Here’s Where to Start When Creating Your Own Brand


Nike, Apple, Target, McDonalds…Chances are that you and the vast majority of American adults could immediately pick these brands out of a logo lineup. You also probably could quickly identify the brands associated with the taglines You’re in Good Hands, What’s in Your Wallet?, and Taste the Rainbow. Same goes for when you hear this lion’s roar, this tudum, or this five-note bong

These big companies use their respective visual logos, taglines, and sonic logos to build familiarity with their company and the products and services they offer. The fact that almost everyone in the civilized world knows who these companies are and what they offer through an image, sound, or a few words is proof positive of how well they’ve established their brands over the years. 


What is a Brand?

Specifically, a brand consists of all the expressions that a company, person, or organization uses to represent itself and create the desired perception in the minds of consumers, employees, investors, the community, and other stakeholders. But, in essence, a brand is what people think and feel when they see, hear, even touch, smell, or taste those expressions — whether positive or negative. Granted, the goal in creating and maintaining a brand is always to elicit a positive perception. But that’s not always the result. Most people typically associate the idea of brands with big corporations and small businesses, but today, even universities, sports teams, and social media influencers have brands. 

While the actual quality and usefulness of a product or service carries a lot of weight, how consumers perceive a brand holds significant sway in influencing purchasing behavior. However, it’s not just a logo, tagline, colors, fonts, voice, ads, commercials, social media, storefront, or website; it’s all those things and more, working together to create recognizable, consistent messaging. 


Where to Begin Branding Your Business

The brands you know, love, and have relied upon for years all had to start somewhere, whether from one person’s vision for change or someone having a revolutionary new product or service that necessitated a brand around it. Then it took years, even decades, for some of those brands to establish themselves. So, while it may be intimidating to start, just remember that it takes time and diligence, trial and error, patience and perseverance to build a successful brand that sticks. 

When looking to create your own brand, it’s important to first understand the various elements that go into building a brand, so you’ll know what to focus on. While elements like slogans, taglines, audio branding, community outreach, and other brand-boosting efforts evolve further down the line, first, you’ll need to…


Get to Know Your Audience 

Your product or service likely won’t appeal to all people in all ways, and you probably don’t have the budget to try and reach everyone all at once. Identifying your ideal customer profiles, or target audience, not only lets you more efficiently focus on but also saves you precious resources, money, and time. Based on many factors, including age range, sex, spending habits, and location, your target audience is those most likely to be interested, benefit, and buy your product or service. Through careful customer research, feedback, and analysis of your target audience, you’ll be able to create branding as well as marketing campaigns that truly resonates with them, generates leads, and gets more sales. Knowing your audience also helps you understand their pain points so that you can reduce them on your end. 


Analyze Your Competitors 

The longer time goes on, the harder it gets to come up with a truly unique product or service. This means that you’re likely going to have competition in the marketplace, be it on a local, regional, national, or global level. Just like a sports team has to study their foes, it’s important that you get a good grasp on who they are and how they do what they do. By analyzing your competition’s branding, digital footprints and content (e.g. website, blogs, social media, and media coverage), you’ll gather key insight that not only inspires ideas for your own business but helps you set yourself apart with unique branding. Familiarize yourself with your competitors, what seems to be working for them, what you don’t like about what they do, and what you know your brand can do better. 

There are many digital research tools available that let you analyze the competitor websites including their backlinks, keywords, traffic, ranking pages, and more.  with valuable insights into who their target audience is and how they reach them. However, if you don’t wish to invest money into software, then you may opt to do your competitor research manually, by doing page-by-page recon on their website. 


Establish Your W’s & H’s

Knowing whom you’re selling to isn’t the only W you need to hash out. There are a number of important questions you must answer before working on your branding elements, including:  Why does your business exist? What are you selling? How does your product or service uniquely meet the needs of your audience? How, when, and where should you be reaching out to your audience (social media, phone, mail, email, etc.) for maximum impact? How will your brand impact the community? Take your time so you can accurately and thoroughly address these and other significant questions as your answers will serve as the foundation for the rest of your branding. 


Determine Your Unique Value Proposition

Once you’ve answered those questions, you and others involved in building your brand need to get a good grasp on what exactly it is that your brand offers your audience. In other words, you must answer one final question: What makes your company one of a kind (1-OAK)? The answer is what’s commonly called your unique value proposition (UVP) — a short statement (a sentence or two) that clearly and accurately conveys the unique value of your brand. 

Convincing consumers to buy your brand over others is about convincing them that you solve a problem for them and meet their wants and needs better than competitors, be it through better quality, better price, superior convenience, or exclusive features. Focus on what you know you do best and the solutions that your brand provides. Think of this as an elevator speech encapsulating your brand name, what product or service you provide, and how it benefits your specific audience. 


