Starting a brand is an exciting challenge that has the potential of reaping huge rewards. While creating a brand used to be available only for companies that had money in resources, today anybody can create a successful brand from scratch with the help of the right tools.
In case you too, are wondering how to start a brand, I wrote this article for you. Here I will show you step-by-step how you can start your brand from scratch.
How to start a brand from scratch: Basics of branding
It’s how others perceive you and view you through your appearance, language, and action. While people tend to associate the word brand with things like logos, colors, and slogans, other components of a brand such as language, values, and messaging are critical for forming an image.
Creating a brand is a process that requires research, creativity, and understanding of marketing principles. And while it might sound daunting, creating a brand is pretty straightforward as long as you follow some simple steps.
1. Find your identity
One of the most important aspects of creating a successful brand is visualization. This step is all about creating your brand’s identity which involves things like a logo, colors, language, your values, anti-values, and your brand’s voice.
Your brand identity is going to be reflected in many things such as your website, your content, your print brochures, and advertisements, and if you want to attract and retain a loyal audience, it’s crucial to keep your brand consistent.
If you look at the most successful brands, you will notice that they use only a limited number of colors in their logos and marketing materials. These colors help them to evoke certain emotions, convey a message and thus, sell their products. This is no mistake.
As a rule, I recommend using three dominant colors and two supplemental ones for your brand. To choose your colors, use a palette tool where you can play with different shades.
In marketing, every color is used to evoke a certain emotion. That’s why your brand’s colors are a big part of your overall message, and before you zero in a few colors, you need to understand what each one of them means.
Colors and their meanings
Red – passion, importance, aggressiveness
Red is the dominant color in many brands such as Target, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and Netflix. Red expresses a variety of emotions, however, the unifying arch in all of them is a sense of importance.
Orange – energy, excitement, youthfulness
Although orange still conveys plenty of energy and excitement, it does it more safely than red. Many brands use it to create a youthful and vibrant image in the minds of consumers. A good example of it would be Fanta, a drink that has a bright orange color in addition to blue and green.
Green – prosperity, stability, outdoors
Green is often used in environmental campaigns, and it’s not hard to see why: it sends a clear message of sustainability, eco-friendliness, and harmony.
Green is used to send a message of peace and harmony. In other cases, it also represents financial stability.
Yellow – happiness, friendliness, alert
Blue – trust, tranquility, openness
Purple – luxury, creativity, royalty
Pink – femininity, innocence, youth
Brown – old-style, ruggedness, earth
Black – sophistication, power
White – purity, health
Just like your colors, your fonts communicate a message to your audience. To create a consistent image in the head of your customers, your fonts should correspond with your colors and your overall theme.
While you should use one primary font for your logo, you could 2-3 fonts for your website, social media, and marketing products.
After you created your logo, you probably have an idea of what kind of message you want to send to your audience. Now it’s time to think about your values and anti-values or things that you stand for and that you would never do.
As a brand owner, you should know that while you are creating your products for consumers, you should also firmly stand behind what you do. That’s why your values should correlate with your brand’s values and anti-values at least to a certain degree.
The language that you use as a brand is extremely important because it’s going to attract a very specific type of audience that is eventually going to become your customers. That’s why you should understand what kind of words and overtones you are going to use.
Is your tone going to be more playful and hip or educational and serious? And how about inspirational and uplifting?
If you wonder how to start a brand, it’s important to understand that if you speak to everyone you speak to no one. Your audience will love you for who you are as a brand and your language will attract it like a magnet, that’s why you should always speak directly to your target customers, instead of trying to appeal to everyone.
Adjectives that describe your brand
Another great thing to do is to come up with a group of adjectives that describe your brand. Grab a pen and paper and write down 3-5 adjectives that best represent your brand. This will help you to figure out your brand’s personality and better communicate your message to an audience.
2. Creating your logo
After you figure out your brand identity, you now have the most exciting part of starting a brand ahead of you. And it is creating a logo.
A logo is a powerful component of your overall branding that will help you to express your brand and create an image in the heads of your customers.
However, if you don’t have a background in graphic design, creating your logo might sound like a daunting task. And that’s exactly where Canva comes in! Canva is an online platform that allows creating graphics for your website, logos, and social media platforms, even if you have never done it before.
If you want to create a logo from scratch, Canva is a great alternative to hiring an expensive graphic designer, and here’s why: As your brand evolves, so will your logo. As it grows and changes, you will have to tweak your logo to better reflect your brand identity, so your first design is probably not going to be your last.
