8 Proven Steps to Build a Brand for Business Growth

Kaine Levy
April 1, 2024
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You've been trying to build a brand. You're aware of the impact it can have on your business growth.

But after months of trial and error, research, and spending money, nothing seems to be sticking.

No increase in loyal customers or brand recognition. No significant improvement in social media followers, website traffic, or conversions from your ideal customer. Still guessing what marketing campaigns and paid advertising is going to work.

From working in branding and marketing for over a decade, the most common question I get is, "How the hell do I build a brand?"

I think the reason for that is because branding has mystique and confusion around it. This causes so many business owners to give up on it entirely and causes them to miss out on a lot of potential growth.

So let's solve that together.

Branding is what separates small-time ventures from successful brands.

Of course, you need to build a brand the RIGHT way.

Let's find out how.

What Is a Brand, Anyway?

A brand is the shiny package that your business, product, or service comes in. I don't mean the literal packaging, but rather the reputation, feelings, and emotions your business creates for consumers.

A brand is more than just your company's logo, tagline or visual identity. A brand encompasses everything that defines and differentiates your business in a crowded marketplace including your values, your company culture, your positioning, your style guide, your tone of voice, and more. They all contribute to an effective brand and marketing strategy.

Think of it like dating. We all check out somebody's looks first to see if we're attracted to them, but attraction is surface-level and short-lived. What we truly seek, whether we realise it or not, is that our values align.

Brands and consumers work in the same way.

Branding: Why We Always Look to Apple

The power of brands can be seen clearly through examples like Apple. While it may be considered clichéd to examine a brand that has achieved such remarkable success, it remains an excellent case study from which to learn.

Apple doesn't just sell great tech; they sell a feeling and a sense of belonging. They've created an entire lifestyle around their products by effectively using their brand to resonate with customers on a deeper level.

Like every touchpoint of Apple's brand, their stores make you feel like you're entering the future. It's a sleek, modern, and satisfying experience that never loses its excitement.

How to Build a Brand: The 8 Essential Steps

Now that you understand what a brand is (and what it isn't), let's explore an 8-step process that you can utilise to establish a brand for your business.

We'll dive deeper into topics such as target audience, defining your unique value proposition, developing consistent communication across touchpoints, and more.

Let's get straight into step 1...

Step 1: Brand Purpose and Mission

If you're looking to build a brand, then you need to know about The Golden Circle.

This powerful tool was developed by Simon Sinek to help people become better leaders, but you can use it as a very effective model to build a brand.

The Golden Circle helps build a brand by focusing on "why" you do what you do and why customers should care, then bringing that to the forefront of your brand story to help connect with them.

Implementing the Golden Circle

When you're communicating with customers, you want them to know about your purpose - your "why" - but it can be difficult to identify.

The best way we have found during our brand strategy workshops is by first starting with "who", "what", and "how".

  • WHO: what customer segment, niche, or demographic do you serve?
  • WHAT: what future do you envision for your brand, industry, or the world at large?
  • HOW: how will you achieve that vision within your branding and business model?

Once you figure out these three, then it becomes much easier to understand why your brand matters and why customers should care.

The Golden Circle, adapted for building a brand.

Create Compelling Vision, Mission and Purpose Statements

No matter who you are, understanding your "why", "how", "what" and "who" can give direction to both internal operations and external marketing efforts. This motivational brand attitude can set you apart from those offering similar products and services.

Now that we've explored this incredibly powerful approach, let's dive into the next step: values.

Step 2: Brand Values

At the heart of every brand strategy, you'll find well-defined and resonant values. These are the guiding principles that shape your company’s behaviours, drive your actions, and influence how people perceive your brand.

Your values should reflect what is important to you as a business owner and as a brand. For example, if sustainability is at the heart of your operation and it matters deeply to your target audience, this could be one of your key values.

A Case Study: Patagonia

To illustrate this point further let's take Patagonia, an outdoor clothing company with a clear set of environmental ethics at its core. Their commitment to these values can be seen in everything from their product design process to their marketing campaigns which often advocate for conservation issues rather than solely focusing on selling products.

Defining Your Values

  1. Define What's Important To You: Understanding what motivates you and your team will help you develop strong company culture and increase your team's productivity.
  2. Determine What Makes You Unique: Look within yourself and any unique aspects or strengths of your entire brand.
  3. Narrow It Down: It's good practice to distil your values down into just a few words. The less you have the easier they are to remember and act upon.

Values are a great way to define a clearer brand identity, foster stronger connections with consumers, guide company behaviour, and attract the right type of employees.

Step 3: Conduct Market Research

To build a brand, you need to understand who your ideal customers are and what they need from products or services like yours. This means researching to define their demographics, psychographics, interests, desires, challenges, and preferences.

