How to create a brand – the ultimate beginner’s guide

Let’s lift the fog about ‘the art of brand building’ and learn the exact steps needed to give your business a brand everyone can get behind.

Navigate this guide

This post is a long one. Read the whole thing, or jump to the sections you care about:

  1. Why is a well-made brand important for you and your business?
  2. How do you actually ‘build’ a brand?
  3. The top brand building mistakes to make sure you avoid
  4. How do you make your business ‘live’ the brand everyday?

So, you want to build a brand?

If you’ve found your way to this beginner’s guide on how to create a brand, I’m guessing a few things:

  • You’ve either got your own established business or a business idea (both put you in the top bracket of awesome people, by the way)
  • You’ve figured out what a brand actually is (check out the difference between a ‘brand’ and a ‘brand experience’ here).
  • You want to know if this is something you can dream up yourself or with your business partners

Yes! You can absolutely build a brand yourself that wins over customers who love you, gives you presence in the market and adds strategic value to your business.

This guide will cover exactly what to do, easy mistakes to avoid and how to actually ‘live’ your brand to win over the hearts and minds of your customers.

I’ve even got a full guide you can use to build your brand and embed it into your customer touchpoints for a Powerful Brand Experience.

Stick with me and all will become clear… promise!

why should you care about creating a brand?

Part 1: Why is a well-made brand important for you and your business?

Taking the time to come up with a brand, especially if your business is up and running, can feel like a pointless drag on your to-do list.

But have you ever wondered why there are thousands of coffee shop names, but only one Starbucks?

Why there are hundreds of restaurants in a city, but if you asked people to name three, there would be a few names that came up again and again?

It’s because the people that take the time to learn how to create a brand set themselves up to make a memorable impression on their customer. People can’t associate themselves with something they can’t explain. They can’t pick a business to represent a part of themselves if they’ve no idea what it’s values are.

Effort into a brand = more sales. It’s that simple. And that’s true for B2B and B2C.

What makes a good brand?

A really good brand:

  • Makes a memorable impression on your customer
  • Helps people trust you more and trust you faster
  • Increases the value of your business (i.e. the amount someone would pay you for it)
  • Creates a feeling of quality, authority and status
  • Helps you define and create an amazing customer experience
  • Aligns your team to the same goals and ways of working

So, do what you need to convince the key people in your business that a solid brand is a must for you going forward. It’ll pay off in the future and then they’ll be singing your praises!

Where To Begin? | how to create a brand

Part 2: How do you create a brand?

Building your own brand is a straightforward process if you follow these key steps:

  • Describe your brand promise
  • Get clear on your brand vision, mission, personality and values
  • Clearly define your proof points and differentiators
  • Create a brand style, or brand visual identity
  • Creating a website that represents your brand
  • Bring it to life as a powerful brand experience

I explain how to work through each of these areas below.

Describe your brand promise

First thing’s first – who are you, what do you do and why should anybody care?

These three simple sentences form the very foundation of your brand. They describe in the simplest possible terms the value you offer to the world.

painting teacher - branding exercise


  1. Who are you?

A painting teacher.

  1. What do you do?

Teach people to love painting – no matter their ability level.

  1. Why does it matter?

People who had an interest in painting but didn’t have the confidence to pursue it can now enjoy painting and love the learning process.

See how these work?

  1. Describes very literally and simply the ‘thing’ (normally the business, product or service)
  2. Gives a basic description of what the thing does and who it does it for
  3. Simply describes the problem the person had and the transformation that happens when a solution is offered

Get clear on your vision, mission, personality & values

If your brand is going to mean anything to anyone, it’s got to know exactly how it wants to change the world.

Yes, we are being that dramatic. Get a sheet of paper and write down headers for ‘Vision’, ‘Mission’, ‘Personality’ and ‘Values’. If you need more structure, check out my ‘Ultimate Guide to Building a Brand Experience’. It pairs well with the instructions in this article.

