When business owners hear the word \u201cbranding,\u201d they often think about logos, banners, and business cards. While these align your business's image and unify your message, they are short-term elements that won\u2019t take you far in today\u2019s consumer-driven world. Branding is a Long-Term Strategy Your brand bridges the gap between your mission and the hearts of your customers. Today's consumers want to know that you are in it for more than the money. They want to identify with your brand. Many branding guides focus on the short-term and overlook the long-term steps that will turn it into a long-term strategy. Five Critical Steps to Branding a Business Companies need online branding as much as they need physical branding. These elements should be seamlessly united in your brand. We have outlined five clear steps to help you build reliable company brands and improve your business: 1. Establish Clear Goals\u00a0 What should your branding accomplish? Clear goals allow you to make a solid branding strategy, giving you direction for creating your plan. Examples of positive goals for branding a business include: \tEncourage blog content engagement. \tGrow online footprint. \tGenerate leads for flagship domain. \tReach new audiences and customers. \tDevelop brand loyalty among existing customers. \tIncrease sales\/revenue. Once you have established a set of clear goals, keep them at the forefront of your branding and orient each element of your strategy accordingly. 2. Market to Your Audience Strong company brands structure their branding strategy around a plan to market to their audience. Research your audience and competition, create customer personas, know your clients, monitor feedback, and apply this information to your marketing and branding. When you market to your audience, many elements of branding a business will fall into place. Keep your audience marketing plan at the forefront of your branding campaign to guide each decision. 3. Create Style Consistency\u00a0 Consistency is crucial for creating good company brands. Style consistency is a pattern of communication and expression that affects how people think about your company. The better your branding consistency, the more your customers will develop an affinity for your products or services. For inspiration, look at the style guides from your competition. This guide from Mozilla, for example, sets a tone that the company uses across all products. 4. Content Strategy\u00a0 Align your content strategy with your company's brand strategy and style for consistency. A content strategy is how you will communicate who your brand is and what you represent, though the content on top platforms. Below you will find useful tips for creating a solid content strategy that will improve your online branding: \tAlign content with brand identity and values. \tVet content ideas against brand personas. \tUse brand stories to guide your content. \tPlan multiple content types on critical platforms. \tMap the customer journey.\u00a0 5. Website\u00a0 Online branding for your website should match the rest of your brand. Your site should represent your brand's personality and mission clearly while being easy to navigate. A well-branded website should have a set style or theme that goes with your existing brand style. Use psychology to pick colors that will positively impact your audience, and typography that matches your company branding. Find a web designer to fine tune your layout and website branding for clean customer experiences across all operating systems. BONUS: Delegate! Branding, marketing, and web design is a lot of work when you are trying to run a business. Delegation helps ensure that you have time to keep your business running right. Our team at Marca Global is here to help. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation!