In Part 1 of this post where I covered how to launch your brand by creating a story and understanding your customer needs. In Part 2 here, I explain 2 more strategies that will help you to define your brand as well as choose the name for your brand to ultimately reach business success.

1. Define your brand position

What makes your brand unique? Why will customers be drawn to it? How will they perceive it?

You have to define your brand's position in the marketplace to develop a business direction, marketing message, and overall identity.

Think of your product in terms of problem and solution. What problem does it solve? How does it solve it?

When my team were initially working on the founding of ShowUhow, an online video produce guide platform that enabled manufacturers and retailers to sell their products and services online. To support our product adoption objectives, this was a key item characteristic when we were evaluating our overall brand strategy and positioning. As according to Geyrhalter, all positioning falls into three categories:

1.      Functional - solves a problem or provides a tangible benefit

2.      Symbolic - provides a feeling of belonging or self-image benefit

3.      Experiential - provides physical or mental stimulation

You can create a simple, nuts-and-bolts positioning statement by playing a little Mad Libs with a sentence like this one:

To (target audience), our product is the (business category) that provides (functional, symbolic, or experiential benefits) because (support/reason to believe).

Let's fill that in with a made-up example. Say you run a salon whose primary service is providing women with eyelash extensions:

To women who want beautiful eyelashes but don't want to put in the time applying mascara every day, our eyelash extensions provide effortless beauty that makes them feel confident because they always look good, no matter what kind of day they are having.

Whether you're in the beauty industry or designing the next app that is going to change the world, a positioning statement like that one will help you really understand what your business is and who you're working for.

Once you do that, then you can worry about a name and fancy logo.

2. Choose the Brand Name

Finally, here are some tips on naming. You can argue that a brand name means everything. On the other hand, your brand name's meaning is going to evolve as customers digest it and become a part of your tribe.

Picking a name for your brand is a little like picking a name for your child. You don't want to have to do it again later.

Start with a name that is clear, distinctive, and marketable, says Geyrhalter. Stay away from creative spellings. Avoid trends. Avoid descriptive names. A business is an organic, living thing. As you learn and grow, you'll pivot and your business model will evolve. You don't want your name to be so narrowly defined ("We Are Widgets") that it can't grow with you.

The earlier you can start working on your brand, the earlier you can start building a moat around your business. It may be painful to pick your head up out of the weeds and do this high-level thinking, but trust us, your business - and your bank account - will thank you in the end.

About the Author

Kim Folsom, Founder of  LIFT Development Enterprises, is a not-for-profit, community development organization with a mission to help underserved, underrepresented small-business owners - and Co-Founder and CEO of Founders First Capital Partners, LLC, a small business growth accelerator and revenue based venture fund. Learn more about Kim and her company's mission to help grow and fund 1000 underserved small business make a billion dollar impact by getting on the path to generating $5M+ annual revenues and adding 20 jobs by 2026 via their Founders Business Growth Bootcamp program.

Published on: Jan 4, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.