This is part 4 of my series on business branding for solopreneurs. You can find the other posts here: (Read Part 1. Read Part 2. Part 3.) Let’s look in part 4 at how to build your brand so it stands out in the crowd.

There are a number of ways to build your brand and get it noticed. The first is to know your niche and market so well that you can differentiate yourself from your competitors and make doing business with you seem like a no-brainer.

Your niche research

Your niche is your topic or area of interest, such as business coaching, content marketing, interior designer, and so on. You might have started your business because it was a hobby or a subject that you were passionate about. However, some niches are a lot more profitable than others. Doing niche research will help you understand exactly what problems the people in your niche market have that they need to solve. Your brand building will be all about conveying the impression that you have the solutions they’re looking for.

Your market research

Many aspiring business owners don’t do enough research and then wonder why they don’t make money. In order to gain market share as a new brand in your niche or industry, you need to know who the top brands are, the price points of their products, and why people buy from them. You can read reviews to find out what people love about their products and what buyers complain about, and then try to go one better.

All of this can be tedious for a solopreneur dying to sell lots of stuff. But remember, a brand offers instant identification and trust as well. If you’ve ever heard the saying, “You never get a second chance to create a (good) first impression, you know it’s time to consider exactly how you wish to brand your business and follow through.

How to present your brand in all of your marketing materials.

Before we get started on all of the ways you can present your brand, the most important word to remember is CONSISTENCY. Being consistent in terms of appearance and messaging is the most important way to build an effective brand.

How to Build your Brand and Make it Stand OutA lot of people who hear the word, “branding” think about a logo, such as the McDonald’s one here. But effective branding is about far more than that. It is also about the message they are trying to convey. The golden arches stand out, and they look like a letter M for McDonald’s, but the logo itself doesn’t tell us much about the values of the company.

If we search for them on Google, we see this listing.

How to Build your Brand and Make it Stand Out

Most people will already know about the burgers and fries. The “& more” suggests other things worth finding out about. The phrase “quality ingredients” is a little contrary to what we might expect in relation to fast food. The invitation to find out more about the menu and promotions is an invitation to click on the link. When the reader clicks, they should be able to find what they have been promised right away, more information, a menu, and so on.

The McDonald’s slogan is, “I’m lovin’ it.” It might be catchy, but again, it is less than ideal in relation to telling an alien from outer space what the brand does. However, everyone here on Planet Earth knows. Why? It’s because of the consistent branding and franchises all over the world.

Branding is like a promise. It sets up an expectation and that expectation needs to be fulfilled.

What are you promising your customers? All your presentational tactics should help support that promise:

  • The name
  • Slogan
  • Logo
  • Color scheme of logo
  • Font used in the logo
  • The image or design used
  • The emotions conveyed
  • Color green=health, Red=power
  • The personality of the company

The Name

Aim for a logical name unless you can come up with something catchy.

How to Build your Brand and Make it Stand OutA good example would be The Motley Fool, which is a strange name for a website that advises you on investment strategies. But it is memorable, as is the URL, fool.com. The slogan is also interesting: To Educate, Amuse, and Enrich.

As you’re creating your branding materials, ask yourself what kind of emotions you want them to elicit. The emotions of a life coach are going to be very different from a content marketer or a construction company. For example, Geico ads stand out in an industry that is mostly boring because they are clever and amusing.

Once you have decided on what image you want to convey, write it up, and use fiverr or 99designs to see what the pros come up with.

Evaluate the logos based on their ability to produce the emotions you want. Look at the color, font, readability and so on. Does the logo inspire trust and credibility? Fun and excitement? Remember, you will be using this logo EVERYWHERE so be sure it is clear, the words are easy to read in a highly visible font, and that it will look good on your website, stationery, social media account pages and so on. It should also look good no matter how large or small it will show on different platforms.

The Slogan and USP

How to Build your Brand and Make it Stand OutDomino’s slogan used to be “Hot pizza to your door in 30 minutes or it’s free.” It clearly expressed the unique proposition that Domino’s had to offer. However, a sad vehicle crash ended that promotion recently.

Now their marketing seems flat, as we can see from the above. But it does give a couple of good calls to action about ordering pizza online. The logo is still distinctive:

Keep in mind that brands can and do change over time. For example, after “Supersize Me,” McDonald’s is going to have a very hard time branding themselves as the place families go to bring their kids for a fun meal.

Be aware of events that surround your company. If you try to ignore them and go on branding as if nothing ever happened, you’ll commit brand suicide.

Launching your brand and developing a mature brand are different from each other in a number of ways. In the beginning, it will be all about just getting your brand out there so people will pay attention to it. Over time, however, as your business matures, you will start to consolidate your gains and grow your brand in strategic directions. Let’s look in the next post about how to increase the reach of your brand.