This information helps in crafting a marketing strategy that resonates with consumers and increases brand awareness.

Using Research to Build a Brand

Research provides valuable insights into the preferences and buying habits of your target customers. It enables businesses to create a unique brand voice that appeals directly to their audience’s interests and values.

  • Determine Your Target Audience: Identify who is most likely to buy from you by studying demographic data such as age range, income level etc., to help define your perfect customer profile.
  • Analyse Competitors: Understanding what other brands offer can help position yours uniquely within the marketplace.
  • Evaluate Customer Needs & Preferences: By knowing what matters most to them can inform product development ensuring it aligns with consumer expectations.

Some tools we use for conducting marketing research are:

  • Surveys: you can create custom surveys and quizzes using tools such as SurveyMonkey and Typeform.
  • Interviews: conduct one-to-one interviews with your perfect customer.
  • Social Media: look through pages and groups on social media to see what customers are enjoying and complaining about.
  • Review Sites: use social media reviews as well as sites like TrustPilot to gain insight into your competitors.
  • Reports: study industry reports from reputable sources like Statista to get invaluable market data.

Check out our article on research to learn exactly how to find gaps in the market.

Tailoring Products & Services Based on Findings

Your findings should guide every aspect of building out your entire brand – from developing marketing collateral like brochures or social media posts; determining optimal channels for paid advertising; designing user-friendly website interfaces; even shaping your business model around solving problems identified during research.

Leveraging Social Media Marketing for Brand Awareness

Social media platforms provide excellent opportunities for gaining insights into consumer behaviour while also allowing brands the opportunity to increase visibility among wider audiences. Brand awareness campaigns, when based on well-researched data, can significantly boost awareness and engagement for your brand.

Paid advertising and direct-response marketing are great for short-term sales, but you ideally want organic long-term growth thanks to branding.

Step 4: Define Your Target Audience

You may have heard that when you talk to everyone, you talk to no one. From experience, this couldn't be truer. Unless you're a massive brand with loads of money to spend marketing to everyone, which is not most brands, then niching down on a target audience is far more profitable for you.

So who is your target audience? Well, it's the people who are most likely to have an interest in what you offer.

By creating buyer personas, also known as customer avatars, you can gain a better understanding of your target consumers and customise your branding efforts accordingly.

Tailoring Offerings Based On Audience Preferences

By now, you should have produced a significant amount of research based on the previous step, including valuable information about who your customers are likely to be.

For example, Warby Parker recognised that their customers wanted something distinctive yet affordable, without compromising on quality. They knew their customers didn't want another lower-priced generic product. They wanted something unique and affordable without compromising quality, so they built their brand around core consumer needs.

Create Buyer Personas

Every brand strategy needs to have buyer personas, or customer avatars, to inform

  • Demographics: Age group, occupation etc.
  • Social Media Habits: Preferred platforms (Instagram hashtags/subreddits/Discord threads).
  • Lifestyle Preferences: Favourite brands/products/services.

You can grab our free customer persona template to get you going.

Step 5: Identify Your Competitors

Gaining insights into your rivals is vital if you aspire to build a brand. It allows you to identify gaps in the market, refine your unique selling proposition (USP), and position your brand effectively.

Direct Competitors vs Indirect Competitors

Your main rivals are those who provide similar products or services, target the same audience or operate within the same geographical area as you do. Indirect competitors may not sell identical offerings but can still satisfy similar customer needs and may be considered over your brand during the buying process. Understanding both is the key to truly differentiating yourself.

The SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis, which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats; is an effective tool that businesses use when identifying their competition. This analysis offers insights into how well they're performing in comparison to their competitors - it highlights their areas of expertise (strengths), areas where they could enhance (weaknesses), possibilities for expansion or improvement (opportunities), and potential risks that could impact their business.

You can grab our free SWOT Analysis Cheatsheet to help you beat your competition.

Finding Unmet Customer Needs

To build a brand with potential buyers who trust you, it's essential to get inside their heads and understand their unmet needs. Research will help you discover these needs while also providing valuable insight into potential buyers' preferences and behaviours.

By addressing these unmet needs through product development or marketing campaigns, companies can create strong connections with customers and increase their lifetime value.

Grab our FREE Competitive Analysis Cheatsheet.

Step 6: Brand Positioning

The sixth step in the brand-building process is arguably one of the most crucial ones - brand positioning. This is all about carving out a unique spot for your brand in the hearts and minds of your target customers. The goal here is to make sure that when people think of a product or service you offer, or a certain idea or feeling you want to be associated with, they instantly think of your brand.

For example, if I say "luxury watch", do you think of Rolex? That's the power of positioning.

