Throughout my career, I have worked with some iconic and global brands like Burger King, Gold’s Gym and Club Pilates. Launching KickHouse in 2020, I took everything I learned from those brands and set out to create a brand foundation that would be strong enough to support rapid growth.
As I’m now over two years into growing the brand platform, I wanted to share five steps you can follow when building your own brand.
1. Choose a Company Name
Naming your company is the hardest but most important decision you’ll make as an entrepreneur. A good name can get you out to a fast start if it’s easy for your customers to “connect” with your brand. It can also pay back dividends over the long term as name recognition and unaided brand awareness drive organic growth.
A good name takes a number of things into account:
Is it memorable?
Is it ownable?
Does it well-represent what you do?
Do people like it?
Is the domain name available?
Is the Facebook page available?
Is the trademark available in the business category you operate in?
Changing your company name after launch requires significant time and resources so really think through the bullets above.
When naming KickHouse I followed this formula: brainstorm, research, repeat. While the boutique fitness space is crowded with boxing brands, there aren’t many kickboxing brands so I knew I wanted to incorporate “kicking” into our brand name.
My initial list had 6 options and the name I liked the best wasn’t an available domain or Facebook page. So I went back to the drawing board and came up with 5 more names. When I ranked them, “KickHouse” was at the top. It checked most of the boxes above.
It is a literal name that is easy to comprehend and remember. The word is also active and could be used in different analogies. The word “House” is familiar and connects to family, which adds approachability to the concept.
2. Create Your Company Logo
Being a brand new concept with a need to build brand awareness quickly, I wanted a logo that was super easy to read and comprehend. I needed each impression to be an impactful imprint in a consumer’s mind.
I didn’t want icons or complexity that would distract from the company name and decrease the memorability. Complexity can reduce clarity and you need clarity early on when you’re building a brand.
I intentionally kept the brand simple with a lot of room to breathe so early adopters could embrace the brand and add themselves into our story. Building extensive assets and iconography, you run the risk of your brand only appealing to a niche audience.
3. Write a Tagline
Strong taglines give a quick glimpse into who you are and what you do. Think of the two items above as the exterior of your house or your business. A tagline is your opportunity to showcase what happens inside the four walls.
I use the following filters when building taglines:
Will it appeal to our target audience?
Is it consistent with our values?
Is it ownable?
Does it shine a spotlight on what we do best?
If you’re collaborating with others, you can add words to a white board to see connections easily. Or if you’re working alone, you can use a Google doc to catalog words and phrases that apply to your brand with the goal of finding unique and ownable connections.
4. Define Everything Else
Every aspect of your brand needs to be intentional and come together like pieces of a puzzle. Colors. Fonts. Copy-writing. Photography style. Video style. Everything you create says something about your brand. Ideally, every element is laddering up to the same brand story.
If you’re not an expert in this arena, it is not a bad idea to get help with setting these brand standards.
Every brand enters the market with a different competitive advantage and with different needs. Depending on the textbook you’re reading, they say it takes six to ten impressions for a consumer to see your message and remember it.
Whether you follow the process above to build your brand or not, once you have the assets built, it quickly becomes a game of repeat… repeat… repeat… You have to consistently show up as a brand in order to stay top of mind.
Building a great brand is actually very difficult and will continue throughout the life of your business but I hope these five steps simplify an otherwise daunting process.
You cannot afford to underthink brand decisions. The cost of repairing a bad brand is just too high.