Starting a business in the health and wellness space? Focus on building your brand.
It’s a jungle out there. We’re talking about the modern and constantly evolving marketplace for goods and services. There are countless companies, organizations and individuals competing for attention and business. Add millions of social media influencers to the mix, and you realize it is going to take something special to break through.
You’re going to need to do more than just build your business, you’re going have to put serious planning and energy into building your brand!
Of course, you’ll want to be starting with a quality product or service that you are both proud to offer, and sufficiently excited about. With that key foundation in place, you need to have a strategy to grow awareness and admiration for your offerings and your brand.
Your brand (and by extension, your credibility and authority) is extremely important, a study by Nielsen shows the top two factors affecting buying decisions are brand and affordability. People prefer to buy new products from brands they’re already familiar with.
In the health and wellness space, products and services are directly affecting a customer’s personal being, so faith in the seller is even more important. You probably don’t want to be pushing low pricing as your key feature: who wants to be the cheapest masseuse in town or offer a budget lip balm line? Not very appealing to buyers or sellers.
Here are some key brand building ideas to get you started (and we do mean started, as making your brand stand out will be an ongoing activity for the life of your business):
Choose your target audience and really understand them
Learn as much as you can about that target audience so you can best serve them, and best communicate your brand’s personality and product benefits to them. This is perhaps the most important step of the process as it will inform everything you do from this point onwards. It will require an honest look at your product or service to ensure there is a very strong match with your audience’s desire (or need) for it.
You’ll typically want to find a narrow audience you can speak to, and charm, on their terms. It’s best if they sense you “get” them and can provide benefits and brand relationship they won’t find anywhere else. You’ll want to build trust with this audience, as people buy from people (and companies) they trust and like.
Research your competitors, or other wildly successful brands for ideas.
You don’t always need to reinvent the wheel. Branding strategies don’t always work, and sometimes you may need to try different approaches. So take the time to first see what your competitors are doing trying to reach the same audience. You may find great ideas you can build on, and just as important, you may also see strategies that are not working or are being badly executed.
You should also look into notable brand building success stories from other industries, and see if you can apply some of that magic to your own business. Always remember your most important objectives in building your brand are to stand out from and rise above your competition. Take the most promising ideas that fit with your business and make them your own.
Decide on the best personality for your company in order to succeed with your chosen audience
It may have already come to you in researching your audience or competitors, but carefully decide what your brand personality will be. You can literally think of your business as a person, and sketch out the key attributes that will appeal to your target audience. For some outside expertise you may want to consider branding agencies to help with this key part of the brand building process.
You want to build a base of customers that are also raving fans, eager to tell others about you, so select the brand image that will best achieve that for your given audience and product/service. Consider that this personality will also influence your employees and other business partners.
Select your company’s name and slogan
Ideally you’ve left the name of your company, and its products to this point in the process, as you’d like to have a nice fit between the personality and image you’ve carefully chosen for your brand and the name and slogans you’ll be using. You’ll need to brainstorm, share ideas with others, ask others outside your brand team for feedback.
You may want to have several ideas ready as you may find your favourite names may already be taken. You can check publicly available trademark databases, business registries, and most easily just search online for your preferred names and see if companies already exist using that or something close. Also consider domain names for your websites, and social media handles on the key channels. You’ll ideally want something you can dominate.
Design your logo and other visual brand elements
From your brand’s personality you can design your brand identity with colours, fonts, logos and visual style. Again, you don’t always have to start from scratch. You can borrow ideas from other successful companies that fit your own vision, and those ideas can come from other industries, or other regions or countries.
You’ll also find thousands of templates online with designs for business cards, stationery and especially for websites. These can provide ideas for your own look. Of course, if budgets allow you may want to leave a good part of this in the hands of professional designers, brand consultants or branding agencies, as its an area of expertise unto itself.
Apply your branding to all aspects of your business
Once you have your look, you’ll want to be consistent, in both look and personality. This applies to your websites, packaging, business cards (if you choose to use any), social media accounts, emails to customers. It includes the visual aspects of your brand, but also the “copy”, i.e. written words, that appear on your site, social media, and any outreach to customers. This is how your business will become recognized, admired, and credible to your potential audience.
Keep it going
The tips above can be applied to a completely new business, or an existing business that needs a major, or minor refresh, or for you own personal brand. As we said earlier, building brand is ongoing process, one that needs as much attention as sales, finance, product development or other key areas.
Your ultimate goal is to create raving fan customers that will become advocates for your brand, and bring in new business beyond your own direct efforts. Invest the time required to do this right, and you could be reaping the rewards for years to come! Besides, it’s one of the more exciting, creatively stimulating parts of starting a business, so enjoy it while you rock it!