When you overhear someone talking about Apple, chances are good that you immediately think about phones, tablets, and computers. Despite being named after a very common fruit, the word “apple” still conjures images of tech gadgets for a large portion of the modern world. That’s because Apple has done an incredible job of building a strong brand.
Creating a unique brand identity is one of the most challenging aspects of starting a business. Your brand is what defines who you are, what makes you unique, and what gives your company purpose. In many ways, it’s a verbal snapshot of your company and if you build your brand correctly, it will be the workhorse that powers your business ahead of the competition.
Building a strong brand is not easy and it certainly takes time. It’s a joint effort that comes from putting out valuable products and services and having positive interactions with customers. Branding is more than creating a catchy slogan or a beautiful logo. While those things are important, you have to go a little deeper if you truly want to be successful.
Define Your Vision
Your first step in building a brand is to develop a vision statement. This is a simple one-line summary that defines a clear purpose for your business. Your vision statement should include what products and services you offer and the reason behind them. A good example would be the vision statement from JetBlue: “JetBlue Airways is dedicated to bringing humanity back to air travel.” With one sentence, we have discovered that JetBlue is an airway company and their main priority is to make travel feel more comfortable and customer-centered.
Find Your Essence
Once you’ve defined your vision statement, it’s time to flesh out how you can share that vision in simple and notable ways. What is the “essence” of your company? What is that unspoken spirit that drives your business forward? In many ways, your brand is the personality of your business. For instance, think of the different ways people perceive Apple vs. IBM. Most people associate Apple products as young and hip, while IBM is generally viewed as an older, more mature company.
Think about the kind of personality you want to associate with your brand. Are you serious or playful? Are you young and witty or experienced and wise? Is your brand exclusive or down to earth? Once you hone in on the essence of your brand, you can start to find unique ways to show it off.
Develop Your Voice
Once you have a clear vision and you know the brand personality you want to convey, it’s time to develop a voice and put your brand out in the marketplace. As you start to interact with your target audience, use your vision and essence to show off all the ways your brand is different from competitors.
Be innovative and take a bold approach to your industry or niche. Promote your branding with videos, photos, and vibrant logos. Do everything you can to stand out. When you present your brand with confidence, it will transform how consumers perceive your company.