How to Start a Brand: Everything You Need to Know
When you think of how to start a brand and build a solid business, you likely think of how that business took the necessary steps to become a household name.8 min read
Updated November 12, 2020:
How to Start a Brand
When you think of how to start a brand and build a solid business, you likely think of how that business took the necessary steps to become a household name. Strong branding is an integral part of any great brand exposure and company success story. The branding guidance that is often found on websites or is transferred orally will usually focus on ensuring that your brand is continually consistent in its marketing efforts or continues to improve, if it is an already established business.
For a business that is just starting its operation, the most important first step is to identify the target market for your business. More specifically, brand owners need to understand their target demographic as casting a net that is too wide is a futile exercise. By casting a wide net, you will likely end up becoming less relevant to the individuals within that group, so it is definitely better to start with a demographic group or two and then expand slowly after due time has passed.
Another tip to understand and appreciate is to learn from your competitors’ brands. By evaluating your competition, you can learn about the required marketing in the industry in which you operate by observing what has been successful and what has not worked. Through this studying exercise, you can observe what their logo choices were. How they differed from others in the marketplace. Of course, you should never copy a logo or take any of the qualities of the brand and copy them, but you should certainly understand the brand’s motivation surrounding the choices and use those qualities as the next step in your process.
The third tip for those looking to start a brand is to focus on those unique differences between you and your competitors. These differentiators are what individuals will identify your brand that will make it unique. For example, if your unique difference is that your prices are lower than all your competitors, you should emphasize that fact in your branding. Your goal is to try to make your brand stand out from your competitors.
The fourth tip that is usually provided to those starting a brand is to define the brand as a noun or a person. Once you have targeted your market, study your competitors, look at our unique differences, you want to begin brainstorming how you would define our brand as a human being rather than just some logo. Along these lines:
- If your startup was a human being, what type of human would your brand be?
- What kind of clothes would your brand where?
- How would your brand speak?
- What is your brand’s favorite movie or favorite dish?
While some of these questions seem silly and may never actually be asked by your consumers, it will help you come up with a more precise understanding of your brand.
The fifth tip offered to startup entrepreneurs is the need to apply our brand’s personality to many areas of marketing. When you begin applying your brand, this might end up translating into a more tangible, practical area of marketing strategy. Such questions around personality may include:
- What are the colors that would associate with the brand?
- What do you envision your logo to look like visually?
- In what manner will the voice of the brand come across in promo materials?
- Lastly, startup entrepreneurs are asked to generally envision the personification of their brand as a person engaging with members of their target demographic, how would you make such an approach?
While these questions may not be easy to answer, all can agree that answering them is a critical step in the process of establishing the essence of your brand.
The last tip any successful entrepreneur would need to focus on is embracing the idea of getting help when necessary. Unless you are an entrepreneur with a degree in graphic design or creative marketing, you are likely not going to do a better job or add value to your brand. Engaging with an expert can go a long way to ensuring that all on your team are thinking in line with the brand. Hiring a dedicated professional with the experience you lack will lead your company to establish a quality brand for the company.
The Basics of Branding
If you were asked to name various important business aspects for your business would you have answered with branding? No matter the size of your business, having an effective brand will go a long way in a competitive marketplace to establishing your company. A brand is impactful to customers as it is virtually a promise to the customer that they can expect high quality from your company’s services and product offerings. More importantly, branding will allow your company to further differentiate its product offerings and services from those of your competitors as the brand will allow your consumers to look into the soul of your company to understand who you are, how people perceive your company, and what you want your company to be.
The brand logo will serve as its foundation upon which your web presence, product packaging, and other promotional materials should bear. A successful business will integrate its logo while connecting and communicating the logo with the brand. A fairly straightforward approach to brand strategy is to answer the questions of what, where, why, when, how, and to whom is your company trying to deliver its brand messages. Choosing the mode and manner of advertisement is an important element of your brand strategy. How you choose to distribute your product offerings and services is also an element of brand strategy. Another element of brand strategy is the manner in which your company communicates verbally and visually, strong communication leads to strong branding equity. Branding equity refers to the value added to your company’s product offerings and services, which in turn will allow your company to charge consumers more for your branded products than a generic, identical unbranded product would yield in the marketplace.
