No matter how big or small you are – branding is very important, if not even essential, for your business. All companies aspire to have a strong brand that is much more than just a logo – a strong identity that speaks to the customers and reaches their hearts is the ultimate dream of any business owner. But how to get there?

Let’s talk about love. You find someone with whom you share values and beliefs. You connect, it just seems that you are meant to be, you want this to never end. Well, this scenario is also relevant for a strong brand – if you get your customer to connect with you on an emotional level, it will lead to good reputation and higher sales. Also, your customers will be loyal and won’t trade you out because of a better price your competitor promises them.

Here are 8 tips to start your journey towards a strong brand:

1. Define your target group

Do you want to reach mommies and daddies who work from home? Is your product suitable for tech-savvy millennials? Are you solving problems of the HR people of a large corporate company? Get specific. Draw a picture of who you want to talk to and then learn what actually speaks to them. This way you know that you will actually be heard.

2. What is your mission?

What drives you? What do you believe in? What is your purpose? Who are your heroes? You have to have a clear understanding of what your company is most passionate about. This way you have a reason, a purpose to exist. Your mission will affect every other aspect of your brand building – your logo, your tagline, your voice, your messages and personality.

There will always be someone with a bigger budget and more resources. Dig deep – find your value and stick to it.

3. Aim for marriage, not one-night stands

Don’t create illusions of yourself – this will only lead to broken promises and bad experiences. Be true to what you stand for.

4. Research, but don’t be a copycat

Going over what has been done is always healthy. Imitating someone is not.

Do your homework and research – this way you can find a niche that will differentiate you from your competitors.

5. Create a logo and a tagline

When thinking about creating a brand, the visual side is something that people tend to think of first. This is the step that you may need help with.

Your logo and your tagline will become your identity and the visual reflection of your promise.

Be willing to invest time and money to create something that you are proud of. Hire a professional to help – an expert designer will ensure that you will get a unique and timeless visual for your business.

6. Boogie, but don’t switch the beat

Your voice means the way you communicate with your customers.

Keep it consistent. This does not mean that you have to repeat the same message over and over again – the aim is to make your key messages work together to build a coherent character.

7. Soak everything in your brand

The brand building process never ends. You identity should be visible and reflected in everything your customer can see, read and hear. Anything from business cards to ads, packaging and product design, website design to your web content– all of this needs your stamp.

And don’t forget about social media! YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram are all platforms that need to have content created with your unique brand voice and personality.

8. Stay true to yourself

Unless you decide to change your brand into something more effective, stay true to what you have created. Consistency is the key.

Once you have established your look, your voice and your character, use it for every piece you create. Document the guidelines and distribute them to all parties concerned.

Be your own ambassador. No one knows you better than yourself, so it is up to you to spread the word.

First steps of marketing