Concepts like sales and promotions are easy to grasp. You present a product or service to potential buyers with the objective of getting them to make a purchase. Easy peasy.

While closely connected to sales, marketing is a more nuanced discipline that includes building awareness and cultivating customer loyalty. Most marketing revolves around building a solid brand, too. Building a brand can be done on a personal level at times, but it’s an essential element for businesses.

If you’re struggling to create a positive, sustainable image for your organization, here are 5 steps on how to build a successful brand this year.

1. Understand Branding

It's challenging to succeed at branding if you can't grasp the reason it exists in the first place. Why are you taking the time to shape a personality for a cold corporate identity? What does it even mean to create "a brand"?

Facebook hits the nail on the head by defining a brand as “the collection of associations that people have about a product or business. People have personalities. Businesses have brands.”

Individuals shape their personalities by how they act, what they say, and even the third-party stories people hear or read about them. In the same way, the various associations that consumers have with your brand will shape how they view your company’s personality.

A brand may be intangible, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a critical business asset. Your brand lies at the heart of how the public perceives your company. When successful, a brand has the power to provide several key benefits for your business, including:

  • Generating organic brand awareness
  • Cultivating loyalty through communicating your mission and vision to consumers
  • Creating a positive image and good word-of-mouth marketing

As you build your brand, remember the vital role that it plays in your company's overall marketing success or failure.

2. Research and Clarify

When building a brand, you want to start by understanding the world within which your brand will operate. Begin with market research. Take some time to identify what your brand's targeted audience is.

If you already have a business, this shouldn't be too difficult. If you're starting a business, this is essential to the business planning phase. The Small Business Administration has a nifty guide to help inform your market research on a more detailed level.

Once you’ve figured out who you’ll be catering your brand to, engage with them to find out more. Use online forums, surveys, and even one-on-one conversations with your audience to discover what pain points and struggles they share. What needs do they have?

Don't forget your competition, too. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • What brands are already established in your industry?
  • What do they look like?
  • What elements have helped them find success or experience failure?

As you collect information, use it to clarify what your brand will look like. Distill everything into a unique selling proposition (USP). This process should innovatively emphasize your company's primary qualities and benefits — both of which will be central factors to your brand.

3. Set the Stage

Once you have a clear idea of whom your business will be marketing to, it’s time to set the stage to reach that group of individuals. Throughout this process, remember that the goal is to be proactive, not reactive.

Don’t adjust your brand as part of a reactionary response to problems or inconsistencies. Do your best to establish a clear and consistent brand from the get-go.

Begin with your business name. If your business already exists, you don't have much choice here. However, take this initial step seriously if you're planning on a complete rebrand or starting from scratch.

LegalZoom recommends several things to consider as you choose your business name. Some are obvious, such as avoiding things similar to competitors and following state guidelines. Other elements are more brand-focused, like picking a name that is memorable, easy to spell, and doesn’t box you in.

Strive to be consistent with the feel of the brand you ultimately want to build. This should go further than your business name, leading us to our next step.

4. Create Consistency

Consistency is critical for a successful brand and extends to every aspect of your brand, starting with your name but also including:

  • Logos, icons, and taglines: These appear on practically everything and should be punchy, simple, and easy to recognize.
  • Color palettes and fonts: From color shades to serifs, the subtle details of your brand will help you stand out and leave an impression.
  • Voice, tone, and personality: What does your brand sound like? What verbiage does it use? What is its tone of voice? Codify the elements that define your brand’s personality.
  • Brand story, vision, and message: Finally, what core concepts lie at your brand's heart? What convictions, message, and vision do you want others to see every time they engage with you?

As you develop these resources, pull them together in a brand style guide. The guide could be a formal, printed book or an online, living document.

Regardless, this item should contain the (updated!) rules and resources that make your brand work. HubSpot has a great list of brand style guide examples to inspire your own brand’s guidebook.

5. Launch (and Maintain) Your Brand

Once you’ve done your research, set the stage, and created consistency through your brand style guide, it’s time to launch (or relaunch) your brand. As you do so, remember to remain proactive about maintaining consistency with every aspect of your branding.

It doesn’t matter if you’re building an e-commerce website, pulling together a no-code business app, or creating content for a marketing campaign. Run every decision through the filter of how it should look coming from your brand. Here are three key questions to help you establish this mental filter whenever making a decision:

  • Are you being consistent with your brand style guidelines?
  • Does the current activity fit your brand’s personality? (And if not, what can you adjust to get it to line up?)
  • Does it address your audience’s current pain points through the lens of your brand’s USP?

Ask these questions in every business situation.

Finding Branding Success With Bubble

Making an effort to maintain brand consistency can feel like a hassle. But rest assured, it’s well worth the effort. The good news is that there are tools like Bubble’s no-code app builder that can make the process much easier as you go along.

You may not see the benefits as clearly as you do when you close a sale. Nevertheless, the momentum that a well-crafted and expertly executed brand can build over time can become a cornerstone of your company’s sustained success.

About Bubble

Bubble is a leader in the no-code movement. Bubble offers a powerful point-and-click web editor and cloud hosting platform that allows users to build fully customizable web applications and workflows, ranging from simple prototypes to complex marketplaces, SaaS products, and more. Millions of users are building and launching businesses on Bubble - many have gone on to participate in top accelerator programs, such as Y Combinator, or raise $365M in venture funding. Bubble is more than just a product. We are a strong community of builders and entrepreneurs that are united by the belief that everyone should be able to create technology.