The Do’s and Don’ts of Branding

by | May 31, 2021

You always hear the term “branding” in business, but do we really know what it means? We know it’s important, but could you define it if asked? Many of us can probably recognize the top brands but what does it mean for an entrepreneur like you? No matter the type of business you own, it’s important to develop a unique brand and stay consistent.

Let’s start by defining the word branding. According to Indeed, “Branding is the process where a business makes itself known to the public and differentiates itself from competitors. Branding typically includes a phrase, design or idea that makes it easily identifiable to the public.” In other words, it’s a way to distinguish your business from others. An effective branding strategy can help customers remember you and provide a cohesive set of standards for employees to follow.

Now that we know what branding is, we can start to discuss why it’s so important and the do’s and don’ts of creating an effective branding strategy

DO: Evaluate your company beforehand.

Branding seems simple enough but it’s a lot more complicated than it looks. It requires you to take inventory of your company’s standards and values and determine what sets you apart. Before determining a branding strategy, you may want to ask yourself:

  • What are our company values and mission?
  • Where do we see the future of this company?
  • What is our competitive advantage?

This is a preliminary step you can take as it should help shape your branding strategy. It’s easy to just arbitrarily pick colors and themes but evaluating your business beforehand should help you to develop a creative brand that will really resonate with your audience.

DON’T: Jump into branding blind.

The whole process of branding may be intimidating to someone who has never done it before. There are quite a few things one needs to consider and sometimes it’s hard to know where to start but research can always help point you in the right direction. No matter your amount of experience, a business owner should always take the time to research their audience, market, and business. It’s never a good idea to start the branding process blind. As with almost anything else, you will want to have some idea about if your message will land before making any final decisions.

DO: Tell an authentic story with your brand.

Your story truly defines who you are. It tells your customers what you are about and why you do what you do and really draws on the emotions you can ignite in your audience. It’s an opportunity to distinguish you from other brands and create relatability and authenticity which helps to build trust within your community of customers. Be sure to stay true to your story and sell it the best you can.

 DON’T: Go with a generic branding strategy.

It may be tempting when you first start out to implement a generic branding strategy. Maybe you have noticed common themes and trends within the industry and want to develop a strategy that speaks to a wide range of customers. Instead of trying to appeal to everyone, consider a brand that’s well thought out and create a loyal following.

DO: Check in with your customers/audience.

It’s important to know how your brand is resonating with your audience. Every so often, you can check in with your audience in the form of surveys, reviews or even interviews. Take this opportunity to ask focused questions that will allow you to glean the information you’re looking for. Once you have assessed your surveys and reviews and/or interviewed an appropriate amount of your audience, you can apply all appropriate comments to further improve your brand.

DON’T: Work in a silo.

When you’re first starting out, you will, of course, be focused mainly on your message/product and brand but once you have established yourself in the market, it’s important to be constantly engaging with your audience. It’s easy to simple rely on your expertise to gauge how your business is doing but how will you really know without asking?

DO: Stay consistent.

Once you have developed your brand, you will want to make sure you’re staying consistent. This means consistency with colors, voice, messaging, etc. Remember, your brand is your story and identity so don’t confuse your audience by switching up every couple of years. Even if you don’t feel like your brand is resonating with customers initially, it’s important to give it some time, analyze your variables and make note of potential opportunities. If you don’t give the process an adequate amount of time, you may find yourself without the appropriate amount of data to really analyze your business.

DON’T: Give up.

This can be a difficult and somewhat lengthy process but when done correctly, it’s like magic. Many of the most successful brands did not become that way overnight. It took many years, stumbles, and fine tuning before they became a branding powerhouse. Don’t give up! This process may require you to make corrections, think on your feet and adapt quickly to change but if you’re passionate about what you do, you should never give up.

Branding can be complicated but it’s certainly not impossible with the right resources and knowledge. Keeping in mind these do’s and don’ts should help guide you in creating the perfect brand for your business.

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