Branding is important for your business.
The way you brand your company should closely connect with your mission and values. — valentinrussanov/Getty Images

Branding often involves choosing and creating features like company colors, logos and taglines. But it extends further into your company’s mission and values: Your brand should drive each stage of your business, from launch to becoming a full-fledged company. Here’s how to remain consistent with your branding efforts — no matter what phase of development you’re in.

What is branding?

Branding is the process of creating and maintaining an identity based on your company’s objectives and offerings. However, there are superficial aspects of branding that you must consider as well, including visual elements that help your audience recognize you.

When developing your brand, you should ask yourself why your business exists, what sets you apart from your competitors, who your target audience is and what problems they have that you can solve.

[Read: A Beginner's Guide to Branding Your Business]

Branding for every stage

Each stage of your company requires a different approach to branding. Here are three developmental periods to consider when branding for your business, and how best to maintain your brand throughout each:

Startup

During the startup process, you’ll want to focus on defining your brand. Determine who your target audience is, what problems they have and how your business solves those problems. Also, research your competitors to determine any gaps you might be able to bridge for your own brand. What makes you different from them, and how might you capitalize on that?

This stage is also when you should create your logo and tagline, and select the colors associated with your business. Essentially, you’re doing all the behind-the-scenes work to lay a baseline for your brand, so you can move onto the next phase of successfully growing your business.

Branding often involves choosing and creating features like company colors, logos and taglines.

Growth mode

Now that you’ve defined your brand, it’s time to market it. Through strategies like content marketing, you can share your brand with your customers via social media, a company blog, email, advertisements and more.

This phase is where you build trust and credibility with your audience. By being consistent with your branding, expressing exactly who you are and what your business has to offer, you’ll recruit and retain more consumers and begin to position yourself as an expert in your industry.

[Read: 3 Ways to Use Business Development for Growth]

Multi-generation business

The last stage of your business requires you to reevaluate how you’re spreading your brand’s message. By now, you’ve done well enough to cultivate success and awareness around your brand, but are your efforts still suitable for you at this point in your business?

The trick is not to change your message, but to increase its visibility to all consumers. Now that you’ve been in business for some time, revisit your target audience — you might consider appealing to a larger pool of consumers across multiple generations.

Remember, you should never write off a certain generation. While some demographics may be more relevant to your business (for example, you target millennials more than Gen Xers), you’ll miss out on many potential customers by discounting other generations completely.

Promoting and sharing your brand

Your branding efforts should be pushed not only through social sites like Instagram and Facebook, but also through platforms like email and blogs to widen your reach. Experiment with both traditional marketing, like print ads and networking, and more current marketing strategies, like video and influencer marketing.

“[Your brand] must be communicated across social, digital and traditional media to feed your … fans with the information the need to feel and stay connected to you,” Patrick Hanlon, CEO of PrimalBranding.co, told CO—. “Your users are hungry for … [the things] that make brands exciting, resonant, trustworthy, must-have parts of their lives.”

Branding is integral to every business -- a way to engage your consumers and maintain your “identity.” However, as you grow, you’ll want to continuously revisit your branding strategy to ensure you’re always moving forward. By branding at every stage, you’ll help your business attract and retain customers for years to come.

[Read: 2020 Trends You Can Leverage to Grow Your Business]

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published January 24, 2020