Checklist: Building your brand from the ground up

So you’ve decided your business needs a reboot. You’re in need of graphic or web design services and you want to get going right away. So let’s go right?!

What exactly is a brand?

A brand is the most powerful business tool since a spreadsheet. It’s a person’s gut feeling about your product or service. Effective branding distinguishes your business from others, making you stand out from the crowd. 

Your brand is much more than just a logo. Building your brand from the ground up is essential if you want your business to thrive. In this blog, we’ll discuss the top 6 steps on how to do this.

1. Start with the ‘why’

The ‘why’ of your business has immense intrinsic and extrinsic power. You need to have a strong grasp of your intrinsic motivation. Why are you doing what you’re doing? Your ‘why’ will sustain you and bring about motivation, productivity, and endurance during those late nights.

Knowing your motives inside-out has a knock-on effect on your audience. This is where the extrinsic power comes in. Simon Sniek puts this perfectly in his book ‘Start with the Why’: 

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

If your branding can truly get across why your business exists, your audience will relate more easily and feel a deeper connection to its purpose. After all, you want to build an audience that will be there for the long haul, not just for Christmas. 

2. Define your value proposition

Value propositions are the easy-to-understand reasons why a customer should buy a product or service from a particular business. Essentially you need to define what you do and how you do it differently and/or better than your competition. 

Take Uber for example, their value proposition focuses on convenience. Their copy offers simplicity and ease, and subtly affirms why they stand out from normal taxi services. They’re vowing to provide their customers with these features, which is their value proposition. 

What you’re offering your customers is a promise to provide what attracted them to you in the first place. This ties in with the ‘why’; customers need a valid reason to go to you and not elsewhere. 

3. Choose your business name AND domain name

Choosing a name can be tricky. Trust me, I know. 

You’ve defined your business thoroughly. You know what your business is. But the name is floating just out of reach. It’s perhaps the biggest blockade on getting started, and the crux of defining your business; how can something be fully formed without a name?

It goes without saying that you need to do your research. Nowadays it seems almost impossible to come up with an original name. But you must make sure your business name isn’t already taken. It may feel almost impossible, but there IS a name out there for you.

Your domain name is the same as your website name. You should look at names that are available while you’re also deciding on a business name. Depending on your business a ‘.com’ is always the best option; ‘.co.za’ or other location-based site options are also OK for location-based businesses that don’t aim to attract international clients.

Need help with naming your business? Our agency Halo Kollektive does naming workshops. 

4. Sort out your branding 

As we said, branding is a person’s gut feeling about your service/product. Your look highly influences that gut feeling. This is where people really can judge a book by its cover. 

Crafted branding that is strategically designed to attract your ideal target market from the start will put your business 10 steps ahead of your competition. You really don’t want to scrimp on a graphic design service just to save money early on. What you invest in your business at this point really does decide if you’re going to sink or swim. 

Having brand consistency from the start also benefits your business, as customers will start associating a certain look with your brand. Investing in a solid graphic design service that you can rely on avoids chopping and changing, which causes inconsistency in your branding. No business wants that.

4. Get a website

Your website is the home of your digital marketing efforts. Like your branding, you should set it up from the start. It gives your business credibility and is a necessary tool for building trust. 

Marketing your business online is vital if you want to close deals.

Don’t stress if you can’t afford a fully custom-coded site at first. You can ask your graphic designer to populate a template for you. Either way, you need to prioritise web design just as much as the rest of your branding. 

5. Choose your marketing channels

Having all of the above without a clear strategy of how you will market your business is pretty useless. Again, you must think about this from day one.

Will you attend seminars and workshops and network the shit outta yourself to meet new customers? Will you cold call your ideal clients? Will you stand in the street holding a placard and screaming your business’ name? There is no right or wrong when it comes to deciding what marketing channels to focus on. The only tip I’d have for you is to focus on no more than three at a time and be consistent in your efforts.

Attracting a steady stream of clients through marketing takes time. You need the patience to endure this. If you do a good job with the clients that you have then the magic will unfold. 

6. You need a professional domain-based email

This one is higher on the list than it might seem like it should be, but as we’ve said: do it at the start.

The three reasons I recommend doing this early on in the process are:

  1. It’s super easy to do. 
  2. It’s cheap.
  3. The longer you wait to do this, the more email contacts you have on your other email, and the harder it is to switch over.

A domain-based email is an email at your domain name. It’s professional looking and is another tool for letting your customers know that you mean business. Using Google Workspace (formerly known as G Suite) can be easy to manage everything internally. 

Whatever you can do from the get-go, do it. Don’t cut corners and wait until your business is up and running to then start smoothing things over. Your customers want to feel confident in your professionalism and trust that you will deliver what you’re promising. Don’t let them down.

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