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Branding basics guide

If you are in the process of launching your brand, this guide will help set the foundation for good branding. You will learn exactly what branding means, and its relevance today. Then I’ll give you more details on the difference between personal and corporate branding. Finally, we will get to the key elements to create your own branding.

A quick definition of branding

Your brand is the exact face of your small business, and branding refers to the strategic approach to establishing your brand in the competitive marketplace. Through logo design, customer support, product quality, website appearance, social media presence, online reviews, visibility, and other elements, you can create a memorable impression for your brand in the minds of your potential customers. If you don’t have ideas for creating a brand, it is good to take inspiration from other small businesses (not necessarily from your industry 😉).

Branding vs. Marketing

Branding is used to shape your brand and the type of service provider you are. It’s everything related to your identity, and what you do that makes a customer loyal to your services. Your identity includes your logo, name, brand colours and tagline, shaping what customers think of you.

Branding helps with building relationships with your customers as it relays a consistent theme that your customers come to know and expect. Everything your company does must be reflected in your branding. Customers will keep coming back if your branding is strong, consistent, and authentic. According to a recent survey from Statista “82 % of Canadians are willing to pay more for a trusted brand.” Marketing is all the tools you will use to promote your business and get the customer’s attention, for instant blog posts, SEO or email marketing.

The importance of branding

Branding helps with growing your reputation. A solid and consistent brand will help you to establish your business. It makes it easier for customers to remember and recommend you based on your brand, rather than previous experience with your business.

Tim Hortons logo

We cannot speak about the importance of branding without taking the example of the most authentic brand: Tim Hortons. In another one of my articles, I pointed out that everything you need to recognize this brand is the colours and font, right?

The multitude of choices in every industry leads to confusion and uncertainty. Consumers deal with these issues by moving towards well-known and trusted brands by the public and/or family and friends. These companies are considered less risky when purchasing their products and/or services and provide the peace of mind that they will perform as expected.

While professionally presenting your company and providing quality services, new clients will be more likely to trust your company. Therefore, being more comfortable giving your company their hard-earned money.

Personal or Corporate branding

When you have a personal brand, people come to associate you with your business. I’m pretty sure you know this quote: “people like to do business with people they like”. Which is far easier to accomplish, when the brand is associated with a real person. In other words, it means you embody your business through all your communication channels: website, social media profiles, etc.


You may want to choose personal branding if you are a solo entrepreneur. It’s particularly effective if your audience knows you as an individual first, and if there’s a lot of in-person networking involved. For instance, personal branding is suitable for personal trainers, designers, artists, or life coaches.

On the other hand, you can choose corporate branding if no one, in particular, is associated with the business (or simply if you don’t want to!). Corporate branding works well for family-owned businesses or companies with plenty of investors; in those cases, it can sometimes be hard to choose one person to impersonate the company (think about Coca-Cola or Google). The HR and DEI design consultancy Bloom chose corporate branding in which each employee is an expert in a given skill.

Branding bloom

No matter which one you choose, the goal is the same: Create an excellent reputation within your industry and your customer base.

  1. Be authentic in everything you do and say

  2. Establish and maintain your perceived value

  3. Remain consistent!

Creating and maintaining branding

Using the Why, Who, How, Where method.

Why branding is key?

What clients and leads see in your brand reflects your dream, vision, and values. You should think thoroughly about how to convey it all to your audience. Why should people care more about your brand rather than another? What differentiates you from the rest? For instance, the vision of the famous brand Lululemon at first was to create the best apparel for yoga classes; it now evolved into a healthy lifestyle for active individuals.

Who is your ideal client?

Now that you have the Why, you should focus on t: you must know who you want your brand to speak to. Here, the bigger is not necessarily, the better. Indeed, the more you can narrow down your target audience, the more effective your branding strategies will be. Being specific about your audience will have a practical impact on your whole strategy.

For instance, the Lululemon brand demographic profile is mainly high-income women between 18-35 with a relatively healthy lifestyle and drawn to fitness trends like yoga, running, cross-fit, etc.

How to convey your identity into brand elements?

You know your goal, and you know your target audience. The next step is How. How are you going to convey your branding? It can be with an identity set, beginning with your logo, the fonts, and the colour you will use for your social media or website. It would be best to take the time to reflect on them because it will mainly differentiate you from the competition.

Messaging is the other mean you use to be understood immediately while striking an emotional chord; keep it simple. It is not about what your service can do or what you have to offer, but why it is essential to your customer.

Finally, the experience is the last point— meaning the experience given through your website or Instagram page. In order to work, the consumer must be learning more about your business with the content. In addition, the user experience must be exceptional to convert visitors into leads.

Which tools or platforms are the most efficient?

You can create or participate in events that share your vision. You might also choose a font used throughout all your promotion support. Instagram can be an excellent platform to share content in line with your branding. Depending on the visuals, quotes, or reposts, you share. You can easily set an atmosphere to attract your audience and convert likes and followers into real customers. The Lululemon brand communicates through Instagram a lot and not only from their official page.

They speak through experts, like yoga teachers, personal trainers, and the customers who buy the products. The clients are not only buyers; they are part of the company’s story. There’s even a whole section on the website dedicated to them 👇


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