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How To Build A Business Brand To Believe In

How to Build a Small Business Brand

How to do it in 9 Steps

There’s a lot of noise these days about brand-building.


It’s the quickest way to that economic holy grail that every business should want – that of possessing an unbeatable monopoly.

It can seem like an subjective idea based on perception or, the most precious long-term asset a business can have.

So what does it really mean to build a brand?

Time for a no-nonsense jargon-free overview of Branding for small businesses out there.

Let’s Do This.

Definition Of a Brand

Building a Brand is akin to Building the Unwavering Trust of Your Audience

More than words and a logo, we’re talking your day-to-day actions. YOUR way of doing things internally and externally. It’s that quality called Culture that makes you, YOU.

Global household names such as Apple, Amazon, Loreal or Nike have logos and slogans that are well-seared into our collective subconsciousness.

How did they do it?

These businesses are trusted emphatically by their target audiences. They’ve earned it by setting a known standard for the way they DO business,  as much as they way they PROMOTE the business.

9 Ways to Build Your Trusted Brand

Here’s a no-brainer: Brands are not built overnight.

People learn to trust through experience right? Brands are built in the same way.

Keep satisfying your clients consistently so they’ll keep coming back.  Be their first choice amongst competitors.  So much so, they’ll tell their friends to use you too.

The growth of Hailo and peer review ecosystem of Air BnB are living examples of that in Ireland.

But before, and while, you are delighting customers with your excellent product, here’s the bigger story.

These are the challenges you need to meet to build, Refresh, Adapt and Complete your Brand Identity:

1. What does your Brand Stand for?

What do you believe – What’s the big picture and end goal for your Brand – What big Difference will your brand make to someone’s life? How do you help them? And what’s your big picture goal?

Start with a quick review aka a Marketing or Brand Audit

This is where you give yourself a clear big picture – the context in which your business works:

  • What is the quintessential quality of your product/service – What problem are you solving? How do you help them?
  • Understand your market, what it responds to, what it is made up of?
  • Research the needs of your customers, their make-up and desires.
  • What are your big business goal?

For example

Dove believes every woman should feel good about herself.

Nike is driven by authenticity and the desire to bring inspiration and innovation to every would-be athlete in the world.

Why? It helps you to develop a brand that makes a meaningful connection with customers.  This is how you discover your USP, This is how you know what makes you Unique in the market.

2. What’s your Brand’s Bigger Cause?

Meaning comes with empathy. Markets are built from existing communities.

Look for a way build a connection with your community.  Associate your brand with something meaningful. Commit to a cause or movement you are truly passionate about and believe in.

Optimise your investment.  When you contribute to a cause make sure that project has a direct impact to the lives of your end customer. It also helps if the Cause has a link to what you do.

For example :

  • An Post supports an adult literacy campaign
  • Diageo Supports responsible drinking and community empowerment programs
  • Vodafone supports online safety programs and  ISPCC Childline

3. What is Your Brand & Business Personality?

Personify your brand.  This allows you to define it, visualise it, and bring it to life

Imagine your business as a person.  Give it characteristics.

This makes it easier to:

  • Do a SWOT analysis to begin with
  • Define the workplace culture you aspire to
  • Find the right employees
  • Discover what your audience wants from you
  • Outline a styleguide, tone and marketing messages

Ask yourself – What kind of person would your customer trust? Has your brand got those qualities?

4. What Defines your Brand’s Relationship with Your Customer?

A relationship is a living breathing thing, that develops over time. A moveable feast that is as good as the last meal.

What are the one-to-one activities that build your customers trust?

What are the interactions or service touch-points that encourage your customers to come back to again and again?

What do you do everyday to make them lifelong customers and much more – an advocate?

5. Are you a Copy-Cat Brand?

It’s tempting to imitate a successful brand whether they’re in your industry, or not.

By all means, admire and learn from the way other companies develop their brands. Gain some insight into the processes and thinking behind their branding.

Nevertheless, few people remember Me-Too brands unless they:

  • Brought something extra to the table
  • Designed a more innovative way to engage with their product
  • Redefined the way in which the product or service is consumed or delivered

6. What Branded Content can you offer beyond a Logo and Slogan?

A logo is like a badge. It is part of your Brand Identity and your Brand Design but is not your whole brand.

A brand is bigger than a logo and its accompanying slogan.

There’s more than 1 way to introduce your brand.

There’s a whole package in fact. Just like a book being more than its cover. Create deep interactive content that gives a 360 view of who you are.

For example:

  1. Speech – have a clear tone of voice in all your message and communications written, verbal or on video.
  2. Visuals –  have a clear consistent visual style guide running through all your visual collateral complete with colour palettes, iconography etc..
  3. Personnel – have a clear consistent guide for customer service and best practice that reflects your brand ethics and values.
  4. Thought – invest in thought leadership and helpful information that is given freely to help your customers do more and succeed better with your product/service
  5. Experience – Generate events that showcase your brand whether it’s a social media competition, crowdsourcing online, or a sales promotion that helps you demonstrate what you do

7. Is your Brand Personal, yet Professional?

Did we mention it was a relationship?

A brand is what happens in the space between the Company and the Customer.

Add a personal touch in a world where word-of-mouse, social-selling, and automation all combine to change the way in which we interact.

Some brands inject fun, but the best ones do it whilst staying professional without being too cringeworthy and informal.

Health warning:

Be too casual and familiar, and you run the risk of looking untrustworthy. We think you should watch your language on this one.

8. Can Your Brand Deliver Value Others Can’t?

There’s more than one way to bring value. There’s more than 1 way to stand out:

  • Deliver an emotional dividend like such as good customer service
  • Be the cost effective option
  • Excel at after sale service
  • Make your product easier to access

In short, pick a point on that marketing mix where you can be unique or deliver better.

Answer the question: What’s in it for the customer to buy anything you’ve got – answer the “What’s in it for me question”

9. Is your Brand Innovating and Adapting?

Rinse and repeat.

The wheel turns, economies boom and bust, new generations appear and most significant of all, technology is a wave that keeps crashing on all those carefully branded sandcastles we’ve been building.

Move with the times. Make mistakes. Get back up and learn. Take the wrong turn every now and then.

Most of all don’t stand still. That’s when the tsunami gets you.

In short?

Brand building is relationship building

Understand what’s important to you vis a vis what’s important to your audience. Find the nexus between the two.

And don’t forget #TalktoSnap!

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We’re here to share what we’ve learnt and stick with you through all the promotional and graphic design work that needs to be done : building , designing, executing your Brand.