6 min read

How To Build A Brand: 4 Simple Steps

Solid branding is key to building a relationship with your customers.

Your brand is more than just a logo on a shirt. It’s the relationship between your business and your target audience. Simply put, your brand is your reputation. 

Two hands surrounding a light bulbWhether you are starting from scratch or updating your current brand, it is imperative that you take your time and be meticulous about every aspect of your brand. Regardless of what you do, one thing is certain. If you want to be successful in business, creating a strong brand is the most important foundational task. 

In this article we will be going over the 4 simple steps to building a brand from the ground up.

Why Is Brand Important

A girl with a megaphone influencing the public

The objective of a good brand is to influence the way people perceive your company in three important ways.

  • Differentiate: A good brand provides a story that stands out from the competition and resonates with your prospective customers
  • Connection: Every sale is a race to trust. The faster you can connect with your target audience and gain their trust the faster they will convert from prospects to evangelists for your company. 
  • Experience: It’s not just about generating transactions; it’s about tantalizing all the senses, so your customer feels your company. This is achieved through consistency in everything your company puts out, from your website, social media post, packaging, thank you emails, etc. 

“Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business.” – Steve Forbes

Now let’s dive into the 4 steps in creating a brand. 

STEP 1: Research Your Target Audience

Marketing is useless if you don’t know who you are trying to reach. You can make a lot of noise with a bullhorn, but if everyone on the street is hearing impaired, you’d get much better results with a light show. The goal is to know who you're marketing to in order to use inbound marketing successfully.

Three people with a target in front of them

You must start with understanding your target audience so you can build your preferred client base. This is accomplished by researching factors like, age, gender, location, income, motivations, buying habits, etc. 


SAVAGE TIPS TO FINDING YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE

  • Challenge your assumptions. Be sure to approach the research with an open mind. 
  • Surveys are a great way to get actionable insights. Websites like surveymonkey.com allow you to send custom surveys to all your current customers by simply uploading a csv. file. If you don’t have a current customer list you can use websites like bookyourdata.com to build a targeted email list so you can conduct your surveys.
  • Check out the feedback of your competitors. Look at the reviews for your competition on Google Business Profile (formally known as Google My Business). And see what people are saying about your competition on different social media platforms. 
  • Build customer personas. Most companies develop 3-5 fictional representations of ideal customers since it’s unlikely all the characteristics you discover will fit into one type of person.
  • Find the pain. There is no sale without pain, so be sure to understand what motivations are driving your prospective customers.

"The person who chases two rabbits catches neither." - Confucius

Two people with a lightbulb between themThe understanding of your target audience is the most important step in building your brand, as it will inform what your brand should focus on and how to position itself apart from competitors. 

STEP 2: Position Your Business

Now that you understand who you want to reach it’s important to distinguish what sets you apart from the competition. This can be accomplished by building a positioning statement. 

We offer [PRODUCT/SERVICE] for [TARGET AUDIENCE] to [VALUE PROPOSITION]. Unlike 

[COMPETITION], we [KEY DIFFERENTIATOR].

Two hands holding a box with an award in it

Your value proposition is a simple statement that summarizes why a customer would choose your product or service.  

Uber – The smartest way to get around.

Apple – The Experience IS the product.

Amazon – Low price, fast delivery, and a wide selection of products. 

Slack – Be more productive at work with less effort

Nike - Accessibility, innovation, customization, and brand/status

SAVAGE TIPS FOR A GOOD VALUE PROPOSITION

  • Be clear and concise.
  • Use everyday language of your target audience.
  • Clearly define what you offer.
  • Explain how you relieve a pain-point for your target audience.

Your key differentiator is the distinct and unique value that sets you apart from the competition in the market. 

SAVAGE TIPS FOR CREATING YOUR KEY DIFFERENTIATORTwo toned gold key

  • Be unique, your target market should not be able to find the exact same experience from one of your competitors.
  • Create value for your target market, whether it’s monetary value, time value, or convenience.
  • You should be able to defend your key differentiator clearly and constantly.

Once you have your value proposition and key differentiator figured out try to distill them down to a simple tagline. 

A tagline is a brief phrase that captures what your brand is all about. 

Uber – Move The Way You Want

Apple – Think Different

Amazon – Work Hard, Have Fun, Make History

Slack – Be Less Busy

Nike – Just Do It

SAVAGE TIPS FOR CREATING YOUR TAGLINEaline (8)

  • Keep it simple, 2 to 6 words
  • Explain your offering
  • It should be intriguing 
  • It should be unique 
  • Keep the focus on your audience, not your company
  • Be positive

Now that you have your target market and brand positioning figured out it’s time to build out your brand guidelines.

STEP 3: Build Your Brand Guidelines

Purple book with stars coming out of itThe brand guidelines for your company is the story framework that is used by all internal and external entities to maintain consistency in everything your business projects and creates. 

