Building a brand isn’t easy – quite the opposite in fact.

But at its core, building a distinguished brand relies on planning and executing a practical strategy that is able to adapt with time. Not everyone will build an AMAZING brand, but everyone can begin down the right path with these 5 simple tips.

#1 – Consistency is Key

Know the message you want to send and begin distributing it. But make sure you are consistent. You to need to define a key message for your brand and then continue to reinforce it. If you’re using social media identify key positing times for your audience and ensure you are scheduling your content accordingly.

There is a reason advertising campaigns are called campaigns – it is an organized and active way to reach a goal. The one thing brand-building requires most: Time. You need to build trust and prove your authenticity to your audience. Consistent visibility is the best way to do that.

#2 – A “Digital Presence” is More than a Website

Yes, a website is vital!

But there is much more involved when creating a “digital presence” for your brand.

Social Media has become integral to communicating directly with your following, and blogs are a great way to position you as a thought-leader within your industry. Email campaigns and newsletters are great for distributing special offers or promotions. Online directories now act as digital phone books (make sure you’re listed) and empower consumers with a review platform (think Yelp) that are essential to keep an eye on so you can put out fires before they begin.

Oh yeah, and the second largest search engine on the planet might be somewhere you should be creating content too – just saying.

#3 Choose Words Wisely

Every brand must define a voice and then be consistent in how they use it (refer to Tip #1). Much of this will depend on who you have identified as your target audience (think of the difference between the target audience of Taco Bell and Home Town Buffet, and how that affects their choice of words).

Your brand’s voice should be a reflection of your consumer. Many brands use professional copywriters. These people are trained to identify a target audience, define a brand’s voice, AND optimize any written copy for search engine optimization.

#4 Network. Network. NETWORK!!!

You can have the greatest product or service in the world. It doesn’t matter if no one knows about it.

You can have the greatest message in the world. It doesn’t matter if no one spreads it.

Understand? Good!

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Never pass up an opportunity to make a connection. Building your brand depends on it. Identify influencers in your industry and reach out to them, develop relationships and let them test your product or service. Guest write for trade magazines. Attend trade shows. Connect with industry professionals on platforms like LinkedIn who can help amplify your message. Reach out to past clients and ask for written testimonials or recommendations that you can place on your website.

Whatever you do, never be satisfied. There are never enough people to connect with and each new person represents countless opportunities. Because everyone knows someone, who knows someone… who knows someone… and so on.

#5 Don’t Underestimate the Power of Photography

So, you think you can build a brand on the back of your amazing smartphone photography? Well, unless you plan on sticking exclusively to social media (not always a bad thing), you may run into some problems.

Yes, photography can seem expensive at the time, but not if you look at it as an investment instead; the quality and professionalism that a seasoned photographer can bring to your brand is worth that investment (usually their equipment alone is worth much more than you’ll pay).

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One photoshoot can be used in multiple facets of your business: websites, social media, direct mail, promotional material, billboards, programs, menus, etc. Don’t even get us started on drones (which you need a professional license for). So, do yourself a favor and just try one session.

With these simple tips, you should be able to begin building your brand with confidence. Remember, no strategy in the world can take the place of patience and effort. Now, get to work!

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