how important a name is and to have it in mind for your domain and email account, so now we’re going to check availability. You may try to make your domain name on your own and check if it’s taken at Name.com, or you can help yourself with tools like Panabee.
When you find the one, get it and register it. Then get your web host’s DNS servers to input them into your domain name registrar, more detail about that here.
STEP#7 – GET YOUR BRAND’S EMAIL
Once you have a web host and a domain name, you’re ready to make your custom email account.
Usually, its format goes “firstname.lastname@example.org” and you can make one for each necessity, like “email@example.com”, “firstname.lastname@example.org”, “email@example.com”, and you get the idea.
This is an efficient way to distribute emails according to their purposes, so you don’t get one single account flooded with everything.
However, your absolute must is to get at least one email going to start working. Avoid using numbers(Unless the numbers are part of your brand name), they hurt your brand credibility
STEP #8 – BACKEND TOOLS (CMS, plugins, themes, google tools)
Running a website requires many tools for its efficient management!
FINDING THE BEST CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM(CMS) FOR YOU:
A CMS is a software that helps you edit your website directly from its interface, making it faster and easier; you would have to make manual updates every time you wanted to change something. The most famous names out there, like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla are free and open-source.
CMS BEST OPTIONS
The most used by far is WordPress.org, which has an impressive library with more than 50.000 plugins and thousands of themes. This CMS is especially great if you’re focusing on a blog-style website: it’s user-friendly and pretty versatile, with lots of people constantly working in new plugins and themes. Don’t get mixed up with WordPress.com, which is the free blogging site!
If you want more while keeping of modules and themes, your way to go might be Drupal. It’s more complicated than the others, but it also serves greater purposes:
it’s well suited for big websites that benefit from higher customization. It has over 2.500 themes and 42.000 modules for you to extend your site.
Joomla is probably the simplest one, with just under 8.000 extensions. It works best for simple websites that require few features, letting you create a website quickly without having to be an expert. Joomla won’t offer you themes on their own website, but you can still download them from a third party.
If you’re getting into ecommerce, PrestaShop is a popular CMS for creating a shopping website. From adding products to your store catalog, to setting payment or shipping methods, PrestaShop lets you customize your eShop with many modules and themes.
When we speak of plugins we mean pieces of software that allow completing a set of tasks. Depending on whether are using a CMS or not, plugins might differ on the way to get them. You can see a plugin as a way to include a feature you want available on your site.
As you build a brand, you want to provide the best user experience, so it gets related to the brand. As you start building your site, sooner than later, you will find a few things that are primordial to have.
FIRST PLUGINS TO CONSIDER
- Security Plugins: Security is a must. If you don’t take it seriously you might find yourself in ugly situations that’ll cost money, reputation and time. It’s always good to find something to protect your site from attacks.
- SEO Plugins: One of the best ways to be found on the internet is to rank high on a search engine such as Google. So why not do yourself a favor and use the basics to help your site rank high? There are many options and SEO Tools available, make sure to look for one that works for you.
- Social Share Plugins: If people share your brand on social media, you’ll reach a bigger audience. Make it easier for them!!
- Performance Plugins: When opening an unknown site, most people just wait a few seconds for the site to load. If it doesn’t, they just close it and go to the next. You need to make sure your site loads as fast as possible. Plugins for compressing images or making your site loads faster will help with this.
- Tracking Plugins: Tracking allows you to generate reports and statistics on what is working and what isn’t. This is fundamental in the digital marketing field and there are tools to enhance this.
If you want to look for themes outside each platform, you can search on TemplateMonster or ThemeForest for more variety in style and prices.
You need to make sure the theme you pick goes along with the pillars of your brand. Meaning the theme should match colors, logo, personality and objective of your brand.
Once you get your website running you’ll want to know everything about who’s visiting, and there’s a free and amazing tool for that: Google Analytics.
This instrument will tell you where your visitors are coming from (social media, search engines, links), how long they stay, what they do (click ads, download files), the first page they see, how many pages they see, etc. To know more in detail about setting up Google Analytics, check Google’s instructions.
Finally, to optimize your website for Google’s search engine results, there’s Google Search Console. This will help you find broken pages or links and get details about how people are finding your website through Google. Here’s how to add your website to Google Search Console.
So remember, don’t miss these Google tools as you build a brand site:
- Search Console
- Pagespeed Insights
MAKING YOUR ABOUT PAGE:
If someone wants to know more about what your brand does or who’s behind it they will visit your About page. That’s why it’s so important. Here, you can add:
- Who’s behind your brand?
- What’s your brand doing?
- How’s the brand helping its consumers?
- Historical background of your brand.
- Ways to contact (emails, telephone numbers, offices).
It’s also a really good place to show your brand’s mission and vision, which answers a pair of the points shown above. A picture of you or your team is always good: people will feel more trust towards your brand. You have to make it appealing, so people engage with your content and become loyal consumers. There’s the option to make it into a video too, to make it more compelling!
Take advantage of the situation: if people are visiting this page, it probably means they are somewhat interested in your brand, so it’s a perfect moment to catch potential subscribers to your email list (step #12). So you can present your visitors with the option to give their emails to receive updates on your brand’s products or services.
If you want to see some examples or get inspired before making yours, check a few of the best About pages out there!
