These four foundational principles will help you build a brand for your small business that connects with your ideal clients and allows for business growth.
When starting a business, we often think, “Oh I need a logo” versus, “Oh, I need to build a brand.”
While a logo is a small piece of the branding puzzle, it’s not everything.
Yes, there are a million and one things you can do to create a brand with raving fans and a loyal community.
But, when you’re just getting started, building that knock-out brand along with all the other items on your list can be a tad overwhelming. Plus, that puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on you to get it exactly right the first time. Meaning, no room for growth or change.
And if I’m being honest, I would argue that the business you’re envisioning today will look vastly different from the one you’ll have a few months from now, after you have worked with a few clients.
So, how do you build a brand for your business when it’s in the early stages?
You create a rock solid brand foundation that helps you get clear on a few important pieces to create a strong brand.
By identifying your ideal client, your brand values, the client transformation and the core visuals, you’ll be able to create a brand experience that actually allows for business growth and change.
Identify your ideal client
Getting clear on who you serve is imperative to running a successful business.
You’re drawing a line in the sand of who you want to work with and also who you don’t. The last part is key, because as I’m sure you’ve heard before, when you talk to everyone, you talk to no one.
When you can paint a picture of your ideal client, you’re able to speak to them in a way that wouldn’t be possible if you were trying to attract everyone. And by speaking directly to their specific needs, you’re able to serve them better, thus building up that know-like-trust factor faster than if you were attempting to speak to anyone and everyone.
Not sure where to start when it comes to nailing down that ideal client? Check out this post on the seven questions you need to ask to get clear on who you want to work with.
Define your brand values
Your brand values are the north start of your company. They’re the guiding principles of business decisions. They’re the heart and soul behind your why and how you connect and build trust with your audience.
Identifying your brand values is not some quick process that you can do in 20 minutes. Because they are the heart and soul of your business, it’s important to spend the time and dig deep into defining the why behind the values.
Of course you can write down a few words that sound great, but if they don’t resonate with you or if you don’t understand the reasoning behind the choice, I guarantee they won’t stick. Even worse, your audience can tell when you’re not being authentic. And, if your plans include growing a team, training them to operate within your brand values will be useless if you don’t fully understand (or care about) the reasoning behind your words.
Understand the transformation you provide for clients
Each and every person who you work with comes to you because they have a problem and they’re looking for you to solve it. I would argue that they have an expectation that your service will transform some aspect of their life and/or business.
By understanding and clearly communicating that transformation, you’re able to build a stronger connection with potential customers. Bonus points if you can articulate the before and after using their own language – sprinkle in their own words to describe the change.
In addition, the transformation is what separates you from your competitors. It is part of what makes your brand unique because no one else can deliver the exact same results as you.
Want more information on identifying your client’s transformation? Read this post!
Create a standard for your brand visuals
The visuals are what you probably thought of when thinking about building a brand for your business.
It’s the last step in the brand foundation process because we use the other three pieces to pull together visuals that align with your ideal client, your brand values and your client transformation.
How do we do this? Through color psychology and seasonal brand theory.
Color psychology is the idea that each specific color is linked to a certain meaning. From a marketing perspective, colors can be used to elicit a feeling towards the brand or product.
Based on color psychology, there’s a school of thought that pulls together Seasonal Color Theory and visual branding.
The idea is that every brand identifies with a particular season and that season has unique identifiers. From the words on the website to the photography styling to the color palette, each season has a set of guidelines and when a brand aligns with a single season (spring, summer, fall, winter), they’re able to connect more authentically with their ideal audience.
When you identify your season, you are then able to cohesively create and identify the basic brand visual elements, which are:
• Color scheme
• Font selection
Understanding color psychology and seasonal brand theory can be as simple or complex as you’d like. If you’re already feeling a bit overwhelmed, just remember that these are only tools to help you create a more succinct visual brand that connects with your ideal audience.
A few final thoughts
Please remember that building a brand for your business is an evolution. Especially in the beginning, it needs to be fluid and it’s okay if your brand changes.
Once you give yourself permission to not be perfect, I promise the branding process will be that much easier.
All my best,
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