Creating Your Brand Positioning Statement

It's important to first understand the role of a positioning statement within the brand-building process.

A positioning statement focuses on illustrating what you offer, to whom, and how you do that differently or better than your competitors. If you're struggling to define your uniqueness, it's a key indicator that your brand isn't strong enough.

Use this simple template to write your brand positioning statement:

💡 Positioning Statement Template:

Remember, a positioning statement is internal, not customer-facing. Its sole purpose is to guide the operation of the brand so that you continue to occupy a unique space in the hearts and minds of your consumers.

Check out our free 3-step brand positioning template.

Step 7: Brand Personality

A strong brand has its own unique which plays an essential role in connecting with its target audience and building brand awareness.

The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung identified 12 archetypes that define human motivations, aspirations, fears and perceptions. These have now been widely adopted within the world of brand strategy to help create a brand personality that feels familiar to consumers.

The Importance of Archetypes in Brand Building

Incorporating these Jungian archetypes into your brand-building process can help you create a relatable and authentic brand identity. Whether your business aligns more closely with the Hero archetype (think Nike) or perhaps the Caregiver (like Johnson & Johnson), defining this aspect of your brand personality can make all the difference when trying to increase brand awareness and attract the right customers.

Familiarity Breeds Trust

Your ideal customers need to feel like they know you before they will trust you enough to do business. By ensuring consistency across your brand strategy, businesses can effectively communicate what they do, who they do it for, and how how they do it differently in a way that shows off their brand voice and personality.

The 12 brand archetypes are based on the works of psychologist, Carl Jung. Image via Iconic Fox

Step 8: Brand Image

Finally, let's talk about crafting a strong brand identity, which visually represents the essence of your company to potential customers.

The Importance of Visual Identity in Building Brand Awareness

Your brand image (logo, colour palette, typography etc.) plays an integral role in visually displaying the core of your brand strategy. It creates an immediate impression in people’s minds about who you are and what they can expect from you.

For instance, consider Apple's minimalist design or Coca-Cola's iconic red-and-white colour scheme; these brands have effectively utilised their visual identities to increase brand awareness over time.

Telling Your Story Through Visual Elements

Visual elements also play an essential part in telling your brand story. They help communicate not just what products or services you offer but why you do it (your purpose) and how it benefits customers (your value proposition). A good example here is Nike whose simple swoosh symbolises motion & speed – mirroring its commitment towards inspiring athletic achievement among its loyal customers.

Create Your Brand Style Guide

To ensure consistent messaging across various platforms such as websites, brochures and social media profiles, consider creating a comprehensive brand style guide. This should include specifics about everything from font styles used on promotional materials right down to specific hex codes for primary and secondary brand colours. This ensures everyone involved in promoting your business – be it staff members or external agencies – understands how best to represent both visually and verbally.

Remember, a well-defined brand personality doesn't happen overnight. Instead, it is cultivated over time by consistently delivering on promises made during each interaction between brand and consumer.

A Summary of the 8 Steps to Build a Brand

Building a strong brand is the difference between businesses that stay small and businesses that blow up. At a certain point, there isn't a huge amount of difference between competing products or business models, and the way to set yourself apart is by building a strong brand identity.

Let's recap the 8 steps you can use to build a brand:

  1. Brand Purpose and Mission: define the internal substance of your brand that paints the big picture of why you exist and what you're trying to achieve.
  2. Brand Values: write down the values that define your brand's beliefs and behaviour to attract the right customers and employees.
  3. Conduct Research: learn everything you can about your market, your customers, and your competitors to inform the next steps.
  4. Define Your Target Audience: using your research, work out who has the biggest need for your offering and tailor it to them.
  5. Identify Your Competitors: see who's already serving those customers so you know how to do it better or differently.
  6. Brand Positioning: write your positioning statement which clearly defines how you deliver your offer and why customers should buy from you over a competitor.
  7. Brand Personality: craft an identity around your business that acts and communicates in an exciting way.
  8. Brand Image: design your visuals to make a killer first impression that sucks customers in and makes them want to find out more.

Once you have all these, you'll need to ensure consistent communication and behaviour across all touchpoints.

As you can see, building a successful brand requires juggling a few different elements, but with a brand strategy, it is almost impossible to fail.

Remember, you can't build a brand overnight but that's a good thing. Most business owners will give up or won't even try, leaving a big gap in the market for you to claim if you're willing to put in the work.

Following these steps will set up a solid foundation for increasing brand awareness among potential customers while differentiating yourself from competitors.

If this feels overwhelming or if you need help to build a brand, give us a shout at Ventur Agency. We specialise in helping businesses build profitable brands in just 8 weeks.

Join our tribe of entrepreneurs to learn how to find gaps in the market and build a brand.

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