After you’ve researched your business idea and identified your target market, the time has come for branding your business.

Branding helps your customers recognize your business and products, and distinguish them from your competitors. It provides a consistent message to your customers. Whether it’s the look and feel of your website or the meaning behind your business slogan or tagline, good branding will reinforce your business identity.

I like to spend a fair amount of time on branding a new online business venture. It’s well worth the return on investment to create a unique brand that separates you from the crowd. Your brand is something that will be with you for the long haul. You may make minor tweaks to your brand, but you shouldn’t expect to make any significant changes to it in the long run.

Think of the big players in a market, like Pepsi Cola in the soda industry. They have unique packaging for their drink that you can’t mistake for other brands. Though their logo has been modified a few times over the years, it is still easily recognizable as Pepsi Cola. You aren’t just buying a soft drink, you are buying the whole package, Pepsi image and all.

What does your brand say?

Before you begin to brand your business, think about the message being conveyed to your target audience about your business and product. What is the business image that you are striving for? Is your product serious? Is it funky? Is it fun?

Is your brand something that motivates people to find out more about your business and products? I like the way in which small business marketing expert John Jantsch has branded his business Duct Tape Marketing. It’s a unique brand that is easy to remember since it sticks in your mind (pardon the pun!).

John Jantsch provides some great advice on marketing that sticks when he says that it is important to:

Get people to connect to some sort of image that is bigger than your product.

Keep that thought in mind as you develop a brand for your web venture.

Do people understand your brand?

Be creative when developing your brand, but don’t forget that your target audience needs to be able to understand it too. If your branding is based on a clever concept or a unique twist on words, the average person should be able to comprehend its meaning. You may think it is clever, but will your customers get it? If it is a made-up word (such as Google) or a combination of words (such as StumbleUpon), then it had better be catchy in order for people to remember it.

Here are some more questions about branding to ask yourself:

  • Do your brand and tagline fully describe your business?
  • Who are you pitching your unique selling proposition to?
  • Are you clear about who your target audience is?
  • Do you know the demographics of your target audience?

Go ahead and list the demographics of your target market:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Income
  • Occupation
  • Hobbies and interests

This is the sort of information about your potential customers that you need to know.

Summary

In today’s age of short attention spans, there’s nothing better than a good brand or slogan to grab someone’s interest in your business. Create a unique brand for your business that resonates with your target audience, and you are well on your way to dominating your market.