When you think of Starbucks, Nike, and Apple, what’s the first thing that pops into your head? Chances are, it has something to do with their logo, and that’s not an accident.
Companies like these million and billion-dollar industries pay the professionals big bucks to develop brands and tag phrases that catch customers’ attention. They will invest millions of dollars into planning exactly the right logo, down to the very last detail.
Would they do that if it wasn’t massively important? Not a chance, which means you also need to focus on your brand identity for your own business.
Creating the brand identity that matches what you’re trying to portray isn’t something you do overnight. Yes, it has to be something you like, but it’s more than that.
Your brand has to show that you know what your audience wants, too. It’s a strategic mix of your company’s personality and your audience’s preferences. When you’re ready to think like the pros, use these tips to create your personal brand identity.
1. Identify Your Ideal Audience
In any business, there is always a sweet spot for who the product or service appeals to the most. This is the area you want to devote your prime marketing to, so you need to know everything about those who fall in that category.
Before you move into developing your personal brand identity, ask yourself: Who is your target market? If you can’t answer this question thoroughly, don’t move on until you do.
Take all the time you need to create an ideal client avatar — in detail. This will help you to make them real and know what they want.
Get in their heads and homes, and walk through their average day.
What do they look like? Who is in their family? Where do they work? What are the pain points they have that your service or product can fill?
Once you know every aspect of your target audience, including their likes and dislikes, you can move on to designing your brand.
2. Check Out Your Competition
The worldwide web has made commerce a global market, which is both good and bad for you. Your business’s potential reach is unlimited, but so is your competition.
Unless you are in a brick and mortar or in-person service, you might have a lot of research to do as you check out anyone who has the same target audience as you.
Don’t take this step lightly. Sure, you offer the same services other companies do, but of course, yours is unique! You have a niche that they don’t, which makes you stand out. That’s great, and it’s going to help you be successful.
However, you want your brand to be different, too. Without research, you could inadvertently copy or closely mimic your competitor’s brand. This accidental issue can entangle you in expensive legal problems for years.
When it comes to brand identity, companies are serious about protecting their label. It’s much safer to do your research, choose something unique, and then get your own copyright protection.
3. Come Up With Your Elevator Pitch
As you began your business, people asked you what you did. For a while, you probably stammered through a long explanation, whittling it down as you became more comfortable with the question.
Now, when hit with the same question, you have a set spiel. This is your elevator pitch, but you may need to hone it.
The perfect elevator pitch is short and to the point, with a call to action at the end.
What is it you offer your clients, in thirty seconds or less?
This is basically who you are, what you do, and why you do it. These three factors are in your elevator pitch, but you should also include them in your personal brand identity. Mastering your pitch will make the creation of your brand and logo much easier!
4. Design Your Test Brand
Putting together your research, your ideal user’s knowledge, and your elevator pitch will turn into ideas for a brand! Once you have an idea, the next step is to design it visually.
Your skills and abilities are things other people aren’t quite as good at. In the same vein, not everyone has the crafty art talent in them. If designing a brand sounds intimidating to you, never fear! You have options!
You can develop a brand through graphic design and photo editing software. Many of these are free, like Canva. Make sure any images you use from the internet are freely usable and don’t need attribution.
Still not comfortable doing this yourself? Freelance sites like Fiverr are popular. Your freelancer will take the instructions you give them, design your brand logo, and then make revisions until you are satisfied.
5. Test Your Options Before Choosing
Those big companies we talked about earlier have multiple marketing advisors on one team. They use many artists to come up with a variety of options for their brands. This is a smart idea you can piggyback off of.
With only one design relying on your opinion, the results could be disappointing. You might fall in love with a design for your brand, but the rest of the world hates it. That’s why major businesses run test specs before choosing what to roll out.
Before you decide to spend a lot of time and money using a specific brand — test it out.
You don’t have to have a huge team and spend hours asking people to pick their favorite design. It’s easy and inexpensive to get user opinions through SurveyMonkey, YesInsights, ClickTools, or another legitimate site.
As you build your business, you’re going to want a personal brand identity to go with it. Your reputability and customer recognition will improve exponentially with the right brand!
These tips will guide you through the creation of this crucial step in your success. Follow them carefully, and the perfect brand identity will be yours!
Ryan Sundling is a Group Marketing Manager at Cardinal Group Management. He has over ten years of experience in the student housing industry and works with Sakara on a daily basis to grow their online presence.