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Questions to Ask Yourself When Building Your Brand

April 10, 2021

If you have ever had an excellent business idea that has never quite come to fruition, it probably started with your brand. Sometimes the brand just isn’t quite portraying what you intended. So, how do you build a brand that hits the mark?

It is critical to build your brand right the first time, so you don’t lose time, money, and opportunities. We work very hard to build a brand that sends precisely the message we want and hits the intended demographic. How can we focus on that brand and reach our intended target? 

What Is A Brand?

A brand identifies your business and, as such, allows you to gain a competitive advantage over others in your niche. Brand recognition by your audience is critical. You don’t want your audience to pass you by and head to your competitors. Your brand, built correctly, will build recognition with your audience and engender customer loyalty. A well-defined brand may well mean the difference between success and failure.

Perception is reality. Your brand will define how customers will perceive you. If your customer cannot understand who you are through your branding and imagery, it is a lost opportunity — one that you may not get again. 

Your brand is far more than just a logo. Brand identity defines your business’s visual identity, voice, values, personality, and message. These components of your brand identity are how others will see you potentially forevermore.

What Should I Be Asking?

There are many questions to consider when building a brand. You should put a great deal of time and effort into this exercise. It is not an exaggeration to say your brand will define your future success. 

You want to motivate and inspire your customers to work with you. Asking yourself the appropriate questions will lead you to craft your brand in a way that is appealing to your audience and that resonates with them. Let’s take a look at just a few of the important questions you should be asking yourself: 

#1.  Who Is My Intended Customer / Client?

Profile your ideal customer or client. If you don’t have a vision of who your customer is, define one. What does your customer need that you can help with? What difference can you make in your customers’ lives? What is their age, income level, marital status, and geographic location? How many children do they have? What is their career and what are their hobbies? Creating a profile of your target audience is crucial to understanding how to market your products or services to them adequately.

#2.  What Are My Competitors Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT)?

A great place to start building your brand is with a Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis of your competitors. 

You can learn a great deal from your competitors and their success or failures. 

#3.  What Does My Customer Need?

Ultimately a customer wants to know “What’s in it for me?” How can you help with these pain points? What is the reason they should be loyal to you rather than a competitor? Doing your market research and answering these questions should be at the core of your offerings.

#4.  What Is My Brand Personality?

Many brands have a personality associated with them. What type of personality is your brand, and what personality traits will customers have to be attracted to your business? 

Examples are:

Nailing down the voice of your brand stakes your personality in the ground and forms a tentpole of your business and marketing efforts.

#5.  What Makes Me Different?

You have competitors, and to compete with them, you need to do something differently. McDonald’s and Burger King are direct competitors with similar offerings in the same category. The only way they could be successful is to do things differently with their messaging, visuals, voice, and values, and as a result create differentiation where there otherwise would seemingly be none. Find your points of differentiation and make them a focal point for your marketing efforts.

#6.  What Are My Philanthropic Efforts?

In recent years, it is more evident that customers value businesses that do the right thing. As a business, it makes sense to do the right thing for both financial and ethical reasons. That used to be enough. But now, customers want to see that philanthropy in action. Consider what efforts you are willing to make to better the world and through which channels / with which partners you would like to make that happen. Disclose these efforts and partnerships clearly on your website and social media and build your brand’s ethos in a way that shows how and why you give back.

#7.  What Is My Brand Story?

People like stories, and they gravitate towards business with a story they can identify with personally. In your story, tell the world who you are and why you do what you do. What motivates you to create, service, and exist? Giving the why behind your brand allows your audience to connect with you better and identify with your plight, gaining trust and loyalty along the way.

#8.  Am I Keeping It Simple?

A successful brand doesn’t usually need to be defined. Brand understanding is critical, and if your brand is too complex, you won’t see positive results. Generally speaking, we are a world trending towards minimalism, and this philosophy holds with building a brand. Your message should be clear and your branding should speak for itself.

#9.  Does My Logo Represent My Brand?

You want instant recognition of your brand with your logo. 

Be particular with color choices as they all have emotions attached to them. For example, red is powerful and bold, while yellow is happy and energetic—research color choices and how they complement each other while developing your logo. Keep your logo simple and evocative. Use shapes and colors that fit with your brand’s vibe and vision and speak to what you do intrinsically.

One great example of this philosophy is FedEx. Not only does their logo contain their name, but it is a simplified font, with a simplified color scheme and a minimal negative space element (the arrow) that simply conveys exactly what the brand does. Moreover, the two colors in their logo vary based on the departments within FedEx that the logo is representing (air, ground, express, etc). Clever indeed.

#10.  Am I Being Authentic?

The answer to this question is far more important than you might initially think. Customers want to partner with a business they can trust. After all, if you are not being honest about your values, ideals, and marketing, how can they trust you? 

As a business, you need to believe in your brand and be genuine in messages, visuals, and more. Everything associated with your brand should be consistent and authentic. Do not confuse the customers with a lack of consistency or a sudden change in brand attitude or values, as this will inevitably crash and burn. 

Building Your Brand The Right Way

A solid brand is the cornerstone of every successful business. If your brand is lacking, your sales are lacking. If your brand is lacking, your audience isn’t as committed to you as they could be. If your brand is lacking, there are easy things you can do to grow your business to new heights. 

For more professional tips on how to create a brand that ignites the passion of your audience, download our free ebook “5 Steps to Building a Successful Brand Identity”. Still have questions or need some insight into building your brand? At Carrboro Creative, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you perfect your message and get recognized for all the right reasons.

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