1. Be clear about who your target audience is.
You can't be effective with branding if you don't have an accurate picture of who your target audience is. Take the time to develop buyer personas, and there's a very good chance that you'll have more than one. When you know exactly who you're trying to reach with your marketing, you'll be able to tailor your branding strategy to meet their needs.
2. Define your mission statement.
If you want to become a brand that consumers trust, you need to define your overall mission. What value will your business provide to consumers? Come up with a clear statement about what your business is passionate about. Once you define your mission statement, everything about your brand--from your logo design and tagline to your message and personality--needs to reflect your mission.
This is a great time to also come up with your elevator pitch, which should consist of one to two sentences that convey the value that your business offers. Your elevator pitch should go beyond your mission statement and establish an emotional connection with the consumer.
3. Outline the qualities and benefits that your business offers.
Taking the time to outline the qualities and benefits that your business offers will help you determine what sets you apart from the competition. Maybe you'll offer transparent and authentic customer service or a more affordable product option than the competition. Be aware of whatever makes your business unique and make that a component of your branding strategy.
4. Create a company logo.
Your choice of logo design is the visual representation of what your brand stands for. You can think of your logo as your calling card and the promise of what your brand holds.
While many small businesses are operating within tight marketing budgets, investing in professional logo design is a smart move. A graphic designer can help to develop brand guidelines and ensure that your logo is vector to provide consistency with future application of the logo. In short, logo design is not something you can afford to get wrong.
5. Make your brand a part of every aspect of your business.
Your branding strategy needs to be visible in every aspect of your business, whether the customer sees it or not. All tangible marketing pieces--from your business card to the way that you package products--need to contain your logo. When a customer steps foot in your place of business, your brand needs to be evident in the environment that you establish and the interactions that you have with customers. The content that you share on website needs to include a voice, message, and personality that is consistent with your brand.
In summary, taking the time to build a solid brand for your business right out of the gate will transform you from a small player in the industry into a successful competitor. Using these best practices will help you to establish a brand that is consistent in every aspect of the way that your company operates.