Developing your brand can be a fun part of starting a new business. It’s artistic. It’s all about figuring out how to best express your business’s identity. But it also requires thoughtful deliberation. You want to create a brand that doesn’t just feel right but feels different. Something that is distinct from your competition and can easily be identified by your customers.
But with a market that is often so saturated, how do you breathe fresh air into it? Here are a few tips to create a brand that truly stands out.
What does your product or service have that no one else has? Maybe you offer lower prices than your competition for a more accessible, affordable brand. Maybe you cover a niche in the market that is typically neglected. Consider what makes you unique, and highlight that in your brand. Think about the type of audience who will most likely be drawn to those offerings. Build your brand around them.
You’re not ready to create a brand and begin marketing until you know who your audience is. You probably will not be able to create a brand that appeals to everyone, and that’s okay. Instead, focus on the audience that you can appeal to. Is your brand for expectant mothers? Young professionals? College students or retirees? What kind of interests does your audience tend to have? What issues are they facing?
Consider creating a target audience profile or a few target audience profiles if you’re reaching a few different demographics. This profile essentially creates a “character” that represents your target audience. It goes into where they are in their life and what problems they’re facing that your brand can help with.
No one likes to feel they’re being scammed, and customers are wary of brands that seem to lie to them. Instead of making big, bold claims that you know you can’t back up, focus on honing a sincere and authentic voice your audience can trust. Put a little of your own unique voice into your brand to help it feel more personable. It’s always better to focus on sincerity than to try to manipulate your audience.
The market is saturated in almost every industry. It can be hard to stand out, but it’s even harder if you use the same tired cliches that everyone else uses. For instance, a clean pane of glass for a cleaning brand or sweeping images of sandy beaches for a travel brand. There is a reason that these images became popular in certain industries. You don’t have to avoid the tropes completely. However, if you’re going to use a cliche in your industry, try to put your own spin on it. Do something that surprises your audience and your brand will be that much stronger for it.
You know how in math class as a kid, logic puzzles and story questions were always much more enjoyable than simple numbers and equations? Audiences of all shapes and sizes love a narrative. We connect with stories and find them relatable. Thus, when your brand tells a good story, you’re more likely to garner positive attention.
Create an “about us” page that shows your story in starting this business: not a sales pitch, just the narrative of why you created the brand and why you think it’s necessary. Better yet, tell your audience’s story. In your marketing — especially content marketing — paint a picture of what your audience looks like in their daily life without your brand. Set the conflict and the problem they might be facing, and take them on a journey as they discover your product and solve that problem.
You want to give your customers something new, something they haven’t seen before. But that doesn’t mean that every piece of marketing you come out with should be wildly different than the rest. It needs to be recognizable as your own, which means there should be common threads running throughout. Maybe that’s certain colors or imagery that you always use. Maybe it’s a slogan or a particular tone of voice.
For instance, you don’t want to use a formal, professional tone in your blog writing or your ads only to have a laid-back, “fun” social media voice. On the other hand, if you present a fun, easygoing brand, don’t use stuffy language and stiff distance in your messaging. Pick a voice, pick some themes, and pick your overall brand values. Then, stick with them going forward.