Ping…. You’ve had that lightbulb moment. You’ve discovered a life-changing solution to a problem that you want to tell the world about. You’ve decided that you’re going to launch a business, but where do you start? And how on earth do you create a brand?
It’s unrealistic to think that a new start-up has the capital or marketing budget to employ somebody full time, or even bring in an external resource. Fear not, here at Blue Moon we’re passionate about making GOOD marketing accessible to all no matter where your journey begins. It’s about building bridges to overcome knowledge gaps. And finding creative and alternative ways that don’t cripple your purse strings. It’s about helping you to help yourself and bringing brands to life in the process!
So how do you do it?
Well, to build a brand, firstly we need to understand what one is. The best brands appear seamless, but they didn’t get that way by chance. Take Apple for example. When you think of Apple, I bet you instantly use words such as ‘innovation’, ‘design’ and ‘user experience’. Or take Nike, from the iconic ‘swoosh’ to the empowering 3-word tag line (I bet you said it in your head just now). Great brands don’t just tell you what they are, they instill an emotion into you. They resonate with you. They empower you. And they guide you on EXACTLY how to feel.
Here’s 6 steps to launch your brand to the MOON!
Identify WHO your target audience is and WHAT they want
This might sound ridiculously simple but honestly, you’d be surprised! Whether you’ve created a solution to a common problem or you’ve innovated the latest in cutting-edge technology, chances are you’ve done it for reason, and you broadly know who your product or service is aimed at. One thing we are experiencing time and time again with the businesses we engage with is that they are afraid to segment the market, and in doing so try to be ‘all things to all people’. In an ideal world, I’m sure we’d all love to fill that role. But consumers change their minds at the drop of a hat. As we grow and evolve as individuals, our beliefs, priorities and values all change. So don’t be afraid to get specific. The more specific you are, the more chance of success you have.
Ask yourself three questions:
- What EXACTLY is offering? Is a product? Is it a service?
- Who would my PERFECT customer be? (If they were a person, how old would they be, what would they wear, what’s their hobbies, interests and personality traits. Lose yourself in the detail here! What’s their biggest bug bearer? And how will your product influence and impact their lives?)
- WHAT or WHO is already out there? Chances are, someone is already solving the problems your ideal customer has. So, who is it and how can you differentiate?
By getting super specific and identifying answers to these questions this will focus-in exactly who you wish to serve with your product or service and what factors in their life will determine how well it is received.
Once you lay the foundations with your target audience and begin your journey you can better understand what works and what doesn’t, what people are receptive to, what resonates with them and how competitors will react to your presence.
2. Discover your Values
So, we know what you do and who it’s for, but what are your VALUES that underpin it all? Your values and your businesses culture play a HUGE role in determining the success of your brand. Having strong values are like your guiding star. They underpin everything you do as a business and influence even the smallest of your everyday behaviours. They keep you accountable and they provide some great metrics to measure your business performance against as well as recruiting and retaining the right talent in your workforce.
Regardless of whether you’re a business owner or an individual, living life by your values is one of the most important things you can do.
If you’re a business, then having clear company values helps you ensure that all your employees are working towards the same goals. Your core values support the company’s vision and help to shape both its culture and its future.
As an individual, having clear personal values is your guiding star. They tell you what kind of person you are, inspire the kind of person you want to be, and provide guidelines, or even imperatives that influence every decision you make. With the right set of values, they can help us navigate through difficult times and important decisions and if truly adhered to, values have the power to determine how your life – or your brand – pans out. Pretty powerful stuff!
The Best Brands have between 3 – 5 values. Too many and you won’t remember them!
You may know immediately what your values are, but we’d be lying if we said that it always that easy! A good place to start with identifying your values is by using the resources created by the great Bréne Brown, author and podcast owner of Dare Greatly & Dare to Lead.
3. Align your Values with a wider Branding Strategy
It’s crucial that what you say and how you behave ‘internally’ (through your values) should have a direct correlation to what goes on ‘externally’. A great brand will be true to your businesses values and relevant to your customer’s wants and needs, whilst differentiating you from your competitors. It is in this stage that you should consider:
- What is your Brand Name? (You may have known this from day dot or it may have come together more easily now as a result of Steps 1 & 2)
- What is your Mission Statement or Promise?
- Do you have a Slogan or Tagline that taps into your Promise?
- What is your Tone of Voice? Does your brand want to comes across warm and friendly? Confident and authoritative? Corporate and serious? It doesn’t matter which, so long as it’s aligned with the nature of your values and something you can maintain consistently in your promotion and messaging.
- Do you have enough content now to create a 30 second Elevator Pitch?
We ALWAYS recommend having an Elevator Pitch in your back pocket as you never know when a networking opportunity may arise! For help with Networking, check reach out to our amazing client Rochelle at Cutclass!
4. Build your Identity
Now that you’ve mapped out your business and you understand the crux of what forms your brand, you now need to bring it to life – visually, through the form of Brand Guidelines. And before you say anything, we are NOT talking about a 60-page PDF for dummies. Guidelines to your brand’s identity should be short and sweet and created in any format to work for you. So long as you can demonstrate what your font, colours and logo look like, and provide some basic rules on how you and your team need to use them then you’ll be flying!
If you haven’t got the budget for design specialists then we recommend using Canva! Canva has a range of pre-set templates which can be easily adapted using your choice of colours, fonts and images. Canva has even set up a new feature called a Brand Kit which in our opinion is awesome and sets you up perfectly for our fifth and final step.
5. Keep it Consistent
Brand consistency ensures that your brand is easily recognisable across all marketing channels and touch points. To achieve a unified look across all of your designs, Canva’s Brand Kit is amazing as it enables you to drag and drop your brand logo, colours and even your own fonts into the kit where it will be stored and applied across all your company’s designs. Plus, with one click, you can update any design to ensure ongoing consistency. How easy is that?
6. Consider a Comms Plan
There has never been an easier time to gain exposure for your business across multiple domains (stay tuned for another blog on this), but sometimes we hear from clients that they are ‘overwhelmed’ with all of the options. Creating a Communication Strategy will go some way to alleviate this, and will keep you focused and coordinated to ensure you are reaching the right people, at the right time, with the right proposition. By identifying your customer touch points and having already established your external ‘personality’ this will enable you to remain consistent and authentic in line with your values. In its most basic form, it’s about showing up every day and doing what you said you would in order to resonate or add value to your customer’s and stakeholder’s life. Whether that be internal to staff or external to your customers, maintaining a successful brand requires just that – maintenance.
Launching and running a successful brand is never a done deal. There’s always more you could be doing, and always more you should be saying. But that’s the beauty of it. You have to nurture your brand. Give it the right fundamentals to grow and then care for it throughout its entire lifespan. Doing everything you can to improve it and make it better, time after time after time. The minute you stop caring for your brand, it’s game over.
If you need help or advice with any of the above steps or you’d like us to take the reins for you and really launch your brand to the moon then please get in touch. Likewiseif you’ve had any of your own branding successes, please shout about them on social by tagging us @bluemoon_marketingltd. We’d love to hear from you!