How to Build Your Own Brand in 8 Simple Steps
This article was last updated on March 27, 2022.
According to Dazed Media’s 2031 A Future World Report, “46% of Gen Z feels connected to brands that are sustainable and have strong ethics, 21% care about brands being clear about their intentions and 17% say they seek out brands that have a clear point of view.” It’s clear that a strategic brand identity is more important than ever. Brands are tailoring experiences both on and offline to address these evolving consumer needs, not only to convey their ethics and intentions, but to shape how their audiences perceive them.
For many businesses, building a brand is the result of a long, organic process; however, with the right intentions—from developing the right concept to creating a logo—you can jump start your brand building. Let’s dive in to how you can build your brand in just eight simple steps:
What is a brand?
Wix user and established brand consultant, author and designer Debbie Millman defines branding as “deliberate differentiation,” or the unique point of view which strategically sets a business apart from its competition.
Put simply, a brand is the story a company tells across all points of contact with its audiences. From its visual look-and-feel to the written language, these assets amount to a cohesive brand identity. While this article refers to the branding of businesses, the information presented here equally applies to all types of branding.
How to build a brand in 8 steps
01. Research the competition
Before diving deep into your brand, develop a clear grasp of your playing field. Conduct market research to define your target audience as well as direct and indirect competitors.
Target audience: First, understand your ideal customers. Create buyer personas, or fictional representations of them, by listing what you know or envision about them, such as their age, occupation and interests. Visit their favorite online environments, from most frequented subreddits, Instagram hashtags or Discord threads, to see what gets them excited, what products they prefer and how they talk to one another. Knowing your customers will make it easier for your brand to address their needs and speak their language. For example, if you're targeting a specific age group, like Gen Z, you need to understand Gen Z branding in order to speak to this audience.
Market competitors: Second, search online for other companies within your industry and niche that already target this market. Ideally, you’d complete a full SWOT analysis, but if you’d rather speed things up, simply note what works and doesn’t across each company’s design and marketing strategy. Survey their website branding and social media platforms for tone of voice and brand messaging and observe any elements you’d like your brand to include, as well as any that are missing or could be improved.
02. Establish your brand personality
Going back to Debbie Millman’s definition of “deliberate differentiation,” a brand can’t appeal to everyone all at once. In fact, good branding requires you to commit to a smaller, well-defined niche.
As part of your brand strategy, compose a list of adjectives describing your company’s character, as if talking about a person. Would it be better portrayed as classy or trendy? Is it reliable and mature, or edgy and youthful?
Next, think about the story you want your brand to tell. Your brand story will comprise your core values and your mission statement and helps audiences feel like they share similar goals and stand for the same ideas.
To help you define your brand purpose, answer a few questions. According to author Simon Sinek, “People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. Sinek’s famous “Golden Circle” encourages brands to focus on the “why,” before tackling questions of “how” or “what.” Focus on your brand’s core values and purpose, and the rest will easily and organically fall into place.
Ask yourself the following three questions:
Why does your business exist?
How does it do business?
What does your business do?
Next, think about what makes your brand’s offering and operation unique. More importantly, view your business from your customer’s vantage point and think about how your work or product benefits them. What can make them care deeply about your brand? For example, let’s say you own a local food delivery service. Do you aim to send out items as fast as possible, or do you focus on your superb customer service? Maybe you use biodegradable packaging in your deliveries because your business values sustainability? Or perhaps your family-owned delivery service knows everyone in town by name? Outline this in your brand manifesto, an outward-facing declaration of your brand’s core motivation.
Going forward, your brand identity should shine through your various assets and experiences. Furthermore, defining your brand personality attributes from the start will prevent having to prematurely rebrand.
03. Choose the right business name
The question of how to come up with a brand name is hardly ever easy to answer. A good name conveys your essence and strengthens your business’s credibility right off the bat.
Look for a short, sweet and easy-to-pronounce name to help people easily recognize and remember your business. Try to have it reflect your brand personality, core values or product. If we go back to our delivery service example, this business can pick a name to highlight either its speed and efficiency or its close-knit, familiar style.
Keep in mind that your name should represent your business but also keep expansion options open. For example, if you currently operate a ghost kitchen but dream of opening a full-scale restaurant, make sure your brand name accommodates your future business plans just as well.
Take a look at Trip, a line of CBD infused oils and beverages created to reduce stress and channel mental clarity. The brand name is clever, catchy and works almost as a play on words. It evokes several meanings including a journey of some sort, a psychedelic experience and a kind of stumble or fall from reality. This subtle name effortlessly takes both the literal and colloquial meanings of the word to effectively represent the brand.
To pick the perfect encapsulation of your brand, turn to online tools such as the Wix Business Name Generator. After answering a few simple questions about your unique business, you can pick from a large list of name options. You can rest assured that this tool only suggests options with available domain names, helping to streamline the process of naming your brand and creating a website.
If you come up with your own name or use a different name generator, be sure to look up your name of choice on search engines and social media platforms to check that it hasn’t been claimed yet. Finally, reach out to your local business registration service to verify that your name isn’t already trademarked.
04. Craft a catchy slogan
In addition to a name and logo, come up with a short, catchy slogan that captures your brand's spirit and values.
Not all businesses have or need slogans, but these phrases serve as a handy brand asset, helping people connect to your work. A slogan can show up pretty much everywhere, from your company’s business cards to its Instagram bio.
When crafting a slogan, look to successful catchy slogan examples from TikTok’s “Make every second count,” to Skittles’ “Taste the rainbow.” Notice how these unforgettable sayings portray a certain identity in just a few words—whether it’s a liberated, ‘anything goes’ atmosphere, or one that’s playful and colorful.