Brand guidelines consist of a company name, logo, typography, and color scheme. 

COMPANY NAME

Every good story has a main character that resonates with their audience. The main character of your brand guidelines is the name of your company. 

SAVAGE TIPS FOR NAMING YOUR COMPANY

  • Choose a name that resonates with your target audience
  • The name should have meaning and/or convey a benefit
  • The name should sound good when said out loud
  • Don’t pick a name that can be limiting as your company grows
  • Conduct a thorough internet search
  • Test it out in Google AdWords
  • Check to see if the .com domain is available

Apple logoWhen Apple created the name of their company, they wanted to be inviting to their target audience, i.e. first time personal computer buyers in the late 70’s. Back then personal computers were a foreign object that were intimidating for first time buyers. In order to overcome the objections of their target audience they chose a name that was extremely familiar and not intimidating to buy. And there is nothing more familiar and less intimidating to buy than an apple. 

Once you decide on a name then it’s time to create a logo.

COMPANY LOGOA pen drawing a logo on a tag

Think of a logo like the clothing your main character would wear in the story. 

SAVAGE TIPS FOR CREATING A LOGO

  • Focus on simplicity
  • Use negative space to keep your logo design clean
  • Create visual salience with a pop of color
  • Your logo should be artistically balanced
  • Your logo should be created with vector software, so it is scalable
  • Stick to a two-dimensional design
  • Don’t use gradients, shadows, bevels, or emboss techniques
  • Have a version that includes your tagline

Nike's “swoosh” is one of the most famous logos in the world. It is a simple design that represents motion and speed. 

The negative space between the “E” and “X” forms a white arrow pointing to the right, as a reflection of the company’s purpose, which is movement and progress. Just like the silences in music are as important as the notes, the negative space in graphic design is as functional as the positive elements.

Now you have a main character that is outfitted with some sick drip it’s time to decide how the main character talks. This means deciding on the typography of your brand. 

TYPOGRAPHY

Aa typed outThe typography of your brand is the family of fonts that define your brand’s personality and captures your brand’s message. These elements play a crucial role in setting your brand apart from others and creating recognition in the mind of your consumers. 

SAVAGE TIPS FOR CHOOSING THE RIGHT TYPOGRAPHY

  • Select 2-3 fonts and determine use for headings, subheadings, and paragraphs.
  • Select fonts that are complementary and diverse. 
  • Make sure it’s legible. 
  • Don’t be afraid to tailor the kerning and line spacing.
  • Make sure the font captures the personality of your brand. 

Once you have selected your typography be sure to use it consistently across all marketing channels and collateral.

COLOR SCHEME

Three color pallets The last thing you need to do is give your main character his temperament. This is achieved by selecting the right color scheme for your brand. Typically, there will be 1-3 primary colors and 2-4 secondary colors that will comprise your brand color scheme. 

"Colors make a more definite statement than words." - Georgia O'Keeffe

Primary colors help consumers quickly identify a brand. These are the core colors of the brand and are usually incorporated into the company logo. 

Secondary colors highlight and compliment the primary colors. They provide flexibility and variety in your design. They are often used as accent colors for the website, on social media, and packaging but should be used far less than the primary colors. 

A color wheel with the primary colors at the centerBy assigning a color palette, you’re subconsciously creating psychological connections with your audience. Researching things like color theory and color psychology will help you understand what colors generate the precise emotion you are trying to achieve with your brand. 

If your brand is trying to convey strength you may want to lean into the colors like red and black, if your brand is trying to convey professionalism you may want to lean into different hues of blue. 

SAVAGE TIPS FOR SELECTING YOUR BRAND COLOR SCHEME

  • Choose colors that generate an emotional response
  • Embrace color theory and color psychology
  • Research your competition so you can differentiate
  • Utilize free online tools like Adobe Color CC or Color Code

STEP 4: Integrate Your Brand Everywhere

Now that you’ve built your brand it’s time to share it. All content that is associated with your business should be created using your brand guidelines; from your website, to social posts, packaging, etc.

A letter, notebook, coffee mug, and piece of paper to share your brand

Make your newly created brand guidelines easily available to all your internal employees and external vendors in order to maintain consistency across everything that you do.

Consistency is crucial when developing a strong brand. The more consistent you can be with your brand identity online and offline, the more familiar your company will feel to your audience.

Conclusion

A consistent and well thought out brand is the foundation for any business that wants to be successful. 

STEP 1: Research Your Target Audience

STEP 2: Position Your Business

STEP 3: Build Your Brand Guidelines

STEP 4: Integrate Your Brand Everywhere


if you need help...

Building a brand isn't the easiest thing in the world, it takes time and hard work! If you find yourself stuck in the process the experts at Savage Media are happy to help get you started!

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