Typically, half of small business owners have some kind of vision for their logo. The other half are open to creative ideas—and know what they like when they see it.
The Ultimate Guide to Create a Brand Identity [FREE TOOLKIT]
A strong brand identity doesn’t happen overnight. You can’t just pick a few colors and haphazardly slap a logo together. You need to approach your design strategically to build an identity that truly reflects your brand—and can support you as you grow. This requires deep thinking, a team with strong communication and design skills, and an intimate understanding of who you are, what you do, and how you want to present your brand to the world.
This work isn’t easy, but it’s some of the most important work that any brand can do. So if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it the right way. Of course, tackling a brand identity can be both intimidating and confusing. What should it include? How do you start? Who needs to be involved?
Don’t worry. With the right guidance, you can move through the process effectively, and that’s why we’re here. To make it easy, we’ve broken it all down into this simple step-by-step guide, including our best tips and handy toolkit to help you along the way. Follow this guide and you’ll end up with a beautiful, functional brand identity that will help you outshine your competition, connect with the right people, and tell your brand story through every piece of content.
Table of Contents
What is a brand?
When you think about it, people have personal brands, too. We each have a name, a face, a style, a way of communicating, and with these traits, we make different impressions on different people.
You can’t effectively approach how to create a brand without being consistent and maintaining that consistency as you extend your brand to every part of your business. The best way to build a brand starts with establishing what that consistency is going to look like and the feeling you want it to evoke.
Free Reading List: How to Brand Your Business
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How to build a brand
Research competitor brands in your industry.
Creating a brand competitor research spreadsheet
Competitor research is a key element of your own brand development. Start by creating a brand competitor spreadsheet for comparison. You can use Google Sheets, Excel, or even just a notebook.
Choose a few competitors, two to four (2-4) is a good number for your comparison chart. You might want to take a look at other local businesses, or even aim to benchmark against name brands.
1. Define your core brand identity
To remind you, your core brand identity is often defined by your company’s vision (why your company exists), mission (what your company does), and values (the beliefs that guide your company’s actions).
If you have an existing company, you evaluated your core brand identity in the discovery phase (Phase 1). You now have a chance to evolve that identity to better match your current/future vision, mission, and values.
2. Articulate your brand positioning
3. Articulate your unique selling proposition
For example, you could say that Apple’s USP is found in “user experience.” The value proposition of everything Apple does is meant to have the user at its core.
Figuring out your USP can take time, but it’s a crucial piece of your brand and value proposition. Knowing what it is can help you sell better to your existing and prospective customers.
That’s because when customers hear your brand name, see your logo, view your business card, or see other elements of your brand identity, they’ll subconsciously connect your USP to your brand.
And be careful not to adopt the USP of a competitor. Don’t try to imitate others – build a unique identity and value proposition based on your customers’ feedback. Small business expert Ramon Ray explains:
Don’t try to be someone else. it’s tempting to look at another person or business and imitate them. This isn’t a good strategy. Instead, listen to your customers. What do they say they like about your business? What would they change? But don’t just listen to what your customer says … be sure your team communicates and meets your customers’ expectations through your brand identity and overall design so that your clients and prospects know you’re listening to them.
4. Develop your brand identity design assets
When you understand your brand and the components that define brand identity (colors, typography, shapes, etc.), it’s time for you to work with your graphic designer to develop the creative elements that will help you build a brand and give life to your brand identity. These include your logo, website design, product packaging, brochures, and more. We cover these issues in detail in our definitive brand identity guide.
Global Businesses with Top 10 Branding
Are you curious about which companies around the world have the most valuable brands? Here’s a quick list of those with top 10 brand value, according to Forbes. Use them for inspiration, or competition!
Business branding from the beginning is one of the best fundamental things to do for long-lasting growth. It’s also something that established companies can turn their attention to for increased brand awareness and trust.
It’s never too late to start branding your business. Use these tips to differentiate, target, and communicate. More importantly, to stay ahead of the competition!
- Have a professional logo designed, but don’t overthink it.
- Understand who your customer is, but don’t try to be everything to everyone.
- Find inspiration from other brands, but don’t rip them off.
- Create a brand slogan or tagline, but don’t make it too long.
- Research current trends, but don’t get caught up in them.
- Determine your brand “personality”, but don’t try too hard.
- Develop a unique business culture, but don’t go against your values.
- Trademark your brand, but don’t put TMs everywhere.
- Use a consistent voice, but don’t change it too frequently.
- Boost your brand, but don’t be shy about it.
What are your favorite small business branding ideas? Have you done something awesome that has helped build your brand?
Brand Slogan Quiz Answers:
Mercedes-Benz – The Best or Nothing
Subway – Eat Fresh
Walmart – Save Money. Live Better.
Staples – That Was Easy
Allstate – You’re in Good Hands
LOreal – Because You’re Worth It
Need branding help? FreshSparks is a branding agency specializing in brand strategy, brand identity, website design, and brand marketing. We can help you with branding your business successfully. Contact us to learn more.