Branding refers to the perceived image and the emotional response to a company, its products, and its services. An identity describes the visual devices used to represent the company. Identity systems are visual components that are paired with style guidelines and are used as a framework to ensure the company’s image is cohesive and consistent. People tend to assume that branding is just for big companies, but it’s not. Pretty much everyone is a brand meaning you have to invest time in building your brand, whether you are a big company or a start-up/micro-entrepreneur.
Step 1: Create your business plan
What to include in your business plan?
This is by far the most important thing that you should do first. Why you may ask? Well, a business plan helps you create a foundation for your business and pretty much helps you stay focused. It also helps you establish what it is that you really want to do with your business and state all your goals for your business.
When I started my business, I didn’t have a business plan, to be frank. And that made me so confused and disorganized when starting out because, yes, I had the ideas in my head, but I didn’t write them down in a way that would help me work on my goals step by step. I didn’t realize the importance of having a business plan until I had one. I felt so at peace and I had something to go back to whenever I needed a reference pertaining to my business.
Here is what I have found to be effective when included in your business plan:
- A mission statement
- Your purpose or vision for your business
- Your products and services offerings
- The market-who are you selling to?
- Your ideal customer can also be your target audience
- Your competitors
- The current trends in the market
- Your SWOT analysis(strength, weaknesses, opportunities, threats
- Your marketing plan-how you intend to grow your business
- The financials
Step 2: Discover your brand
This is the most crucial part of building your business because your brand is what people will see and connect with. In this step, you will walk away knowing who you really are and your brand, what you stand for, your purpose for your business, and a whole bunch of awesome stuff!
This was my favorite part of building my brand and identity. I got to discover a whole bunch of useful stuff that I still use to run my business to this day.
What you will discover?
I love this step because you get to:
- Know yourself as a person and how to incorporate that in your brand and use it in your copy like in your about page on your website!
- Know your special gift
- Know your business like the story of your business and your mission statement
- Know your market and pinpoint your niche aka establishing your target audience
- Finding your dream customer and how you can help her
- Your peers aka your competitors or people you admire in your industry
- Find your inspiration from your role models
- Find your purpose like what do you stand for? Stand against?
- Find your why-why did you start your business?
- Find your cause by establishing your core principles and making your brand a beacon of hope for whatever it is that you stand for
Step 3: Creating your Identity
Here is where you get to build the visuals for your brand that will set you apart from the rest and represent what your brand really is and your business will have a purpose!
What’s included in the Brand Identity creation?
Here you will walk away knowing how to create:
- Your brand keywords
- Your tone and voice
- Your inspiration board
- Your logo + variations
- Your brand colors
- Your brand fonts
- Your graphics like background, icons, patterns
- Your photography style
Step 4: Putting together your brand identity system
Identity systems are visual components that are paired with style guidelines and are used as a framework to ensure the company’s image is cohesive and consistent
How would it feel to be able to have your brand identity system in place? Yeah! That is how I felt after incorporating everything from the above steps and creating it into one identity package that will be used in:
- Your brand stationery
- Marketing collateral like brochures
- Digital projects
These are all the exact steps I used when starting my business and creating my brand and identity. I found them to be very effective and really fun + challenging to do. If I could do this, you can too!
Let me know how the steps go for you. I’d really love to know!