Starting a business is exciting and scary at the same time. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been doing a side hustle for the past year or are walking away from that nine to five job; you’ve taken the leap of faith to be your own boss and make your own rules. But after the exhilaration of mixed emotions passes, reality sets in, you have to make money! So many of us jump into business ownership and begin selling a product or service without first creating a brand. We get it, revenue is king. But without proper branding, your business can fall flat.

Your brand identity is one of the most important things an entrepreneur, business owner or individual can create. Here are four reasons why you need pause and make sure your brand identity is ready for the public:

Your brand is your visuals

While branding does include your logo, it also includes your marketing materials, website, promotional items, business cards, and anything else that will have your logo on it. Because your logo signals who you are when they see it, you need to put more thought into your brand visuals. You must think about what you are trying to portray as a brand. With that in mind, everything from the font to the color palette to the layout to the design schematic must be carefully considered.

Your brand is your message

Now that people recognize your brand visually, you have to tell them who you are, what you are about, and why you do what you do. The message your brand delivers is one of the key components to establishing a brand people can trust. Your message should effectively tell audiences your vision, mission, and purpose. With all of this combined, you should have a robust value proposition. Make sure this statement is strong, clear, and concise.

Your brand is your character

Like people, and the people your brand represents, your brand should have a character. Is your brand serious and more formal? Or is it laid-back and light-hearted? Take Wendy’s for example, their brand is laid-back and fun. They enjoy and truly nail witty banter with other brands on social media. Then, there are other brands that come out with occasional clap-backs when a person or another brand comes after them. If your brand is lacking character, then take some time to brainstorm what your brand’s character could be. The character of a brand is what draws your audience to you. So this is the perfect time to get creative.

Your brand is their experience

Your visuals catch people’s eye, your message piques their interest, your character draws them in, but it is the experience you provide that makes them loyal to your brand. Last year, Salesforce published an article about consumer experience stats.  And the numbers are clear; consumers value experience. What does that mean? It means you know your customers, you communicate with them regularly, you personalize your interactions with them, and you provide them with a convenient shopping experience. Now don’t take this the wrong way, your products and services matter too. However, people are looking for an engaging and attentive brand.

The biggest misconception about branding is that branding is simply the visual aspect. This is simply not true. Your brand is your visuals, message, character and overall experience. Carve out some time this week to nail down your brand. Make sure you are putting out not only top-notch visuals but also quality messaging and a unique character while creating the best consumer experience possible for your brand. If you already have your branding in place, take a moment to do a brand review as you forge ahead to success.

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