How to build a brand when just starting out

I work with a lot of new business owners when they’re just getting started. One of the most frequent questions I get is, “When am I supposed to start working on my brand?” or worse yet, “Do I really need a brand if I’m just starting out or still small?” The answer is always an emphatic “Heck yeah!”

I work with a lot of new business owners when they’re just getting started. One of the most frequent questions I get is, “When am I supposed to start working on my brand?” or worse yet, “Do I really need a brand if I’m just starting out or still small?”  The answer is always an emphatic “Heck yeah!”

Your brand should always be your focus from the start. That’s why I’m going to show you how to build a brand from the get go.

If your intention as a business owner is to build profit margins, have the option to sell, scale, franchise, or legacy gift, then a strong brand is a must. But here’s the thing: you don’t have to have your brand completely figured out or perfected before you open your doors. As you will soon find out, a brand is always evolving. There will never be a point in time where you can or should stop actively working on your brand. And that’s great - because most of us entrepreneurs are natural creators. The trick is to be building towards the evolving vision, rather than just creating a ton of different designs and hoping one will be the magic pill your brand needs to take off.

There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to building a brand. That’s why it’s so dang hard for most business owners to create a cohesive and desirable brand. Couple that with all the other responsibilities that come with a new business, plus trying to figure out the ins and outs of marketing, not to mention working out production kinks - and you can easily find yourself overwhelmed.  It’s a jungle out there, folks.

To help simplify your process, I’m going to walk you through the first three steps of how to build a brand - and brand power - without spending a fortune (or losing your mind).

How to Build a Brand in 3 Steps

1. Begin with Your Brand Identity

The first thing most businesses do when they decide to open is to spend a fortune on logos and graphics. What they should really be doing is nailing down their identity. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen a logo close a deal. Now, don’t get me wrong - logos, fonts, and graphics are all important. However, they should function as a reinforcement of your brand identity as a whole.

Think of it like a house. The decor certainly makes it a home, but you have to first build the house before you can decorate.  

Understanding what specifically you have to offer, aside from your commodity, will help your ideal audience really connect with you on a fundamental basis. This is the foundation for loyalty, and that “tribe” effect we all want for our business.

2. Get to Know Your Audience

When you think of your offer, I’ll bet you can come up with a variety of groups of people that would benefit from your products or services. However, just because someone qualifies for your product or “needs” your product doesn’t necessarily mean they desire it or are ready to buy it.

The best thing you can do for yourself when you are just starting out is to take the time to get to know your audience. Whether it’s surveys, social media polls, or even taking leads out for coffee, your primary goal is to connect with your potential customers.

The best customer research isn’t strictly limited to what they would buy or how much they would pay. To get insight on their emotional buying state or psychographic triggers, it’s important to know why they would or would not buy and specifically what their frustration points are. As you begin to compile this information, you will start to get a clear and powerful sense of who you are and who you are meant to serve. That alignment is crucial for brand scale-ability.

3. Find Your Signature Offer

Often times, we feel like the more offers we put in front of people, the greater our chances of making a sale. According to neuroeconomics, however, the opposite is true.  When we throw our hundreds of flavors or service packages at would-be customers, we overwhelm them and their FOMO (fear of missing out) actually prevents them from making a decision.

I’m not saying that you should only sell one thing, just that you should only LEAD with one thing. When we are spreading our marketing and messaging dollars over too many marketing channels, it’s hard to make a big splash. However, when you harness all that power into promoting the best aligned offer for your audience, you can generate buzz in record time. Most big brands started with one signature offer and built a following around that. It’s from that starting point that you can create your empire. Draw them in with your signature offer and then let them explore what else you have for them.

In the busy world of entrepreneurship, it can be easy to get caught up in the idea of increasing sales and scaling fast. The most important thing for you to remember is that in order to scale successfully and leverage marketing power, you first need to slow down. Figure out how to build a brand blueprint that will serve as a guide to growing your market.

If you would like more information on how you can develop your brand, click here to schedule an appointment.