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5 Steps to Building a Brand on a Budget.

Updated: Aug 30, 2019

Branding can feel daunting, especially if your resources are limited or you're just started out. But even on a shoestring budget, there are ways to build your brand without breaking the bank. All it will cost you is your time and in the long run when your business begins to grow, that time will be well spent when you begin to see the ROI for your efforts.

One thing to remember about branding is that you are building a foundation to which becomes the basis for all that you do in your marketing. So, it may be wise to say that branding is the first stage of marketing ... and perhaps the most important piece. Without it, your run the risk of not being clear in your message, or in who you're targeting.

Branding is where you develop your organization's identity, giving it a voice, values, mission, and principles. It is the basis for how you will bring awareness among consumers. Use the following guide to get you started and help alleviate some of the burden when building your brand.

Step 1. It All Starts With Your Potential Customers.

Knowing and understanding the wants, needs, goals, problems, and buying behavior of your target audience helps you to tap into their buying motivation. You want to make sure that you are reaching them on a personal, deeply emotional level and on media platforms they use. You must become the key to solving their problem, fulfill their need, or grant them what they desire. Plus, knowing your customer is the most effective way to develop your brand.

Some questions you can begin to ask about your ideal target audience are:

1. What is their demographic? (Gender? Age? Geographic location?)

2. Characteristics? (Hobbies, interests, affiliations?)

3. What's their major problem or need? What's the thing that keeps them up at night?

4. What motivates and inspires them emotionally? (Status? Being the best? Safety? Great health?)

Then Comes Your Value Proposition.

Now that you've answered some key questions about your audience, you need to know how your business can alleviate or address their problem, need, or concern. The real value of what you offer comes in the form of what it is you do to solve those problems or frustrations.

Make a list of all the key benefits your business or organization can deliver.

Step 2. Developing Your Identity and Voice.

Now you can begin to form your brand identity, which is what makes you recognizable to the public (think Starbucks, Disney, Target, etc.). When it comes to your identity, I'd like to mention that if you are a business owner, realtor, doctor, lawyer, creative artist, or entrepreneur, to name a few, you must remember that YOU are your brand and in many cases, especially on social media, your audience will identify with your headshot (a professional photo that best represents you professionally). I'd like to stress the word "professional" here. Selfies don't cut it in this day and age of highly competitive business. So, invest in yourself with a strong image, just like you will invest your time in building your brand (I hope).

Building a Brand
Brand your business the way you want to be remembered.

If your own image is something you haven't really thought about, here's an interesting article on why not having a professionally done headshot could hurt your business. I really like this photographer's work. In terms of creating an identity, the way he shoots and the final image he creates is so inviting that it would make you want to do business with his subjects. Selfies are the furthest thing from making your brand credible and do more harm than good. Work with a professional to capture the right image whenever possible.

Your brand voice is the piece I'm most interested in because it is the tone and word choice used in all your copy and content and as a writer, that is my area of expertise. So, how do you identify your brand voice? It's not unlike the steps you took to identify your target audience. But now you'll be answering questions about your brand such as:

1. What are its values?