Megaphone on pink background
Branding is only the first step. Promoting your brand is the key to making it well known. — Getty Images/Gearstd

Branding Basics: How to Build a Brand

New businesses have to fight hard to claim their spot at the top of their industry. They want to stand out in a crowded market and be instantly recognizable for who they are and what they offer.

Take companies like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, for instance: Their popularity isn’t just thanks to their products, but also to their exceptional branding efforts. Both companies’ names, logos and brand colors are immediately recognizable to consumers around the world, because each has invested time and resources into building and promoting their brand.

Every business can (and should) benefit from a strong, unique, recognizable brand. Here’s how to develop yours and start standing out in your industry.

What is a brand?

A brand is more than just a logo or a slogan; it’s a business’s identity in the marketplace. A brand includes things like your business’s name, logo, colors, and signature products or services; but it also goes deeper than that. It’s the way your current and potential customers perceive and feel about your company.

In their article on branding, Brandingmag noted a few important benefits of good branding, including:

  • Increased recognition
  • Increased business value
  • New customers
  • Employee satisfaction
  • Consumer trust
  • Advanced advertising

Building your brand is the ultimate way to win over consumers in even the most crowded of industries.

[Read: The Step-by-Step Startup Guide: How to Start a Business]

If you’re doing business under your own name you might consider building your personal brand in the process.

How to build your brand

To build your brand, you must first determine how you wish to portray your business. Think beyond your products and services, and get to the root of your business -- why you do what you do, and who you’re doing it for.

To help you determine your branding strategy, SCORE recommends asking yourself these questions:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What is a realistic marketing budget for your business?
  • How can you measure the effectiveness of your branding efforts?

Once you have these answers, you can begin building a solid strategy to spread the word about your business.

There are many tactics you can use, from building a stronger digital presence to creating giveaway items with your logo on it. Additionally, if you’re doing business under your own name, or you simply want to connect with your customers on a more intimate level, you might consider building your personal brand in the process.

Where to promote your brand

Once you’ve determined your overall brand aesthetic and message, make sure you use it consistently across these common platforms:

  • Social media Make sure you have accounts across all popular social sites and post content on a regular basis. You may also want to look into influencer marketing for your business and work with micro-influencer in your given industry who aligns with your values and audience.
  • Branded email According to SCORE, your branded email should be [yourname]@[yourbusiness].com. Using a branded email will not only make you seem more professional it will also help spread promote your business with each email sent.
  • Apparel Create branded apparel for both employees (such as uniforms, if applicable) and customers (such as merchandise) to help advertise your business.
  • Business cards/forms/stationery Including your logo, address, contact information and other key information on items like business cards and stationery will help promote your business and spread brand awareness.
  • All marketing templates Make sure you create the same branded templates for your email marketing efforts, promotional giveaways, flyers, etc. so you maintain consistency.

Branding is a crucial part of marketing, and maintaining your unique brand will help retain relevance in your industry and consumer trust in your business. By investing in your branding efforts, you’re investing in the success of your business.

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