Branding your business

You need a strong, distinctive brand to keep your business thriving. Your brand shows:

  • who you are
  • what you stand for
  • how you’re different from your competitors.

This resource provides practical guidelines to establish a new brand or improve an existing brand.

What is a business brand

A brand is much more than a name, logo and tagline.

It’s what comes to mind when existing and potential customers think of you. It answers the question:

What do you want to be known for?

Your brand includes:

  • what your customers think and feel about your brand
  • how they identify, recognise and experience your business.

A brand is made up of 2 elements:

  • tangible (e.g. premises, uniforms, campaigns)
  • intangible (e.g. reputation, service, behaviour).

Your brand represents the sum total of the experience.

Defining brand

‘A brand is simply a collection of perceptions in the mind of the consumer.’

Paul Feldwick

Principles of a strong brand

Your brand is the external expression of your internal culture. To be credible, your actions must match your words. That’s why your brand is shaped by every employee and every action.

A strong brand is unique and relevant. It will enable you to:

  • express the genuine value of your business
  • bring more brand clarity and consistency
  • unite employees around a shared purpose.

Consider your favourite brands

Think about your own personal experiences: we’re all customers and we all have our favourite brands.

Reflect on why these are your favourite brands. This may give you some valuable clues about what sets brands apart.

Business and personal brand

Whether or not you intend to, you have a personal brand. For many businesses, the face of the brand is the founder, owner or leader. It’s important that there’s a natural and logical association between your business and personal brand.

Your personal brand:

  • may be a big part of the reason why customers choose to buy products or services from your business
  • can add to the credibility of your business brand
  • is particularly relevant if you operate a business where you’re directly involved with external stakeholders.

The same principles of a strong business brand also apply to a personal brand. You should also:

  • stay focused—show your passion about your area of expertise
  • tell the story—talk about your business heritage and vision
  • be yourself—let your character and personality shine through.

Do an internet search on ‘building a personal brand’ to find more ideas and inspiration for your brand.

Ask yourself…

Do a brand audit

If you have an existing brand, you can do a brand health check. By taking a step back and looking at the big picture, you can learn a lot about your brand and your customers.

The brand audit evaluates your:

  • performance from your customer’s perspective
  • positioning relative to different competitors.

It’s a way to see how the brand you intend to project matches with the brand you are, in fact, projecting.

You can complete a brand audit within your existing team or hire a marketing agency to provide an external perspective.

The following 3-step review process can guide the brand audit.

1. Determine your brand-audit goals

2. Collect data and review insights

3. Find solutions and act

Marketing collateral review template

Print out all the marketing collateral you’ve used over the past year (e.g. from your website to business cards) and display it on a wall. Ask yourself:

  • does everything look like it’s from the same brand?
  • does it look unique and different from your competitors’ material?

To make this easier, you can use our template for reviewing marketing collateral.

Develop your business brand

To become distinctive, your business brand must be:

  • salient—your brand must be front of mind when customers are ready to act
  • different—your brand must continue to stand out from your competitors
  • meaningful—your brand must be understood by everyone involved.

To be as effective as possible, work on all 3 these factors. For example, if you make potential customers aware of your brand, also make sure they understand what you do or how you can help.

You want to find and show your brand truth. This is the position you want to hold in the minds of your target customers.

You can use this 3-step brand development process as a guide.

1. Review the 3 Cs of your brand

2. Define your brand positioning to create a 1-page brand strategy

3. Bring your brand to life

If you have more than one brand

Consider getting professional advice

It may be worth engaging a specialist provider if your business has more than one brand.

If your business incorporates more than one brand, you need to be clear about the:

  • role of each brand
  • relationships between the brands.

Defining brand architecture

Brand architecture types