Have you ever stopped to consider what a “brand” actually is? It isn’t just distinctive imagery—no one would think that McDonald’s is entirely summed up by two golden arches. No, your company’s brand is the image it puts forth; its personality and its story. Proper branding is essential to letting customers know who you are and what your company stands for. But how do you do this? The following tips might help you develop your brand and reel those customers in!
#1: Be passionate about what you are doing. The single most important part of entrepreneurship is passion. If you don’t care about the product or service you provide, you won’t be able to endure the hard times. More importantly, your customers will be able to tell the difference between someone who loves what they do and someone who hates it—or even someone who just doesn’t care. Choose a field that makes you excited to go into work, and make that enthusiasm a distinctive part of your brand.
#2: Define your purpose. Once you start working on what you love, determine what it is you want to do. You may love drawing pictures or making stuffed animals, but how will that translate into a product or service that people want to pay you for? Whom will you target, and what benefit will they get from what you offer? Know what you have set out to do, and work every day at providing that specific service.
#3: Emphasize the intangibles that your company offers. Beyond your simple purpose, think about what else your company offers. Someone can get a book from Amazon for next to nothing; they will pay extra at an independent bookstore because of its atmosphere, because they know the owner, or simply because they like to support small businesses. The benefit that a newer company has over a giant corporation is that you can forge your own story and reach people on a personal level. Inspire them with your story, impress them with your singular skill, or simply entertain them with something special and you will create a truly special experience.
#4: Focus on what makes your company unique. It can be tempting to sell yourself as a one-stop shop, where people can accomplish all their needs without having to give their money to anyone else. Resist this temptation. There are already enough stores that offer a wide variety of services. Instead, study your field and focus on one aspect with high demand—custom-made pizzas, hand-designed t-shirts, jewelry made from local materials. By offering a specialty service and becoming the master of that art, you will attract far more attention than a generalist and earn the respect and business of your audience.
#5: Be useful. Most importantly, do something that people want and need. Even more than originality, what you need to focus on is providing a service to your customers that they will find useful and worth their money. The best way to do this is to choose your target demographic, identify a problem that they have, and then devise a solution that you can market. Even if it has been done before, by following the other tips mentioned above, you will set yourself apart from your competition and begin developing brand recognition.
These are not all the steps that can be taken to create a recognizable brand. Catchy phrases, likeable characters, and memorable iconography will all certainly contribute towards the successful branding and marketing of your company. If you focus on the five steps above—passion, purpose, intangibles, uniqueness, and utility—you will be well on your way to creating living, dynamic brand and an enthusiastic customer base!