How to Start Building a Brand
There are many ways that you can start to build your brand – whether you are a TikTok influencer, college athlete, or just starting your small business.
While each avenue has its own specific nuances, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind no matter what.
Determine Your Brand – What Do You Believe?
A brand in today’s modern market is more than just a logo, colors and fonts. Many customers these days want to support, follow and buy from brands/people that they feel like they know and can align their values with.
While this isn’t the case for every large brand, it is definitely more likely if you are an individual person or an influencer. Take, for example, this article from Malcolm Lemmons about why athletes inspire us:
“Athletes remind us of what it means to be an underdog, how to persevere and how to succeed when everything around you tells you to quit. Within sports, even the slightest glimpse of hope has created legends. Athletes truly make us believe in the unbelievable.”
When you are building out your brand, here are some questions you may want to ask yourself and the people around you that you trust the most:
- What do I believe in?
- What are some other brands that I relate to?
- Are there any social movements that I can use my voice to support?
- What am I NOT going to align myself with?
- Where do I see this brand in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years?
- Is there a certain value or thought that I want to be known for?
- Why am I inspiring?
There are many other questions you should consider when building out your brand, but these should be enough to keep the wheels turning for a while! This is why we also recommend partnering with a strong Public Relations firm for this process. After all, you don’t know what you don’t know, and they are the professionals! Having a seasoned agent behind you when it comes to PR, branding and marketing will allow you the freedom to not lose sight of what caught the public’s eye in the first place.
Establish Your Digital Presence
Now if you started to acquire your following through a digital medium like social media, YouTube, etc., then you may have a lot of these steps in place. If you are starting this process from a different angle, like a small business or sports, then these may be a few tasks you need to check off your list as soon as possible.
Capitalizing on your digital presence will make or break a brand in today’s market. Here are a few steps we recommend you take as soon as possible:
- Buy a website domain. Whether it is for your name or your business, the second you start to get some clout, all the remaining relevant domains will be bought by poachers who will turn around and try to sell them back to you for sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars. Also be sure to renew that domain name regularly so you don’t lose it, even if you don’t have your website yet. You can start searching for and purchasing domains via godaddy.com/domains/domain-name-search
- Grab relevant social media handles. If possible, keep these handles consistent across the different platforms. Keep the handles short, sweet and as recognizable as possible.
- Follow relevant social accounts on various platforms that you want to associate your brand with moving forward.
Update main sites like Wikipedia with all relevant information, links to your social media channels, etc. Here is a helpful Wikipedia article on how to set up your page if you haven’t done so already.
Similarly to determining your brand, establishing your online presence can be a lot of work and research. We recommend partnering with an expert digital marketing firm that can help lead you and can partner with your PR firm to align your digital voice.
Our last recommendation to start building your brand as an influencer, small business, athlete, etc. is to start capitalizing on merch. Since you’ve already determined your brand, you have a great place to start with logos, colors and fonts. You are also already established online, so you are in tune with what your audience is looking for when they want to represent you.
If this is your first venture, we recommend partnering with a merch company that runs on an on-demand model. This ensures that you aren’t sitting on boxes of unsold merchandise but you can also fulfil orders if your brand expands quickly.
Sometimes digital fame can happen over night – a viral video, a game winning play, or a memorable interview. People will want their merch demands met that very same day.
Because of this, it is imperative that you partner with a manufacturer that understands your brand. Establish yourself with a manufacturer that will give clear guidance on what type of pieces you should start out with. It is also important that this organization can serve you when you are small and can scale with you when you reach star status.
Time to Get Started
So, what are you waiting for? While it may seem like you have a lot of to-do’s on your plate to establish your brand, the most important thing to remember is the organizations you choose to partner with to help you get your message across:
- An experienced PR firm
- A creative and detail-oriented digital marketing firm
- An established and flexible merchandise manufacturer
Once you have all three, you will be unstoppable!