Building a Brand 101: Getting Started

If one of your new year’s resolutions was to finally launch that business you’ve been thinking about for a while, your first move will be to get the branding right. But how do you go about this from the ground up? Here’s a simple step by step guide. 

Coming up with an idea

If you’re thinking of starting a business, chances are you already have an idea in mind. If not, this will be your starting point- from a general perspective- what will your business do? Will you be turning a hobby into a business venture? Will you be buying and selling for a profit? Will you be selling services of some kind? In order to get started and move forward with anything else, you’ll of course need to have your initial idea. 

Do your research

Before diving in and doing anything else, you should do your research. What other similar businesses are out there already, and what are they doing? What sort of products or services do they sell? Chances are, regardless of what you want to do in business you’ll have competitors- but it will give you an idea of just how saturated the market is and what kind of demand there is for your business. Consider both direct and indirect competitors, for example, if you plan on setting up a bakery, it’s not just other bakeries you’ll be in competition for customers with but businesses like caterers too. Having an understanding of the market and what’s out there allows you to move onto the next step. 

Find your niche

Finding your niche is so important for both branding and your business in general. Finding your niche allows you to appeal to specific customers who will choose your company over your competitors and allow you to break into the market. For example, if you know that your business will be buying and selling clothes, start to narrow it down. What sort of clothes will you sell, and at what price point? For example, a shop selling high end baby clothes will be branded in a much different way to a shop selling budget womens sports clothes. Finding a niche that you’ll be successful in means identifying a gap in the market or solving a problem of some kind. You’ll be able to discover what this gap problem is by carefully analysing the market and your competitors- what will you be doing which is different to them? What will encourage customers to choose your business over theirs? 

Consider the brand’s personality and style

Will you be cool and quirky, or elegant and ethereal? What’s the general ‘feel’ you’re trying to get across with the brand? This will further define you, and help to appeal to customers that resonate with this. It’s also another way to differentiate from your competitors. For example, take two florists on the same street. If one is very quirky, edgy and trendy and the other is sophisticated, elegant and ethereal then chances are they’ll be appealing to different customers and you’ll reduce competition. This will make it easier for you to compete with more established businesses when you first start out. 

Choose a business name

Once you establish what your business will be doing, you’ve defined your niche and have an idea what kind of personality your brand will have you can begin to choose a business name. Many new businesses tend to start here and that’s a mistake. As you brainstorm and research the market, your initial idea might change over time- it’s only when you have the other details decided that you can think of a name that will suit your entire brand’s concept. While you want a brand name that sums up who you are and what you do, consider the chance that you might want to expand and branch out later on, so you don’t want something that’s going to restrict you. For example, if you’re a makeup artist but think you might want to branch out into beauty treatments later on, you could use the word ‘beauty’ in your brand instead of ‘makeup’. Don’t use the first name you think of, really take some time to play around with ideas and consider doing some market research as to what others prefer- even if it’s just asking family and friends perspective on it. Sometimes you can get tunnel vision with these things or overlook something important so asking others how it sounds enables you to check that it doesnt sound silly or even inappropriate in any way. Once you have a shortlist, Google each one to make sure it’s not already being used, and check that social media handles and the domain name is available to use. 

Logo design

A good logo design is crucial for your brand, it will be used across all of your marketing materials and website. There are logo designers online but don’t just ‘have a go’ yourself, what looks ok to you might not be what’s best for your brand. A good logo designer will understand the impact of different colours, fonts and how the overall asthetic will appeal to your customers. 

Social media

Your businesses social media should align with your general brand’s personality. Think of your target market and what your audience would appreciate. For example, if your brand is aimed at younger people or has a cheeky or energetic vibe you’re fine to use slang terms, share relevant memes and take a more conversational tone when interacting. If your brand is more formal then of course you’d need to take this into consideration with the way your posts are worded and what you’re resharing. You can utilise companies like Billo to find video creators to make marketing videos that you can use on social media. These can be created to suit the tone of your site and increase engagement. If you’re in a position to employ or outsource a social media manager they will ensure that everything in this area is being run correctly and according to your brands values. 

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