Think about when you woke up this morning. Maybe you turned off the alarm on your iPhone. Then you went into the bathroom and brushed your teeth with Crest toothpaste, took a shower using a bar of Dial soap, got dressed and put on your favorite Toms shoes. On your way to work, you stopped by Starbucks drive-through in your Honda Pilot for a cold brew.
Every day, we’re surrounded by brands we’re loyal to, whether it’s an iPhone or an Android, Starbucks or Folgers, Crest or Colgate, Honda or Toyota. There are reasons why we pick one brand over another.
We know what brands we like. But branding is a word that is thrown around in the business and marketing world that can be vague and confusing.
What is branding, anyway, and how do you do it?
A brand is the idea, image or feeling that people have when they use or think about specific products.
Entrepreneur.com defines a brand as: “Your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors'. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.”
Whether it’s Nike, Toms shoes, Trader Joe’s, Disney, Tesla, LEGO. I could go on and on. And we could probably all identify what makes those brands stand out and what they stand for:
Nike = Empowerment (“Just do it!”)
Toms Shoes = Altruism (‘We ‘stand’ on issues that matter)
Trader Joe’s = Good food that’s fun to buy (Cookie Butter anyone?)
Disney = Quality family entertainment
Tesla = Futuristic electric cars with great design (one of my favorite brands!)
LEGO = Innovative building blocks that encourage creativity in kids (and adults!)
Each of the products we use every day have a distinct brand “personality.” When we use those products it conjures up certain feelings, ideas, emotions whether we realize it or not.
Think about Crest toothpaste. You may use it every morning, and without thinking about it, you feel good about using a product that has been around since 1955, that has the approval of 9 out of 10 dentists, and maybe has even been recommended by your own dentist.
When you pull that red, white, and blue tube out of your medicine cabinet every morning, you feel safe and confident that the product will work and prevent cavities. Maybe you even feel nostalgia because it’s the brand of toothpaste you used as a kid.
It’s no accident that you feel that way about Crest. No doubt the folks at Crest HQ have been working for decades to perfect the design of their packaging, their advertising, the quality and consistency of their product, in procuring recommendations from the American Dental Association, in getting dentists to recommend their products. Even how Crest TASTES has probably been the topic of more than a few meetings at Crest HQ. Brand personality doesn’t just happen. A company or person has to establish and cultivate their brand, find out what the audience wants and why their product is better than that of the competition.
So what does this have to do with you? Well, if you have your own business, or are your launching a personal brand online, if you want to be successful you need to establish, cultivate, and grow your own brand.
In this guide, I want to help you do just that.
Learn to build a website and a brand you can be proud of
The Advent of Online Brands
With the rise of the Internet 20 years ago, and the advent of online brands and social media, also came the rise of web-only brands and personal brands. If you’re an online entrepreneur with digital-only products, you don’t need to worry as much about branding the packaging of your product, but you DO need to think about the design of your website, the quality of your digital products, the values and personality you want to communicate to your audience, and the images and messaging of your Instagram account, telling your story, what differentiates you from other online companies in your space, among other things.
But whether you have a brick-and-mortar store with a physical product, or you have a web-only brand, the benefits of brand are still the same:
- Branding is your (or your company’s) unique personality
- It helps customers identify you or your products
- Helps distinguish your or your products from the competition
- Influences how people perceive you or your business
- Increases the value of you or your business
You may be feeling overwhelmed at this point. But don’t worry! Fortune 500 companies may spend fortunes on focus groups, testing, design, packaging to establish their brand. But as an online entrepreneur, you can start small! I did. And you can, too.
You don’t have to have it all figured out at first. If you waited until everything was perfect and your brand was nailed down perfectly, you would be waiting forever. It’s best to get started with a few essentials nailed down, and then you can ramp it up later.
In this guide, we're going to cover: