So, you want to start a new business or rebrand your old one. Congrats! You might be thinking … now what?  Branding.

Conceptualizing and executing a strong brand is imperative to improve your business’ recognition, differentiate yourself from the competition, and develop an emotional relationship with your customers.

Simply creating a clever ad or a good-looking logo won’t cut it for creating a successful and unique brand identity.  Developing a strong brand is a sort of marriage between art and science, and requires consistency.

Branding is easier said than done, but here’s a 5-step process to construct your brand identity:

1. Pinpoint your target audience

Before you can determine how your service can meet the needs of your target audience, identify who exactly you will be serving. Keep in mind, less is more here. If you’re trying to reach everyone, your focus will become murky and your marketing efforts watered-down.

So, be specific, do your research … learn your particular audience’s behaviors what needs they are looking for.

2. Define your USP

A USP, or unique selling proposition, is the streamlined answer to what makes your business stand out from the crowd. It’s a simple, to-the-point explanation of why your business exists, and should allow your target audience to quickly and easily understand what it is you provide.

Researching the unmet needs of your audience is a fantastic place to start developing a USP. If you can provide a niche service in your industry that your competitors can’t, your business will have a substantial competitive advantage, and your clients will have a clear idea why they should choose you.

3. Think of your brand as a person

You want to think of your brand as an individual. No, not like in the corporate personhood sense; but your brand should have strong core values, distinct personality/voice, and recognizable visual branding.  How would your brand dress?  How would it talk?  What other brands would it be friends with?  Why?

4. Fuse your branding into every element of your business

From a client’s perspective, everything about your business is a direct representation of your brand. This means everything from your office space, your website, and client’s interactions with employees should represent your brand. Your business should want to bring people onto your team that share the same values and motivations that the brand represents, and every piece of content your brand creates should represent the brand.

5. Be consistent and track your progress

Frequently changing up your branding will confuse customers and diffuse the strength of your business. Stay consistent with your advertising and content creation, and track the successes of the implemented brand. If something seems to not be working based on objective and measurable results, you can make adjustments.

The relationship and sense of integrity will humanize your business and create trust between you and your customers. Strong branding inevitably builds a sort of energy within your business that will allow it to grow and thrive.