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Building a Brand Checklist for Startups

by Rajdeep Basu

Starting a business is an exciting adventure, or at least that’s the way it should be viewed. There’s a lot that goes into it and it can be easy to get lost in the weeds. If you’re a small business that is struggling to figure out where you fit into all of this, then it might be time to rethink your branding.

If you don’t yet have a place in the business world, then maybe you need to learn how building a brand can help your business grow, it can help your business establish a clear message to put out to consumers and a clear overall business niche. It also allows your business to rely on the recognition of its brand to carry it forward.

If you have a business, any business, your brand and logo are the first things that are most recognizable about that business. You’ll want to make sure, therefore, that your brand is memorable. You want it to be short and to the point. Everyone knows McDonalds, for example, because of the Golden Arches. But the McDonalds brand has changed over the years, though the Golden Arches have remained a constant. That’s brand recognition and continuity – critical elements of building a brand.

But what are the steps to building (or re-building) a brand? What questions do you need answers to? We’re here to help you simplify this question and break it down into more manageable parts.

What Do I Want My Brand To Say About My Business?

The first question you have to ask yourself is what, precisely, is your business? Why did you start the business in the first place? A brand says something about a business – any business. You can have the best product in the world, but if your branding is terrible, people aren’t going to know about it.

The first step in building a brand is to figure out what you want your brand to say about your business. It may be best to consult with a business marketing professional on this, but if you have your own answers, then go forth to the next step.

What Does Your Business Do?

One thing you’ll want to make sure is that your brand reflects your business model. If your business offers a series of products, you’ll want to make sure that branding in some way reflects those products. For McDonalds, it’s the colour yellow or ‘gold’ – their fries being the same colour as their branding, which makes the association possible. If you’re building a brand, make sure that it says something about your business that makes it easy to associate with your business.

How Can My Business Grow From This Brand?

Branding in any business is a lot of work. It requires a lot of coordination between marketers and could require changing websites, street signs, marketing materials and more. You’ll want to make sure that taking the step to build a brand or rebrand an existing business is going to be worth it. You’ll need to have a concrete plan as to why and how a rebuild is going to make you money, rather than cost you money. Perhaps your business doesn’t really have much of a brand to speak of and is simply word-of-mouth and adding in a branding element will allow you to market your business more easily.

A Checklist

Here’s a basic checklist of everything you need to do in building your brand (write all this down):

  1. Your mission statement – why did you start your business?
  2. Your vision – what do you want to achieve?
  3. Your business values – how will you achieve your vision?
  4. What does your business offer?
  5. Your ideal client
  6. How your business differs from competitors
  7. Your brand story
  8. Design your branding – logos, etc
  9. Your brand voice – any keywords that relate to your business
  10. Set boundaries – what will you say yes or no to?

Building a brand around a business is a tough job, it requires an executable vision, intense planning and smooth business sense. 

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