Big brands get big because they want to do big things. Say that 5 times fast.

Create your brand vision

A vision is a bit like a far-off dream. It’s what you’d love to say that the world looked like if your brand achieved everything it set out to achieve.

To write down your vision:

  • Think about the way your business helps customers change their lives
  • Describe it in terms that are most meaningful to you and to them
  • Then extrapolate it – how has the world been transformed if your business helps lots of people make that change?
people painting - how to create a brand exercise


A painting teacher

How do I help customers change lives?:

I give people the skills and confidence needed to express themselves freely.

Vision: British people are world-renowned as a free, artistic people who add incredible value to the modern art scene.

See how a good vision lifts the meaning of what the company does to a whole other level?

Notice how it’s got nothing to do with the company and it’s success?

That’s because a good vision:

  • Gives your business a long term focus
  • Gets all your team behind one cause*
  • Helps customers see the bigger picture and understand what you’re about

*And guess what: ‘be the highest paid painting teacher in the UK’ is not going to be an inspiring vision for the people that end up working for you – they quite rightly don’t care whether or not you earn an extra 50k a year!

Create your brand mission

Once you’ve figured out the dream, it’s time to choose the major steps you need to take to reach that dream.

Think of your mission statements as the training montage to your vision. They succinctly describe what you’re going to need to do for a long period of time to get there.

They’re big, important things. They aren’t necessarily things you’ll be able to do today.

To write down your mission statements:

  • Identify the things your business actually does which are critical to the vision
  • Decide which strategic direction those activities need to go in to help achieve the vision
  • Come up with no more than 3.
brushes on paint - build a brand guide


Painting Teacher

Vision: British people are world-renowned as a free, artistic people who add incredible value to the modern art scene.


  • I will focus on creating the most accessible, enjoyable painting lessons possible, which get people to relax and enjoy the learning process
  • Then I will translate those lessons into repeatable or digital formats so that they can be spread as far and wide as possible without needing me directly
  • I will work with influencers, schools, the government and anyone else that can help push those lessons to as many people with an interest in painting as possible

Notice how each of those things looks at a key part of the business’ operating model? – Product development. Distribution. Promotion. These mission statements might involve multiple teams in the business. A brand is an all-invasive thing when it’s done right!

Good mission statements:

  • Get different parts of the business working towards the vision
  • Are strategic, not tactical – they need to be worked at over a long period and might involve several tactics
  • Drive business-level results for the brand

Create your brand values and personality

What are two main ways in which we decide if we like someone? (Even if we tell ourselves we’re not judgemental!)

  1. How they act
  2. What they believe in

For someone to quickly decide if they like your brand, they need the same signposts as if they were dealing with a real-life person.

Write down your brand’s personality

What would your brand say, do and act like if it were a real person? Try and think of all the well-rounded stuff a real person would have, not just whether it’s ‘nice’.

Pro tip: is super useful here when you want more exciting and unique words to describe your brand.

A few ideas:

  • How does your brand treat people it cares about?
  • What’s it like when it’s upset?
  • What’s it like in crowded situations?
  • What is it like at a party?
  • How does it empathise with others?
  • Is it concerned with issues in the world?
  • How self-indulgent is it?

Write a bulleted list of descriptive words. Stop when you can say ‘that sounds like all-aspects of a real, whole person’.

Write down your brand’s values

If you’re brave enough to change the world, you’ll almost certainly have beliefs on how people should be treated along the way!

Brands need to be exactly the same. What are the values that you, your brand and your customer would likely have in common?

It’s time to get those down on paper, because they help customers choose the brand that’s right for them. A good set of values can inspire unwavering loyalty in times of hardship – and loyalty is something we all need in business, whether it’s from customers, team members or the office dog!

Write a bulleted list of values. They can be about people, the way things should be done, the environment – whatever is relevant and meaningful to the value you offer and your target audience.