What’s great about Canva is that it also offers free and paid versions.
A free version is enough to get you off the ground, however, the premium one offers a limited number of colors, fonts, and templates, while a paid version offers more advanced design capabilities.
3. Figuring out your target audience
Now when you have some idea what your brand is about, it’s time to figure out who your audience is.
While many marketing gurus will tell you that you need to start with the audience research and from there work your way toward your brand identity, I recommend doing the opposite because, from my own experience, it’s easier to work out who you are catering to when you have some idea about what your brand represents.
Your target audience determines the visual appearance of your brand, its messaging, and core values, however, you shouldn’t jump into audience research before having a concept of your brand.
And, if in the process of your audience research you will find out that something in your brand needs to be tweaked (I recommend creating a few mock-ups for your logo, brand colors, and so on), you can always go ahead and do it later.
After all the process of how to start your brand is all about being creative.
The purpose of audience research is to create a pool of fans who will closely align with your brand’s messaging and core values and buy your products.
For example, if you are going to create a product for college students, you need narrow it down more than that. College students is a very broad audience, and you could easily fail, if you neglect to niche down. Let’s say your audience is going to be college students who are applying for internships. Knowing this will allow you to generate ideas for products, services, and consulting offers targeting that specific group and resolving their needs.
Why narrow down your niche?
These days, many brands and businesses want to see big numbers of subscribers and followers.
While having tons of followers can be beneficial, it means absolutely nothing if they don’t translate into loyal customers who buy your products. As a brand, you are better off with 1,000 followers who love you and care about what you have to say than 50,000 followers who have no interest in your offers.
Here are a couple of things you need to keep in mind when doing your audience research:
Demographics is a general set of characteristics that include gender, race, age, income, education, location, and occupation.
Psychographics is more nuanced than demographics. They are highly valued by marketers because they delve consumers’ interests, hobbies and values.
Unlike demographics, psychographics often dictate the power purchase of a specific person, as they are more aligned with our psychology and mood, the aspects that are not reflected in demographics.
Needs and desires
Figuring out your audience’s needs and desires is very important as it will help you to cater to their taste and deliver products that they are going to purchase.
This is the most important point of all. Pain points are your customers’ problems that you, as a brand, have to solve.
Without helping to solve your customers’ issues, all your hard work on how to start a brand could be rendered zero
Successful brands listen to their customers’ frustrations and challenges and try to solve their issues by offering the right products and services. When you help your customers, you create a meaningful and lasting connection that could turn them into biggest advocates for your brand.
4. Building a customer profile
So, let’s say you are going to start a sustainable yoga clothing line. Your ideal customer is Jane, she is in her mid-20s to early 30s, she leads an active lifestyle, practices yoga, and genuinely cares about the environment. Jane enjoys spending time with her friends and is vegan.
Creating a customer profile will help you to build on your brand and offer more products and services as your business grows. As a competitive business, you should always be attuned to what your customers want and what their interests and hobbies are.
5. Determining your selling proposition
Your selling proposition is your hook. It tells your customers what makes you unique and how you are different from other brands. For instance, it’s not enough to come up with a digital course that helps your customers to figure out how to create a blog and make money.
There are tons of courses on blogging out there, and with big competition from marketeers and bloggers of all sorts, your message might fall on deaf ears if you fail to differentiate yourself from the rest.
If you want to succeed, your job is to tell everyone what makes you special. Does your course offer an amazing bonus or do you offer one-on-one coaching or a freebie that everyone loves?
Or maybe you are going to donate part of your proceeds to a charitable cause?
Whatever your special thing is, you gotta own it!
6. Create your products
When your brand has a clear identity and a target customer, your next step is to begin creating your products and services. These products could be consultant offers, digital courses, e-books, or physical products.
Whether you are wondering about how to start a brand, or what product you should come up with, always begin with a customer in your mind!
Whatever you come up to strive to be the best in your field and strive to provide the best customer service and support for those who buy your product. People will remember you for that and will tell others about your product.
7. Be the advocate for your brand
Building your brand is a hell of work but it’s a good reason to be proud of it. Be the biggest advocate of your brand and showcase it to others because you have worked so hard on it!
When others see your energy and your dedication to what you do, they will inevitably get curious and will want to see what it is!
Take that moment and shine!