Defining Your Brand
If you have succeeded in following all the aforementioned tips, you must focus your attention on defining your brand to be truly successful. This process can be both uncomfortable and time-consuming as it will often require you to answer difficult questions about your company.
- What is the mission?
- Detail for us the features and benefits of the company product offerings and services.
- What do the company’s customers think about the company currently?
- What qualities of your company do you truly want to be associated with your company?
Answering all these questions can be complex and challenging. Like with graphic design or creative marketing, there are experts a company can engage for assistance. The good news is that once your brand has been defined, you must then focus on how to communicate your brand’s message. Do you place your great logo everywhere? Do you create a tagline for your brand to integrate with the brand’s voice? During this stage, it is important for the company to stay true to its vision and strategy for the brand and remain consistent in this approach.
Costs of Starting a Clothing Brand
The costs associated with starting a brand can be quite high given the amount of effort needed as well as the likely need to engage with experts in specific areas of the industry. It may help if you have quite a few famous friends or you are surrounded by important figures, if not, your company will need to be prepared to access a substantial amount of funding.
Let’s focus on a clothing brand for this example. For those startup entrepreneurs who desire to start a clothing brand, but do not yet have enough capital to open a physical store location, the most important step to do would be to focus on creating a web presence, which itself will not be cheap, but it will allow you demonstrate to others that you are serious about your brand and willing to invest in it.
Using experts along the way to really strengthen your brand’s impact and presence to your demographic is key, and the importance of photography cannot be understated in this regard. Hiring a professional photographer will allow the manner in which your products appear to be consistently presented. Once you have a branded product that is ready for the main stage, you need to ensure that you slowly introduce your product as a test to see exactly how your product will perform in the marketplace. You may think you have the best idea on earth, but until you actually see the results from the market test, you will not know what products are selling well and what products are not. Along these lines, your branded product must focus on quality. Why would you sell a product that was not quality? Generally, consumers will spend money on quality goods, so you as the brand owner should not cut corners on the quality. Utilize professionals if your desire is for your brand to be regarded in a serious manner, the saying you need to spend money to make money is certainly true when it comes to branding.
Ways to Start Your Own Brand
Now that you are at this point in the process, you need to get your product on the internet. Applying for a domain name is the way to start building your only presence. Domain names that are the length of one or two words generally lend themselves to being more easily remembered than domain names of a longer length. Another way to start your own brand would be to obtain an email address that contains your domain name. Once you have a domain name and email, you need to begin putting content on your website. There is an ample number of free web design templates available, or you could always hire a professional relatively inexpensively who can set up a website very quickly and you can start getting materials up on the site to promote your business and brand. After these steps, you should get some professional headshots taken using an updated picture of yourselves, you should dress professionally and avoid wearing any obnoxious patterns, white or stripes. As a brand owner, you must focus on the infinite ways in which you can continually get the word out to the marketplace that you have a brand, and you are a brand owner who is professional and with whom they would be fortunate to do business.
One way to accomplish this is to obtain some business cards to start your branding, but you must be certain to put your website’s name on the business card, no matter if your website consists of solely a landing page. Take advantage of the space available and use both sides of the business card. Consider putting your headshot on the business cards because it has been demonstrated through research studies that consumers are less likely to discard promotional/marketing materials if there happens to be a photo on it.
The last tip for starting your own brand is to make sure you have established a social media presence. Of course, at the present time, social media is a vital and powerful tool to reach consumers. Most people cannot live without the use of social media. It has become ingrained in every aspect of our lives. Websites such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other blogs are examples of social media sites that can be leveraged to really sell your brand as these tools allow for you as the brand owner to link various social media sites together to get broader brand exposure.
If you need help understanding how to start a brand, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts on the top 5 percent to its site. Lawyers from UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.