Stop when you feel like there’s at least one value to support your team, your customer, your business and your market. Aim for between three and six in total. More than that and they tend to become too fluffy.

Clearly define your proof points and differentiators

Finally, when ‘building’ your brand, there are two more lists to take care of. You need to write down the things that prove you can deliver on the value you offer people, and the things that set you apart from your competition. These will serve as reminders to scatter them throughout your communications, or work on them to make them stronger.

Proof points:

Create a list that might include:

  • Number of customers served
  • Results of customer transformations
  • Awards you’ve won
  • Things customers have said about you
  • Experts that back you
  • Independent bodies that certify you

It’s OK to have a ‘now’ list and a ‘soon’ list – that way, you can work on getting more proof points to give more authority to your offering.

Differentiators (or Unique Selling Points):

Finally, create a list of all the things that make your business, you, your team and your offering special in the market and different from the competition.

Again, it’s OK to have a ‘now’ and a ‘soon’ list to clarify what you need to work on.

Congratulations! If you’ve finished all that, you’ve discovered how to create a brand and laid a really solid foundation. Remember, if you need a bit of structure, check out my ‘Ultimate Guide to Building a Brand Experience’ that lays it all out for you.

Or if you feel like you need an expert to lay it all out for you step by step, check out my ‘Build a Powerful Brand Experience’ online course.

It walks B2B business owners through all of the key concepts you need in great detail, then gets you to build out your brand, and a powerful experience for your customers, using a series of worksheets and video walkthroughs.

Now that you’ve figured out who your brand is and what it really cares about, it’s time to build out a style so that it stands out to your customers in a memorable way!

Creating a brand style, or brand visual identity

If you’re confused as to what a visual identity is, or want to know exactly why it’s important, see this great post from the Design Coach on ‘what is a visual identity anyway?’.

There are a few basic elements to a brand’s visual identity that give designers and business owners what they need to go on to create branded materials like websites, flyers, banners etc.. Those are:

  • A logo
  • A choice of fonts (typography)
  • A colour palette
  • And appropriate imagery

You have loads of options to get these done for you, depending on: the budget you have, the ability of the designer you need and how badly you want to make sure it absolutely nails the work you’ve done to decide what you want customers to think when they interact with your brand.

Here they are ordered by typical cost (from most to least expensive):

  • A design or branding agency (drop me an email if you’d like an introduction to one)
  • A professional brand designer (as above!)
  • A general freelance designer
  • A remote freelance designer through sites like, or
  • Pre-made brand packs (where someone has made an example of a brand for a particular type of business and then sells it on for someone to use in their startup)
  • Do it yourself with professional grade tools like Adobe InDesign
  • Do it yourself with consumer grade tools like Canva

If you want to make sure your brand’s visual identity makes the right impression, check out my branding brief template. It helps you get the best out of your project with a designer. NEVER start a visual identity project without a brief – even if you’re the one designing it!

Creating a website that represents your brand

Well, aren’t you doing great! If you’ve done all of the above, you’ve built the foundations of your brand and brought it to life visually. Nailed it!

Now, you need to start creating ways for customers to interact with your powerful new brand.

There are dozens of them, and I do help clients figure out how to bring their brand to life across every one of them – more on that later.

For now, consider your website. This is the most important asset your brand can have to help sell you to the world.

Again, there are so many options to help create a website that fosters an amazing relationship with customers. Here’s a list of some key ones, from ‘least technical’ to ‘most technical’:

  • Do it yourself options:
  • Done-for-you options:
    • (the same but a WordPress web designer/ developer builds the site for you)
    • Custom builds in tools like Joomla! Umbraco or Drupal, for more complex needs (you’ll need a professional developer for this)

If you’ve no idea which option is best for you, have a chat to some similar businesses and see what they did. Learn from other people’s mistakes to save you a lot of time and heartache!

