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5 Steps for Creating a Brand

Where to start when building your brand?

Building a brand isn't easy but it’s done right it will feel like a fog has lifted and you can finally see the road ahead.

Understanding Branding

Branding has evolved beyond the basics of a logo and fonts. A brand is the perception people have of a business. While we can’t force people to see our business in a specific way we can influence their perception.

You can learn more about the nuances of branding in this recent blog post Busting the #1 Branding Myth.

a collage of images from a client brand photoshoot

5 Steps for Creating a Brand

Defining Brand Values (Step 1)

Brand values are beliefs and ethics woven into the business. Whether it’s customer experience, sustainability practices, employee benefits, or quality your values must be true. The values should resonate with the mission of your business.

Here are questions to ask yourself to help define your brand values:

  • why does my business exist

  • how do I want this business to change the world for the better

  • why should people care

  • if I had to pick 5 traits that embody my values what would they be

Tip: Check out how industry leaders who exemplify their core values and ask yourself how you can do the same in your unique way.

Craft Your Brand Tone and Voice (Step 2)

A brand’s tone of voice creates a way for people to connect with a brand and their are endless ways to approach crafting your brand voice.

Your brand’s tone of voice should be one of two things:

a) true to how you speak

b) a tone of voice you’re aspiring to

Why do I say ‘aspiring to’?

There are times when the skill we desire is one we yet to have. So we make the commitment to grow and learn. The key is it’s something we genuinely desire. No faking over here — only learning, practicing, tweaking and growing.

How to identify your brand tone of voice:

  • ask five people you trust and love to use 5 words to describe how you talk and your sense of humor

  • ask Chat GPT to identify the tone of voice for something you’ve written (I recommend a using a few different pieces writing to get full picture)

Tip: Choose 3 famous people you love and study how they write and talk. Now imagine your brand is famous how do they speak, what’s their tone?

Getting Clear on Your Why (STEP 3)

Dig deep on this one; people connect with stories, not products or services. Simon Sinek famously said, "people don't buy what you do; they buy why do it"

Here are questions you can ask yourself to clarify your why:

  • Why did you start this business?

  • What motivates you to keep going when business ownership gets tough?

  • What part of your business excites you most and why?

  • Are there any life experiences or lessons you learned that in hindsight you can see was preparing you for this business?

  • Are there any struggles or experiences that inform the way you do business?

Tip: Allow space for vulnerability and authenticity.

Knowing Your Ideal Customer Avatar

Understanding your ideal client is a central part of developing your brand. Without clarity on who they are you risk attracting the wrong people.

The biggest hurdle for businesses just starting is understanding that the clearer you are on who you serve the better business you’ll have.

There’s a saying ‘when you speak to the masses, you speak to no one.’ Avoid the mistake of doing all the things for all the people.

Here are questions you can ask yourself to find clarity if you’re just starting:

  • who do I want to help most with my product or service?

  • where do they live, what type of job do they have

  • how does my product or service make their life better or solve a problem for them

  • what type of people do they hang out with

  • what activities do they like

  • what brands are they loyal to

  • what their biggest fear or concern

Here are questions to ask if you have clients:

  • who are your top 3 favorite clients and why

  • what problems did you solve for them

  • what similarities do these clients share (interests, hobbies, background, industry, etc)

  • reading reviews, what part of the process or product did they love most and why

The answers above create ideal customer avatar. Give them a name and that every time you create content, speak directly to them.

Sharing More of Your Story and Your Client’s

Connect on a personal level with your ideal customer. Share hobbies, interests, hardships, and insights. Your customers want to know who you are.

Of course you always make sure that what you share and how you share stays consistent with the brand values, brand voice, and ideal client. What seems like a personal connection story can quickly feel whiney and self-centered.

Tip Check out these globally recognized brands Duolingo, Dwayne Johnson, and Toms to see if you can find stories they use to create more connection.

There you have it, 5 steps to start building your brand! Let's do a quick recap.

  1. Define 3-5 your brand values that guide your business.

  2. Craft your brand voice and tone.

  3. Understand your ideal client avatar

  4. Get clear on your why beyond making money

  5. Share more of your story and your client’s

Ready to elevate your brand?

If you’re ready to skip the hours you’ll spend going the DIY route, book a free strategy call to learn how we can bring your brand to life.




Hey friend!


I'm LeeAnn a Pittsburgh-based personal brand photographer helping women create memorable brands that align with who they are  while attracting the right people. 

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