So you want to start your own business. How will your company differ from others in the same industry? Who will your services or products serve best? How will you market your company to maximize your success? It is almost impossible to answer any of these questions without creating and defining your brand identity. A brand identity consists of your company’s values, the image associated with your company, and how you will communicate the need for your services or products. Your brand identity is essentially your company’s personality.

Follow this step-by-step guide to building your company’s brand image:

1. Establish a purpose/mission

The first thing you will need in order to build your brand’s identity is a purpose. Your brand’s purpose, also known as a mission, is the main goal of your company. What are you trying to achieve? How are you going to achieve it? The ideas that formulate your mission will become the foundation for every other aspect of your brand.

Once you have thought about what your brand’s purpose is, you will need to be able to put it in writing with a concise mission statement. Some questions to consider when writing your mission statement include:

  • Why does my company exist?
  • How is my company different from others?
  • What problem does my company solve?
  • Why should people care?

2. Determine who your audience is

When building your brand, you will need to figure out who exactly you are catering to. It will be very difficult to strategize the best marketing campaigns if you don’t know who will benefit the most from your product or services. The key to standing out above your competitors is to target a specific audience. For instance, if your brand’s current target audience is “moms,” consider narrowing it down to “single moms.” This way, consumers will be able to pinpoint your brand out of all of the similar ones.

3. Research competitor brands

You never want to copy exactly what other brands are doing in the industry. However, it is important that you take a look at what some of your biggest competing brands are doing in regard to color schemes, social media outreach, and marketing techniques. You’ll want to see what works and what doesn’t so that you know what to implement into your own brand. This is also a great opportunity to see what is missing in the industry so that you can capitalize on new ways to reach your audience.

An effective way to keep track of your competing brands is to keep a spreadsheet. You can use Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, or even just a notebook. Find 3 or 4 of your biggest competitors and create a list of categories for each brand. Examples include: message and visuals, quality of products/services, review and mentions, and marketing efforts. Keeping this spreadsheet up to date is important to help you stay knowledgeable and continue to make your company stand out in a unique way.

4. Create a brand voice

A brand voice is how you will communicate with consumers and how they will communicate with you. Your brand’s voice is dependent on your brand’s mission, products and services offered, and target audience. If you have a high-end brand geared toward corporate CEO’s, you may want a brand voice that is more formal and professional. If your brand is casual and geared toward student athletes, you may want to use a more laid-back brand voice.

Your brand voice could be any of the following and more:

  • Professional
  • Friendly
  • Service-oriented
  • Authoritative
  • Technical
  • Promotional
  • Conversational
  • Informative

Be sure to choose your brand voice wisely because it will be used in all aspects of your brand, and can make or break the effectiveness of communication with your consumers.

When you think of building your brand identity, one of the first things that may come to mind is a logo. Some would say that your logo is the most important part of your brand’s identity. This logo is going to be everywhere: your website, social media, flyers, business cards, company vehicles, and on the exterior and interior of your headquarters. While it is arguably the most important part of your brand’s identity, it’s also probably one of the most exciting parts of building your brand. Given that your logo will become almost synonymous with your brand as a whole, you should invest the money and time to create something that is special and unique. It may be wise to hire a professional graphic designer or branding agency to help create the perfect logo. They will have the knowledge and expertise on what colors and typography will properly transfer to different platforms.

6. Market your brand through social media

Another great way to establish your brand identity is by using social media to market your products and services and connect directly with consumers. Use social media to display your logo, color scheme, tagline, and brand voice. It should be consistent throughout all of your social media pages. When a consumer mentions or tags you with questions or concerns, you can publicly boost your brand reputation by responding promptly.

7. Integrate your new brand identity into all aspects of your business

Now that you have defined your brand identity, you need make sure that it is consistent in all of the places that represent your brand. Your logo, color scheme, tagline, and brand voice should be present on your website, social media, and merchandise. If elements of your brand don’t match up across the board, consumers may have trouble identifying who you are. Also, a consistent brand image will establish a feeling of professionalism.

Building a a great and effective brand identity requires a lot of dedication, planning, hard work, and organization. By following these steps, you will be able to take your business to the next level. If you and your team stay educated on how to refine your brand, continue to be inspired by other companies, and stay equipped with the necessary tools, then the sky is the limit on what you and company can achieve.

A website is an essential tool for standing out in a crowded marketplace. A website has all the functionality you need to keep in touch with past customers, schedule estimates with potential customers and collect payment, in an easy-to-use format.