Lesson 2: Branding Yourself

Introduction

This lesson aims to give you a basic understanding of branding. When implementing this advice, remember that building a web design business is a process. Not everything has to be perfect. As you learn more about your customers and their needs, you should tweak and adjust your brand.

What is a Brand?

A brand is the perception that a person holds in their mind about a business, product or service. Businesses control this perception through the use of advertising, customer service, marketing and products.

For example, if you have a positive experience at a hotel. You will perceive this hotel in a positive light. In your mind, this hotel has a good brand.

If another customer has a bad experience at this hotel, they will perceive this hotel in a negative light. In this customers mind, the hotel would have a bad brand.

The goal of a brand is to create a perception that is both attractive to the customer and distinct from the competition. This brand will eventually represent a set of values that the customer comes to expect and trust.

You must have a consistent visual identity so that the customer starts to associate these brand values with your identity. This is why all the big brands have brand colours and imagery.

Find Your Niche

A big mistake that a lot of people make, is trying to appeal to everyone. If you target everyone, you really aren’t targeting anyone. In order to connect with customers, you need to understand what appeals to them as individuals. If you can find a group of individuals that share similar beliefs, wants and needs. You’ve got yourself a niche.

You should choose your niche based on market viability. Do these people need what you are selling? Are there enough people within this niche?

Next you need to tailor your offering toward this niche. You should offer appropriate services at an appropriate price point. You will then start to get an idea of where you can advertise to reach your niche.

Create an Identity

Once you’ve thoroughly researched your niche, you should have a good idea of the values that they will find appealing. You now need to use this information to name your business, create a logo and choose some brand colours.

The aim of your identity is to distinguish yourself from your competition with a memorable appearance that is appropriate for your product offering. 

This visual identity should be consistent across all of your communications. Make sure that your website, brochures, uniform, signage etc all share the same colours and fonts.

Summary

Your brand is the perception that your customer holds in their mind about your business. You need to establish the kind of perception that you’d like them to hold and then use advertising, marketing, communications and a visual identity to try to create this perception.