PICKING THE RIGHT IMAGES:
Making content in your website will require the use of images: they’re great to capture and maintain your visitor’s interest, enhance your content and make it unforgettable.
Sometimes what actually makes people click is a good picture rather than a good title.
However, using images is not as straightforward as we would like it to be. That’s because some of the pictures you commonly find online are protected by copyright, so you have to be really careful when picking them! For example, don’t go around Google Images and use a photo you liked without checking first.
As you build a brand, the last thing you want is to get a copyright claim. Avoid it at all cost.
For this, you can specify in Google Images Advance Search under “Usage rights” to show only images labeled for reuse with or without modification. But still, this won’t guarantee you anything: you would still have to reach its owner to check if it’s actually free to use and ask about the conditions to use it (giving credit to the creator, for example).
The best way to find good pictures online is through sites like:
- Flickr (has pictures with Creative Commons License; watch out for copyrighted material, the ones with the “©” symbol).
- Unsplash (Creative Commons License).
- Getty Images (paid)
- Shutterstock (paid)
If you want to know more about Commons License and how to use it, you can check their official site.
The homepage is a cornerstone to your online presence. It’s probably the first thing a potential client will see. And the first good impression is always really important when building a brand.
You want to have a homepage that display all you have been designing for your brand. The Brand, personality, logo, name and mission should be seen on your homepage.
You might want to balance the things you show, you don’t want to be too simple. But neither too overload. You have to make sure the visitors understand what can they do on your site. Also, you want to include a call to actions, and make the users engage with your content. This way there’s a better chance you get their attention.
As was told before, the Brand Building process must ensure the User gets a good experience. Because if they like how your brand is making them feel, they will remember it.
Having clear navigation is very important when you build a brand site. It allows a better user experience, and it also helps Google and other search engines to navigate your site. This end up helping your chances to rank high on Google.
This is particular for CMS users. Most times they have default stuff that you need to get rid off as soon as possible.
First, those things won’t add value to your site. Second, they will be evidence that your site is freshly made. That’s not exactly a bad thing, but quickly enough you’ll want to have a growing reputation, and default stuff won’t help you do it.
So make sure as you build your brand site that you have exactly what you need, no less, no more.
So if for example you are using WordPress make sure to fix the following:
- Dummy Posts
- Dummy Comments
- Post Slug Defaults
- Title and subtitle on the homepage
STEP #10 – BUILD YOUR CONTENT
Building a website requires effort, so it’s important to work with others. This is true for the website, and stays true for its content: don’t put all into one single person, especially if you want it quick. Make a team that comes up with content ideas, and then proceed to develop it.
Being organized will help you reach your goals in time, in the most efficient manner; so get your ideas together, set a release order and organize everything in a calendar. This way you can manage what is going to be up and when.
If you’re making related content set a content timeline so everything has a sequence, making one post lead to another and keep your readers clicking. It’s also important to set realistic deadlines for each article, so the team has time to proofread it and make changes if required: don’t upload content without reviewing!
You can also consider modifying your articles in the future if an update could enhance your content and make it relevant once again.
STEP #11 – USE SOCIAL MEDIA IN YOUR FAVOR
Okay. The site’s up and running, you’re building your content, and now you’re ready to let everybody in. You are close to complete the initial phase on this Build a Brand Journey.
If you want to grow big, you have to go big. And your best bet is social media. Today it’s a necessity to grow your internet presence, even if your brand isn’t internet-related!
This goes all the way back to the beginning: who your target audience is? But now, we need to know where they are: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and such. Don’t let any media out of the question. For starters, you may pick one of them -the most relevant for your needs- and go hard.
Focus on creating something people will want to share: killer content drives the internet. It can be anything: interesting post, memes, useful tutorials, videos, pictures, you name it.
When people engages with your content, don’t be shy and reply: you’ve probably seen those witty replies from brands on Twitter and how people share it. Something as simple as a tweet can get your brand on everybody’s feed.
Soon enough, you’ll have to expand in order to reach as many as you can. When you get there, you have to remind yourself you have to be consistent. Don’t forget your brand has a personality. You can read more about social media and how influencers can boost your online presence.
STEP #12 – GROW YOUR EMAIL LIST
Another unexpectedly awesome way to grow your website is through an email list. It will help you keep your audience up to date.
It’s key to use a special provider, since your usual Outlook or Gmail won’t make it any easy for you: you won’t know how many emails were opened, if people clicked on links, you’ll have to manually add newcomers. It just isn’t effective.
You can try MailerLite or MailChimp, both for free until you get 1.000 email accounts subscribed. Or you can check GetResponse, the first 1.000 subscribers will be $15 /month but you can get a 30 days free trial. You can find in and out about email service providers in our article about it.
There you have it!! The steps to follow in order to build a brand. This guide has been in-depth, so I suggest you come back to it as you progress. If you have any question regarding a specific step, please ask in the comments section.
Remember that Brand Building will require time, money and some hard work: expect to feel frustrated, tired and even demotivated. But be patient, take a step back and look for the future reward!
If you need more details about a certain topic, don’t doubt on going to our specific articles about it or check online; consider especially looking for video tutorials, since they’re easier to follow. If you want a suggestion on those, ask me on the comments section and I’ll leave you some.
Getting your brand on tracks is no easy task, but once you reach your goals you’ll know you made the right decision.