What is a brand?
A brand is how you display your business and how your customers perceive it. It is made up of a variety of components including the environment, publications, advertising and customer relations. In essence it is the definition of your brand. It is also the way your customers interpret the image you put out. Make sure that your customers are perceiving what you want the brand to be! That’s why branding is a critical component of a business model and why it needs to be thoroughly organized. Branding flaws can have detrimental impacts on your business, especially when public branding mistakes are made. 
Why is branding important?
Effective branding is necessary for any business, big or small, to succeed. Consumers must positively recognize your business in order to want to use it. Think about how recognizable Starbucks is. Even after it’s 2011 rebrand wherein the market giant completely removed it’s name from the logo. The company’s colour and signature icon (the siren) were so widely recognized that explicitly writing ‘Starbucks’ on their logo was no longer necessary. In fact, although not popular with everyone, many praised the minimalism and simplicity of the new logo and today, it is a worldwide symbol of the coffee chain. Since people recognized the logo without the name, removing it refreshed the brand and gave it a clean, refined look. Establishing a brand personality is also an important component of branding. What tone do you use to communicate with clients? What types of content do you produce? Who are you marketing towards? Here’s a great chart from Straight Marketing that can help you develop your brand persona:
How do you build a brand?

Identify your target audience by building a buyer persona. Be specific in identifying your primary consumers so that you can create the best marketing strategy for your business. Well-catered content is the gateway to building a loyal supporter base for your brand. As soon as you have built a bank of high quality content, it is important to consistently post on each of your social media platforms. Outline a mission statement and make sure your brand sticks to it. Understand what other brands are doing and why they are successful but don’t seek to imitate them. Once you have this understanding, convince customers why they should choose your business. Your brand colour palette and design should equally be consistent across your platforms. It should be visible and recognizable but no so much so that it deters potential customers. Over-saturation of advertising is a big branding mistake! Establish your brand voice and be stick with it. 
Consistency, as with most things, is key to effective branding. Expertise will not happen overnight but it is absolutely doable and anyone can learn! As long as you keep this in mind and work slowly to refine your brand, branding can become an extremely enjoyable and rewarding part of your business model!
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By Juliana Schneider