I believe every business can benefit from going through the online brand building process.
It’s one reason I remain passionate about branding after all these years!
Here’s the thing …
Building a successful brand requires you to answer some thought-provoking questions.
If you want your online brand to succeed, there are a handful of things you must have complete clarity about.
And that clarity will help you in almost every area of your business, now and in the future.
It will impact:
- The kind of customers you work to attract with your marketing
- The visual brand design you develop
- The types of products or services you create
- The “voice” you use for both your copywriting and content marketing
But, let’s back up. In this article, I’m going to share what building an online brand requires. I’ll give you plenty of resources to read for more information. And I’ll show you how you can learn more — for free.
Let’s start with a definition so we know we’re all on the same page …
What does online brand building mean?
To answer this question, let’s start with what a brand is not.
- A brand is not your logo.
- A brand is not your tagline.
- A brand is not your advertising.
All of these things form part of how your brand is perceived. But your brand is much larger than the sum of these parts.
Here’s my favorite definition:Your brand is how your business shows up in the world to serve a specific group of people.Click To Tweet
Online brand building means …
- Knowing who you want to reach with your brand
- Create messages — both visual and verbal — that appeal to that person
- Using the power of time to build brand recognition and brand equity
Online brand building means answering thought-provoking questions
What I love about the branding process is that creating a brand obligates you to answer some pretty profound questions about your business, often before you’ve started building it.
And re-branding your business gives you the opportunity to answer those same profound questions over again.
Let’s go through these essential brand-building questions one by one.
1. Do you know your ideal customer?
Who do you want to help?If you want to build an online brand that attracts your ideal kind of customer, you must visualize that person first!Click To Tweet
We’re not talking about the typical demographic information here, either. You want to identify:
- People who have a challenging problem your business can help them solve
- People who are aware they have a problem — and know they want to solve it
- People who can afford to solve this problem
This step in the branding process is easy to rush — but resist the urge!
It’s essential to spend time really thinking this through. If you don’t target the right customer from the start, you could head off in the wrong direction and spend years pursuing a customer who doesn’t know they have a problem, or isn’t willing to pay to solve the problem they know they have.
So much of this step means eliminating certain people so you can focus on others. See below for resources to inspire you.
Have you been in business for a while and have decided to focus on a different ideal customer?
This can happen as your business evolves over time. Maybe you discover unmet needs, or a group of people who aren’t being served with currently available products or services.
Once you are 100% clear on who you want to serve, you’ll need to answer an important question …
2. Will you build a personal brand, a business brand, or a hybrid of both?
Personal brands revolve around a person — or small group of people — and their charisma and personalities.
There’s a lot to recommend personal brands — when you build your brand around you, it gives you the ultimate flexibility in terms of what you offer. As your interests and skills change, so can your products and services.
On the other hand, it can be challenging to sell a business that’s built around a personal brand if that’s a priority for you. And as the “face” of the brand, you might find it challenging to step away from your business.
It’s an important decision. Use the resources below to help choose the right kind of brand for you.
3. Online brand building starts with a business name
Once you know who you want to reach and how you want to show up for them, it’s time to pinpoint the words you’ll use to describe your business.
This means finding a business name and tagline that resonate with the customers you want to reach. This isn’t a time to be clever — aim for clarity over all!
4. Did you choose your brand fonts?
You don’t need a logo in order to have a recognizable brand.
But you should have some recognizable fonts that “speak” to your ideal customer. If you followed the link to the brand personality quiz above, you’ll have an idea about what kind of fonts you should use to communicate your brand.
Here’s brand font 101 in a few sentences …
You really only need a single font. For clarity and ease, you shouldn’t choose more than two brand fonts. And any fonts used in your logo (if you happen to have one) don’t count toward the total.
For the sake of this branding step, we’re talking about the fonts you’ll use on your online business home base — your website.
If you’ve never chosen fonts before, never fear. Follow the tips in the resources below and you’ll find great fonts to represent your online business.
Hot on the heels of your font choice is a decision about your brand colors. Sound daunting? I’ve got you covered. Read on.
5. Did you choose your brand colors?
Color speaks to your idea customer at a visceral, emotional level. It’s powerful stuff! And it’s easy to get wrong.
A short course in choosing great brand colors?
Aim for two to start. Add an accent color that you’ll use sparingly to draw attention.
Begin choosing brand colors with the resources below.
Build your brand now to get time on your side
Here’s the element of brand identity design no one talks about …
Brand equity is built over time. The sooner you make these simple brand choices, the better.