Starting a business and starting a brand are not one and the same thing. You see, your brand is not a physical identity that has a tax ID number, business infrastructure, etc. What your brand is, is an idea. It’s the first thing that comes to mind when people think about your business. Here, you have two major stages to pass. The first one is brand recognition. This means that people can recognize your brand when they see a logo or a product with your company’s logo/colors on it. The second one is brand awareness; this involves people actually knowing things about your business as a whole. Still, before you get there, Determine your target audience The first thing you need to do in order to create a brand is to think about who this brand is supposed to appeal to. The recipient of the message is vital in determining its content, its jargon and much, much more. The very last thing you need to understand is the fact that your target audience also has particular habits and patterns of both online and offline behavior. For instance, millennials, members of Gen X, Gen Z and even boomers, don’t use the internet in the same way. A perfect example of this is the fact that Gen Z has the highest rate of using voice search for internet browsing from while boomers barely use it, at all. Other than this, when it comes to sites they visit and social networks that they prefer, the discrepancy is enormous. For instance, while Facebook is still widely used by tad older audiences, you need to understand that Gen X is more oriented towards Instagram, while Gen Z is more likely to use Snapchat. Then, professionals and people with higher education are more likely to have a LinkedIn profile, while the vast majority of Pinterest users are female. In other words, even if you do decide to approach them in a digital environment, knowing where you can find them in order to make yourself look more appealing is far more important. Make visual traits The next thing you need to keep in mind is the importance of finding the right visual traits for your brand. First, you need a logo, which is the simplest, the most basic business sign there is. Other than your product and the name of your business, this is what your business will be recognized for. Aside from this, you need to understand that various visual traits aren’t something to fall into the fire over. Keep in mind that these visual traits aren’t really something that you need to obsess about Other things you need to think of is the product package design and the colors of your brand. This is something that will make your business easy to spot from a mile away. Also, it’s something that you need to take into consideration. When it comes to all sorts of visual traits like the color, you need to pick something both industry-appropriate and unique. Going for something that’s too similar to that of your more successful competitor is a black-hat tactic that you should avoid. Research competition Wilson Mizner once said that when you steal from one author, that’s plagiarism but when you steal from multiple of them, it’s research. There’s nothing wrong with borrowing a great idea or two from other people when making your own brand and there are several ways that you can use to approach this issue. First of all, you can try acting like a potential buyer and get a unique insight into how your competition is perceived by its customers. In a way, this will be the way in which you’ll be seen by your customers, as well. One of the best things here lies in the fact that you get to see both their advantages and shortcomings. This means that you get to apply all the good things you see and avoid some of the mistakes that they’ve made. As a user, you’ll get to make an estimate of what adds to the overall customer experience first-hand. The reason why this is so important doing before you start making your own brand is due to the fact that you’ll never be able to distance yourself from your own brand in the same manner. You’ll be directly and emotionally involved, which will prevent you from seeing things clearly. Mission, vision, and goals The next thing that you need to define is your mission, vision, and goals for the future. It’s crucial that you start in this order, seeing as how it’s the only logical course of action. After all, the end goal is always a success, profit, and growth. Mission and vision, however, are what gives your business identity. It’s what sets you apart from the rest of the industry. Here, you need to state what your role in the industry will be, why it will make a difference and what your audience will get from it. Keep in mind that, when forming this narrative, you need to tell a story in which the customer is the protagonist, not your business. You are merely an agent, a tool at their disposal and someone to help them solve their own problems. Create a story that’s immersive, something that your audience can easily identify with and you’ll have no issue with making a connection to them whatsoever. Different marketing formats When showing your business to the general public, you need to use as many different marketing formats as possible. Why? Well, because this is the only way for you to gain as much legitimacy as quickly as possible. Online businesses often have a problem due to the fact that a lot of people see the potential of them being fraudulent. All in all, people will be suspicious and it’s up to you to change their minds. One way to do so is to start spreading your presence both online and offline. When it comes to online presence, make a professionally-designed website and invest some time and resources into a decent blog. Make profiles on all sorts of social networks and try to interact with your audience there. However, don’t neglect the old-school marketing either. Flyers, leaflets and brochures are informative and quite effective at spreading the word about your business. Promotional materials are also incredibly effective, which is why you can feel free to look up printers of custom t-shirts in Australia and make a bulk order. Newspaper ads, as well as TV and radio commercials Be careful who you get associated with The next thing you need to take into consideration is the fact that reputations of those that you team up with reflect on your business, as well. First of all, your staff plays a key role when it comes to how you are perceived by others. They also act as your brand ambassadors. This is why their personal beliefs and stances (especially those that they bring out in public), maybe of certain importance. Even from the visual perspective of your brand, they may be quite relevant. Why? Well, because they might be displayed in some of the images on your website. This is what gives your business a more human side. The same thing goes when it comes to dealing with influencers. PewDiePie is still one of YouTube’s largest influencers, however, due to all the controversies that he has sparked over the course of years, he’s also someone that most brands refuse to be associated with. Whether or not this is good or justified is still hotly debated amongst the online community but from the perspective of running a business, things are quite clear. Start a community Previously, we’ve talked about people in your company and those directly tied to your brand, however, there’s something even more important than that. We’re, of course, talking about the user community. Sure, this is something that can come to life quite effortlessly and on its own but the truth is that the majority of brands actually manage their own communities. A community forum on your website is a great example of how this works. The benefits that come from this are quite numerous. First, it helps build and strengthen a loyal customer base. Second, it supports repeat purchases and even gives a boost to the frequency of purchases in question. Then, it reduces marketing spending on advertising, improves brand memorability and enhances your brand awareness. Needless to say, creating a central hub is the least you can do in order to give a new life to this community. In conclusion The very last thing that you need to take into consideration is the fact that while there are some rules you need to honor. The truth is that, as a business, you need to take your own path and create a unique brand in order to stand out. For this to work, you need to start from scratch and work around your original ideas. Do not confuse inspiration with plagiarism.