Every brand has a business. However, not every business has a brand. Sounds confusing? If your answer is “yes”, then don’t blame yourself- you are not the only one.
The majority of people have a fairly good idea of how a business works. In fact, most of them are able to set up their own company without too many problems. However, when it comes to branding their business online, they are stumped.
Branding and business
It’s important to have a successful business that’s able to generate a high revenue. However, you can only go so far without a brand. Just take a look at all the big players in all the industries- Apple, Nike, Pizza Hut, etc. Are these just companies or “brands”? The correct answer is the latter, of course.
If you think it’s unfair to compare an SME such as yours with the industry leaders, then take a look at your local businesses. If you will observe closely the top local businesses in your area, you will notice that the majority of them have brands too. They have their own company logo and brand name, which they use in their packaging, advertisements, billboards etc.
The art of creating an online brand
It won’t be wrong to say that most of the brick-and-mortar businesses are not going anywhere, at least for quite some time. However, it’s also true that you have to have a strong online presence to take your business to the next level, and for that you need branding. But how do you get started?
To create a strong online brand, follow these steps:
Create a website
You absolutely need a dedicated website for your business. No free WordPress or Blogspot website will do. You need to register a domain name (possible with a modest fee) which is as close to your actual brand name as possible. For instance, if your brand name is “Cheese Source”, then your website name should be related cheesesource. There are many other domain extensions such as .org, .us, .biz, etc. However, you want to go with the .com as it’s the most common domain extension and easy to remember too.
You also need to develop and launch a website on the registered domain. Fortunately, there are many online tools that you can use to do this easily. For instance, if yours is a full-fledged eCommerce store, then you can use BigCommerce or Shopify to host your website with their suite of tools and features easily. Having a website should be at the centre of your online business branding.
Create a company logo
Branding is impossible without a professional and unique company logo. In fact, you are going to use yours everywhere- your website, blogs, advertisements, social media, and everything else online!
You have two options- you can either find a freelance graphics designer to design your company logo (an actual graphics design studio would be too expensive and unnecessary) or you can invest a modest amount for a full set of branding tools for a business. Unless you are really in a pinch, you should go for the latter. This is because you may think that you only need a company logo for branding, which is true for the most part, but in the long run you will need to update your social media banners, business cards, client presentation slides and a lot more time and again on the basis of seasons, social events, festivals, etc. And customizing these will be a nightmare if you don’t have an easy-to-use toolset that can make the job easy without burning a hole in your pocket.
Create brand identity
Logo and other visual brand elements are important, but you also need to create a brand identity through consistent messaging and mission statement. For this, you need to identify your target audience and choose a message that you want to stand with and promote. This is because you will craft your social media content, blog posts, newsletters, etc. on the basis of the same. So, take your time with this. If need be, don’t shy yourself from reading about choosing the right online digital identity for your brand on the Internet.
Show you are best-in-class
Branding is all about establishing yourself as an elite. You have to be different than others in your industry. Even more importantly- you have to show why you are better than them.
If you will read about the timeless lessons from Apple’s founder Steve Jobs, or other great entrepreneurs like Richard Brandon, Jeff Bezos, etc. then you will realize that they all believe in one thing- striving for greatness and establishing a brand around it.
If you want to create a strong brand, you must show a strong company. For this, you can do a lot of things- create informative and educational videos, write blogs that reflect your wisdom and business acumen, become active on the social media on your personal accounts- comment, share and talk to others and let them know why your brand is the best. All this will improve your brand image and take your company to the next level.
Reading through the points you may feel it’s a lot of work, which is true. However, do know that the amount of work you will put into creating a brand will pay off in the long run. If you want to create a company that leaves a mark in the industry and generates a staggering amount of revenue, then you can’t afford to overlook branding. Period.