Hi there! If you’re reading an article called “Branding for Beginners,” I’m thinking that creating a brand identity by yourself seems a little daunting to you.
If that’s the case, I’m here to tell you that …
I know you can do this.
Because you care more than anyone else about how your brand turns out.
For more on this, see this
rant post, Why You Shouldn’t Trust Your Brand to Anyone Else.
If you’re ready to create a brand identity for your business but you don’t know where to start, this branding for beginners post shares branding tips you can use to take your first baby steps.
Let’s do this!
Watch This Before You Create Your Brand
Before you do a deep dive into branding, watch the video below. I’ll show you why you should spend some time working with your ideal customers first.
The coaching in this video will save you time and energy — and help you create a brand that will attract the customers you most want to work with.
Subscribe to my channel to get all my latest videos, hot off the digital press.
Branding for Beginners: How to create your brand identity
The steps below mimic the process that a designer would walk you through to create your brand.
Follow them one-by-one and you’ll be creating a brand for your business in no time.
1. Know Your Why: What is your brand’s purpose?
Before you begin creating a brand identity for your business, dig deep and find your motivation. Ask yourself:
- What do I want my brand to achieve?
- How long do I need this brand to last?
- What is my brand personality? (If you don’t know it, try this quick brand personality quiz.)
I call this “knowing your BIG motivation,” and here’s why it’s important.
Building a business is a long-term project. There will be plenty of up days and just as many down days.
Hang on! It’s like a roller coaster that you bought tickets to ride.
When you know your brand purpose — that BIG motivation for doing the work of branding your business — you’ll find that riding the roller coaster is easier.
You’ll still experience ups and downs while creating a brand for yourself, but you’ll know WHY you want to stick with it.
So get in touch with your “why,” your brand purpose, or your BIG motivation. Whatever you want to call it, it will help you do the work!
2. Know Your Who: Describe your ideal customer in detail
Before you put a single pixel on a screen, or draw the first faint trace of a line on paper, you must understand who you want to reach with your brand.
When you know your ideal customer inside and out, it’s much easier to create a brand that will resonate with them.
Here’s what you want to know about your ideal customer:
- Their age range: what age group do the majority of your customers fall into?
- Their gender: are there more men or women in the group you’re targeting?
- Their education level: is it high school, college, post-graduate?
- What type of employment they have. Are they self-employed, do they work for a corporation, do they own several business? Are they looking for work?
- Their lifestyle: how do they spend their work and leisure time?
- Their challenges: what do they struggle with? And how can you help them?
Even if you don’t have a single customer lined up, imagine who your perfect customer looks like.
Ask yourself, who needs the solution your business provides, and what are they like?
Use your imagination to flesh out a made-up perfect customer. Put yourself in their shoes and ask …
- What colors and fonts would that person respond to?
- Do they prefer companies that are traditional or modern? Approachable or distant?
- What products do they buy, websites do they visit, media do they consume?
- What’s their day-to-day life like? Imagine a perfect day for them — what do they do from the time they wake up until the time they go to bed?
Think long and hard about your ideal customer — even if you have to imagine them — and move on to the next step.
Related: Ideal Customer Finder
3. Know How: What brand elements will you use?
The verbal and visual elements you use to express your brand are next.
Spend some time deciding:
- What words you’ll use to express your offering. This includes your business name, tagline, and “brand promise,” the short text you’ll use to explain what your company does, who you serve and how you help them.
- What colors you’ll use. I recommend developing a color palette you can use in all of your branding elements. It’s versatile, flexible, and will give you the right color for every occasion.
- What fonts will represent your business. For more on choosing fonts, visit this article. Once you’ve chosen fonts, be sure to use them consistently on your website, in social media, and in any print materials you produce.
Once you’ve created these brand elements, your focus moves to spreading your brand message.
4. Know Which: What tools will you rely on to communicate your brand?
When you’re creating your brand yourself, take advantage of the inexpensive (and sometimes free) tools available:
- Open source website software like WordPress.org will help you create a website.
- Open source desktop software like OpenOffice.org will help you create branding materials like ebooks, web ads, graphics, and presentations.
- Online design and image creation is easy and inexpensive with PicMonkey.
- Social media gives you a free venue to share your brand. You pay with your time, of course, but it’s less expensive than taking out ads, and usually more effective, too.
The most important thing to keep in mind at this stage? Be sure to express your brand consistently.
People are exposed to brands all throughout their days. Make sure that every time your brand is in front of them it:
- Communicates with a “brand voice” that’s consistent and memorable
- Uses consistent visual elements like fonts and colors the same way each time
- Appears an a regular basis to keep your brand top-of-mind
5. Know More: How can you dig deep and expand your brand?
When you’re responsible for creating a brand identity for yourself, it’s important to maintain a “learner’s mind.”
Stay open and up-to-date with what’s working to build memorable brands today. Like visual marketing!
Editor’s note: This post was orignially published on August 8, 2012, and has been updated with new content.