Be intentional about building your brand.
Now, more than ever, it's important to intentionally build your brand. — Getty Images/VioletaStoimenova

Your brand is essentially your business's identity, including factors like your logo, company colors, voice and "personality." Having distinct branding helps customers recognize you and makes you stand out among your competition. However, it can be difficult to zero in on an identity, then implement it into a visual style and written tone. Here's how to build your brand from scratch.

[Read: What's the Difference Between Marketing vs. Branding? And Why You Should Know]

Steps to building a solid business brand

Developing a brand that resonates with your target customer is more important than ever before. In fact, 86% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they will support. These six steps will help you identify your audience, develop your brand and, most importantly, develop authenticity.

Research your target audience

In order to establish a brand, you need to know who you're trying to connect with. While your goal may be to reach out to “everyone,” your company should have a dedicated audience as your customer base. Once you have that customer base in mind, research them and their preferences. Read product reviews and subreddits to learn how they feel about similar products and competitors, as well as what they look for in businesses.

Research your competitors

Identify your direct competitors and analyze their established brands. Pay attention to their logo and color palette, what language they use and how they engage with their customers. Don't copy what you like and ignore what you don't; rather, consider what motivates their choices and how you can use that data to inform your own decisions as a business.

Define your company's purpose and values

Your company's purpose may be to sell products or provide a service, but it should be based on what motivates you and your employees. Think about the impression you want to leave on your customers and your community and make those values front and center of your brand.

[Read: CO— Blueprint: Rebuilding Your Brand]

In order to establish a brand, you need to know who you're trying to connect with.

Establish a voice

It's important that your brand has a distinct yet authentic voice. Do you write your materials in a formal tone or a more casual one? How do you speak to your customers during pitches and on support calls? Choose words, phrases and a distinct tone that matches your brand.

Create your visuals

Visual representation is one of the most distinct and immediate ways to establish your brand's uniqueness. Choose a color palette that conveys the way you want your customers to feel about your services. Design a logo that is easy to read, visually simple and recognizable in any size, be it a website header or Instagram avatar photo.

Build a strong digital presence

With so much business done online and through e-commerce today, it's important that your brand extends to social media. Ensure that your brand, including its visuals, voice and messaging, is consistent throughout your social media channels and other digital platforms. Through these platforms, engage with customers in a personal sense, answering their inquiries and responding to positive and negative comments.

[Read: 6 Strategies to Build and Strengthen Your Brand Through the Pandemic and Beyond]

Tools for building a brand

Creating a distinct look and voice is easier said than done. Here are some tools to help you build your brand.

  • Canva: Canva is a website and mobile app that turns anyone into a professional graphic designer. Canva’s tools and templates are easy to use no matter your artistic abilities, letting you create graphics for social media, presentations or any other type of visual material.
  • Designhill: If you need a logo but don't know any graphic designers, Designhill is a great resource. Simply submit your ideas and logo inspirations and they’ll pair you with their fleet of freelance designers. Or, if you’d rather choose yourself, browse through their list of designers and hire one whose style speaks to you.
  • Hootsuite: Managing multiple social media accounts can be overwhelming, especially if you have a small team. Hootsuite allows you and your team to plan, create and schedule your social media posts across various platforms all through one easy-to-use hub.
  • MailChimp: MailChimp is an all-in-one email marketing tool to let you import your contacts, create email campaigns and send them to various contacts. You can even create a landing page that lets people sign up for your marketing services.
  • HARO: Help a Reporter Out, or HARO, Is a resource that connects journalists and media outlets with professionals who have experience to be used as sources. It's an easy-to-use and great way to find an expert versus doing hours of search engine research.

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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