Create Your Brand’s Visual & Verbal Identity     

After you’ve narrowed down what your brand is all about, it’s time to work on what it looks and sounds like by developing its visual and verbal identity. Better acquainted with your audience, you should now have a better idea of how to speak to them and what thoughts and emotions you want to elicit from them through the colors, images, and words you use. Your brand identity includes developing a brand name, colors, fonts, brand logo, a brand story, and more.


Choose Your Brand Name 

Anyone who’s had to name a baby knows how hard it can be to pick a name that everyone else will associate them with for the rest of their lives, representing their personality, their image, everything about them. Same goes for your business/brand name. You want yours to be easy to remember yet not corny, simple yet unique,  yet powerful.   There are many ways to name your company, but ensure that it is uniquely yours by researching, especially before you set up a website domain.  

The name will have an impact on your logo, your marketing strategy, your trademark, and other digital assets. A business name needs to be unique and easily distinguishable. Keeping the name somewhat broad will help if you plan on expanding your products or services. 

You could come up with a totally new name, use a suggestive word, combine two words, or even use acronyms. Be sure to do some research to make sure the name is unique and that you can secure a simple, effective domain and social media accounts that can seamlessly incorporate it. 


Write Your Brand Story

The majority of your marketing and communications will likely involve more copy than visuals, and words can convey ideas and information that images sometimes can’t, and vice versa. So, it’s important that you create a blueprint for your verbal messaging, one that highlights your UVP, purpose, values, experience, and other aspects of your business. Think of the words, phrases, and ideas that you’d like associated with your brand going forward, and use them to create a brief story about your brand. Try to be compelling, authentic, and, most importantly, relevant to your intended audience. This will help humanize your business and foster more meaningful relationships with customers. This will act as the verbal foundation for other content including website copy, social media, ads, and other copy that represents your brand. 


Pick Your Brand Colors & Fonts

You’ll also need to decide on what fonts and color palette you want to be associated with your brand, as they will be used across all of your marketing and branding assets. Colors and fonts are important because they help tell the story of your brand and shape how you want consumers to feel about it. You won’t want too many main colors on your color palette, and you can always include accent colors on different assets. This is one of those instances where it helps to get an expert’s opinion. A quality graphic designer has studied the science of visuals including the impacts of certain colors on emotion and which fonts better match a brand’s personality. You’ll want typography and colors that are pleasant and easy to look at, not too loud or silly, unless that’s part of your brand’s personality.    


Design Your Logo

As the most essential representation of your brand and the one you’ll be using in nearly all of your marketing and communications, your brand logo should be well-crafted and memorable, distinguishable from your competitors, incorporating your chosen colors and fonts. It also needs to be scalable so you can adjust the size for use on everything from billboards to emails. From your storefront and website to social media, mailers, and packaging, your logo is the main identifier of your brand, and, like your company name, it’s hard to go back once you’ve established it. 

There are many different directions to choose from when designing your logo. Wordmarks, lettermarks, and other type-based logos are among the most common types. But you may want to mix things up, depending on your goals and aesthetic, with an abstract, mascot, emblem, or icon logo.   


Craft a Brand Style Guide

When you have your branding elements set, it’s incredibly helpful — even necessary for larger businesses — to create a formal document (digital and hard copy), or what’s called a brand style guide, that lays out your brand elements and ensures that strategists, designers, and copywriters are always on the same page with preferred usage and specifications for all brand and marketing assets, no matter who comes in and out. 


Plan On an Omni-Channel Experience 

Thanks to the Internet, the days of single-channel marketing campaigns are gone for good. Omni-channel marketing is now a must for businesses of all shapes and sizes to achieve maximum reach and impact. To develop brand credibility and maintain brand consistency, you’ll have to weave your messaging together across multiple channels. As you work on your brand, keep in mind and make plans for how your messaging might work across multiple channels, including social media, radio, TV, print mail, in-store signage, website, billboards, and more.   


Seek Input From Others (Experts Ideally)

Constructive feedback is essential to growth in just about everything, but it’s especially important when it comes to creative and strategic decisions that will play a huge part in whether your company is successful. Going it solo, you tend to develop tunnel vision, unable to stay objective and see potential pitfalls in your choices. Meanwhile, more heads are always better than one when brainstorming and coming up with new and innovative ideas. From your best friend to your artsy sister, it’s always good to get a range of opinions; however, expert help is highly recommended when looking for proven strategies and high-quality work. 😉


Remember that the development and refinement of your brand is an ever-evolving process.   You’ll likely have to evolve and tweak things along the way, adjusting to trends, new technologies, shifting business objectives, or changing consumer needs and behavior. But think microevolution, not macro. Small changes, not huge ones. For optimal success and best ROI, it’s best to get your branding as strong as possible from the start. 

At M:7 Agency, we’re pros at branding and rebranding and then elevating brands with superior marketing and communications solutions to help them grow. We start by getting to really know your audience, your competitors, and what your brand is all about. For expert help with your brand, connect with us today!