Small and medium sized businesses often have a hard time transitioning from an everyday business to a brand name. Not having an established brand makes it harder for these businesses to compete, show credibility and grow. While it may seem like having a big budget is essential to building a brand, that is far from the truth.

There are many things that can make a business look like a brand. It’s a matter of focusing on the fundamentals of branding to build the brand equity and influence in the respective marketplace. Here are five steps that you can take go from a business into a brand.

Branding Stamp

Step 1: Establish a Strong and Unique Brand Identity

The first step of the process is to build a strong and unique brand identity. Start by thinking about the qualities that the audience is looking for in a brand. Then research your competition to see how other businesses are branding themselves. To get all the information you need, it helps to do an extensive brand audit. Once you get all the information from the brand audit, come up with the unique benefits that you offer to your audience. Figure out how to position yourself differently and advantageously.

Step 2: Develop your Brand Voice

One you determine your unique brand identity, you want to define your brand voice. You have to figure out how to communicate in a way that connects with your audience from you brand identity. Think about all the characteristics that define your brand – ground breaking, professional, contrarian, authentic, empathetic, passionate, fun and authoritative are all examples. You have to realize that you can’t be all things to everyone. Once you figure out your voice, integrate it into all of your communication channels. Keep in mind that your voice can evolve as your brand and business does, so nothing has to be permanent.

Step 3: Spread Your Marketing into Multiple Channels

Focusing on one marketing channel will not be enough to establish your business into a brand. To make a business look like a brand, you have to have presence on a wide scale. If you’re only using SEO to build your business, you will need to start using social media, email marketing, display advertising and other channels to start becoming recognizable. Don’t make the mistake of branding for the sake of it. You can still build your brand through ROI driven campaigns. Although this seems contradictory, it’s also important not to spread yourself too thin. Work on one channel until you have a solid foundation then expand when you feel that you can expend your capital, man power and time.

Step 4: Be Transparent

One thing you’ll notice about many brands is that they are transparent. You want your audience to know who you are, what you’re about and how to get in touch with you. If you search WWE on the internet, you will be given information on where to find the WWE headquarters. This shows that they’re not afraid to interact with their business partners, customers, and the press. This transparency helps you become trustworthy and relatable to your prospects and customers. Some companies will even build a story around their brand to resonate with their audience.

Step 5: Get your Online Presence Straight

Having a strong online presence is a vital part of building a brand. You have to be active in all the communication channels, especially social media. As a matter of fact, 95% of adults in the age range of 18 to 34 follow a brand on social media. Using all the online communication channels (email, social media, blog, podcasts, apps, etc.) allows you to engage with your audience and provide value to them. And it is this value that will result in new members of your audience who will decide to do business with you and become a loyal customer of your brand.

In conclusion, you must get the fundamentals right to make a business look like a brand. It’s important to remember that it doesn’t happen overnight. There are many examples of businesses that have built a brand almost overnight due to a successful viral marketing campaign, but most businesses with a strong brand have done it through a lot of hard work.