The life of entrepreneurs is anything but easy. Whether it be fleshing out their vision into reality, accumulating capital, or managing the various facets of running a business, they have a lot on their plate.
Small businesses form an integral part of the world economy. According to the Hill, there are more than 582 million entrepreneurs in the world! Yet, as per the Office of Advocacy, 22.5 percent of small businesses fail within the first year.
If you are one of them, it is understandable that you may feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things you must do for your brand. To make things simpler and easier for you, here is a list of essential steps you must take. Tackle it all, step by step, and your startup will surely succeed against the odds.
Know your audience
You cannot create a brand that resonates with people unless you know who you are trying to attract. As an entrepreneur, the first thing you must do to define and understand your target audience.
This step should ideally come before product development and after idea generation. Once you know the general niche you wish to enter, conduct market research to understand the plights, desires, and demographics of the audience of the given sector.
You will then be able to detect which need of the target audience you can best satisfy. Always pick a need that has yet not been satisfied.
Take Apple as an example. It came up with the first modern smartphone by detecting the latent need for instant communication among phone users.
Conduct surveys, focus groups, and interviews on understanding your audience. Once you know who you are serving, you can proceed to build a brand that your audience will like.
Have a clear and refined brand purpose
Before you begin worrying about the design elements of your brand, or even your product, you must first think about the purpose of your brand.
Note that the purpose of a brand is different from the product it offers. While the latter is a commodity, the former is an experience and a promise.
In today’s time, where there are a plethora of similar products to choose from, the brand purpose is what motivates customers to purchase from certain brands. For starters, Accenture reports that 64 percent of global consumers find brands that reiterate their purpose consistently to be worthy of purchase.
Why does it matter? Well, a brand purpose helps a business in differentiating itself from others as well as relating to customers on a deeper level.
Take the footwear industry as an example. There are various key players in the market, including Nike and Puma. However, Nike’s purpose of bringing innovation and inspiration to all athletes, whereby athletes are wittingly defined by the brand as anyone with a body, helps Nike in having a distinct purpose.
This purpose is then channeled through both its products as well as marketing efforts. Hence, the branding effort allows the business to have a clear vision.
For an entrepreneur, refining a brand purpose from the get-go would help in sketching out a long-term persona of the brand. It will also help you define your scope, target audience, and the need you wish to serve.
Design a logo
For every category in the world, the chances are that you can remember a handful of logos of the key players of the sector. For instance, when you think of the beverage industry, you picture the Coca Cola and Pepsi logo. When you consider delivery services, FedEx may come to your mind.
This is the power of an effective logo. A logo acts as an identifier of a business. Keeping in mind that, as reported by Daily Blogging, 42 percent of US consumers rely on logos for gauging a brand’s personality, and people form first impressions of a brand within the first 90 seconds, it is safe to conclude that a logo is important.
When designing a logo, you must be very careful. You need to ensure that your symbol is:
- Relevant to your business and brand purpose
- Memorable to ensure high brand recognition and recall
- Simple to be easily remembered.
- Scalable so that it can be easily reflected across marketing collaterals.
- Timeless to ensure that you don’t have to drastically change your logo a lot, which may hamper brand associations.
Even though entrepreneurs are strapped for cash, this is one aspect of building a brand you must invest in. You can hire an in-house designer or choose experts from agencies like Logo Design Valley to ensure that you create the perfect logo.
Implement brand integration
There is more to creating a brand than designing its logo and clarifying its purpose. Instead, these things are just the beginning. To attract customers and to truly achieve your brand purpose, you must integrate your branding efforts across all aspects of your startup.
According to Forbes, consistent branding can help boost revenue by 33 percent! It also allows entrepreneurs to create a distinct brand personality.
For instance, let’s say that you function within the apparel sector, and your brand purpose is to promote sustainable fashion. The ideal tone of voice for such a brand is transparent, honest, and sincere. Now, this personality can only be sketched out if all aspects of your startup embody it. This includes your marketing efforts, your product development, and customer support, etc.
You must ensure sustainability in your marketing efforts by having a social media presence that promotes the same. Similarly, you should be mindful of the material you use in marketing. Similarly, using eco-friendly bags in your store can help your actual operations be aligned with your mission. How you deal with complaints should also reflect your desire to be transparent.
Integrate your personality and tone across the board to truly create a brand that everyone wholeheartedly welcomes.
Just like there is a lot to do in terms of operations of a business, an entrepreneur must be very mindful of the steps they take for the branding of their business.
If you are starting a business, ensure that your branding efforts don’t get sidelined. After all, all successful businesses are beyond their products and services. And this is only possible via the creation of a brand!
Erica Silva is a blogger who loves to discover and explore the world around her. She writes on everything from marketing to technology. She enjoys sharing her discoveries and experiences with readers and believes her blogs can make the world a better place.
Find her on Twitter: @ericadsilva1