05. Design a professional logo
While your brand is the sum of your consistent assets over time —your logo sits at the heart of your branding efforts. A logo is often the first and most prominent presentation of your business to the world, and it can largely cement your initial brand perception.
If you need help with how to design a logo, look at existing brands for inspiration, like the interlocking C’s in Chanel’s logo or the handwritten Walt Disney signature. Notice that many of these famous logos aren’t literal in their design. Placing your brand’s identity and personality on display, without depicting your actual product, is a good logo design tip that may suit your brand.
Create and customize a symbol that’s right for your business using the Wix Logo Maker. Once you’ve finalized your design, you can download high-quality files of your logo and place it everywhere—from your professional website and its much smaller favicon to branded merchandise and more.
To ensure your logo appears presentable at any size and in any location, make sure that it’s flexible. A flexible logo has various iterations for different contexts. For example, a full design in most instances but just the icon or wordmark alone when space is limited.
Consider your brand values and voice in your logo design. Every detail from the color palette to the typography helps communicate your brand’s story. For example, look at Opal Camera’s logo and branding aesthetic. The professional webcam company uses an understated logo and black and white color palette to embody the product’s core principles of upping WFH basics. The simple yet memorable logo pairs two interacting geometric shapes to create the concept of the product itself. We see a circle representing the lens in the camera and the triangle, indicative of the flash or an image being captured.
06. Define a visual language
Another part of your brand personality is your look-and-feel, or visual identity. While this encompasses your logo design, it extends to so much more.
A visual identity unifies a brand’s appearance, ensuring consistency across your business assets—from your website design to your newsletter layout, social media feeds, the design of your products, packaging and your brick and mortar signage. The shared visual will immediately and effortlessly bring your brand to mind.
Your brand’s visual identity can include:
Brand colors: Brand colors are a palette of around five to ten colors. A consistent and strategic application of color can increase brand awareness. As an example, think of Slack’s quartet of red, green, yellow and blue, or Instagram’s gradient of warm hues. When crafting your business’s color palette, keep color psychology principles in mind. In addition, think of the colors most commonly associated with your industry. If we look at the food and restaurant industry, for instance, red, orange and yellow are often used to evoke appetite, while green is used to promote well-being.
Typography: Your brand’s font scheme can speak volumes about your brand identity. Use one to three fonts consistently for a cohesive, easily-recognizable look. Consider whether you want to use a traditional serif font (with decorative “tails” on the ends of letter strokes), a more modern sans serif (without such lines), or combine different styles to create beautiful font pairings. While you can use free fonts, you might want to purchase one or two font licenses for your brand to ensure you’re legally entitled to all of the relevant typographical uses. These fonts, after all, will serve your business for the long run.
Logo: Your logo serves as a tiny ambassador across each brand touchstone. Incorporate your brand colors and typography in your logo design to create a cohesive look and convey your brand values.
Photography: As you build your brand, pay attention to the subjects in your photography, as well as the overall composition and style. Be sure to diversify your models and subjects to communicate your brand effectively across assets like social media posts and email marketing campaigns.
Graphics, illustrations and icons: In addition to your photographs, integrate graphics, illustrations and icons in your visual identity to shape your brand’s messaging and contribute to a cohesive look. This can include everything from the CTA buttons on your website to your social media profile pictures and package labels.
Creating a brand style guide to outline your identity in one definitive place will help maintain consistency. As your brand grows and evolves, a style guide serves as a foundation for anyone who interacts with your brand—employees, external contractors, partners and stakeholders—to stay on the same page.
Your style guide also includes non-visual branding elements that guide every decision like your mission and vision statements. For further guidance, check out these brand style guide examples.
07. Build a brand voice
Now that your brand has its own visual language, create one for your words, too. A brand voice is your communication style—how you talk and write to your audience. Your voice should extend to everything from your website’s written content and microcopy, to your hashtags and even the words you use when talking face-to-face with clients.
Your voice should stem naturally from your brand personality. If your brand is fun-loving and youthful, use casual language and occasionally even slang. If it’s formal and mature, you’d probably prefer professional-sounding language, with industry jargon here and there. The Wix brand voice, for example, treads a fine line between professional and fun, sounding honest, human and informative.
08. Apply your branding consistently
The single most important thing you can do to build your brand is stay consistent. As Jackie Treitz, Wix user and founder of the Paper Bakery, puts it:
“Consistency is key. Repetition and consistency make for a strong brand identity. You want a well-established brand voice and you want people to hear it loud and clear.”
Pro tip: For more guidance from Jackie, plus insight from her experience on the Netflix show Motel Makeover, check out her “In Conversation” on branding advice.
For a brand to effectively connect with its client base, it needs to be applied over and over again. Use all of the above mentioned elements—your logo, slogan, visual language and brand voice—in all your business ventures. As your business grows and evolves, your brand will too.
Most importantly, make sure that your brand extends beyond your visual assets. As Jason Saran of Brandswaggin, a Wix Partner and branding agency, explains:
“My experience of creating several brands led me to create a pretty unconventional definition of branding. In my own words, branding is the sum of impressions of all the interactions a customer has with a company. Branding assets, logos and guidelines are all important, but the way you interact with your customers will leave them with a feeling that will last a lifetime.”
You need to live and breathe your brand, and everything from your logo to your communication with clients should tie back to your company mission. Infuse your brand's personality and values into everything you do, and you'll get a base of loyal customers that come back for more. Branded merchandise—from mugs and tote bags to stickers and business cards—is a popular method to strengthen newly-established businesses outside of the web. You can then distribute them to employees to boost team motivation or to loyal clients to show your appreciation and gain their trust. Explore your options with these business card examples.
By Kylie Goldstein
Branding Expert and Marketing Blogger
By Eden Spivak
Design Expert & Writer