Expectation versus reality - brands

Part 3: The top brand building mistakes to make sure you avoid

Brand building is really new to most people who start a business, and that’s OK! Because it’s so important, I thought describing some really easy mistakes might help you stay on the right path:

  1. Rushing the ‘build a brand’ process

We’re all busy business owners! There’s nothing worse than something dragging on. With a brand, it’s really important to get key people in the business to buy into what you create (including you!). If it doesn’t fit your team, or if it doesn’t fit your target audience, it won’t come to life and it won’t connect – meaning it won’t drive sales and growth.

  1. Not having clarity on your brand and the marketing strategy

Knowing exactly who your customers are helps you build a brand you know they’ll love, helps you bring it to life in meaningful ways, helps you do relevant marketing. Weak links in that chain break it all apart!

  1. Undelivered promises

It’s tempting to build the most incredible brand in the world on paper and promise all sorts of amazing things. Just remember: better to promise what you can actually deliver and do it with passion, personality and authentic values, than constantly let customers down.

  1. Unprofessional visual identity & website

Be honest. How many times have you searched for a product or service, landed on a terrible website and automatically thought, ‘ergh, no, I’m good thanks’. ‘Ergh, no’ is not the first impression you want to make (if you like having customers and sales).

  1. Not being consistent with your visuals and your message

A visually stunning website with a clear message is great. It’s less great if the next touchpoint is a shoddy old banner with a fuzzy message on it. Or a team member that talks about completely different things and values. Or you go after audiences that don’t fit your brand with irrelevant messages. Be clear, be consistent, be successful.

  1. Not being authentic and relatable (not speaking their language)

Corporate jargon. The enemy of the people-driven business. If it’s a paintbrush, don’t call it a ‘utensil for visual expression’. If there’s one of you in the business, don’t say ‘we’ or pretend you’ve got three offices. Most importantly, learn how your audience talks to each other and reflect that in the way you talk to them.

  1. Forgetting to tell the brand story (Share the why)

People want to know exactly why a brand is important to them. They want to know how they can change their lives. They want to know exactly how amazing they are as people because of what they can now achieve because they use your service.

Boromir does brand building

Part 4: How do you make your business ‘live’ the brand everyday?

Well done, you’ve set yourself apart in the market by having a strong brand foundation and a great visual identity.

Now comes the hard part! 

You need to figure out how to ‘live’ the brand everyday. How to create a consistent ‘brand experience’.

What’s a brand experience?

It’s remembering who you are, what you do and why it matters, and delivering that to people to get closer to your brand vision, whilst living your personality and honouring your values. And it’s doing that across every single customer and employee touchpoint that you have.

For now, let’s take a look at the customer touchpoints.

Where are the customer touchpoints?

There are dozens and they’re different for every business. To find them, write them down for each of these areas:

  • When they don’t know about you yet (and you try to get their attention)
  • As they’re researching your product
  • When they’re buying your product
  • After they’ve bought your product
  • As they use your product
  • When they’re finished with your product
  • When they’re interacting with your employees or community

Once you’ve listed them out there will probably be a lot. Try prioritising them to come up with three to six priority touchpoints to get you started (you can refine the others once you’ve nailed these).

Creating the brand experience in your customer touchpoints

Here are some easy ways and examples to help you start improving the brand experience across touchpoints:

(These came from a chat I was having with Lisa, the Design Coach. That’s why they’re all intensely Irish 😂)

  1. Help your customer with a pain, frustration or need.

Example: The Happy Pear.

The Happy Pear is an Irish brand all about promoting plant-based diets. A frustration for vegans for a long time was a lack of healthy & tasty vegan snacks. So, The Happy Pear, which started as a cafe, built on its brand experience by releasing a range of ready-meal and snack products, which are now stocked across the country, so that their audience could enjoy a solution to their problem at home, not just in their cafe.

  1. Make the touchpoint interaction more memorable

Example: The ‘DOS Artist’

Touchpoint example:

When he created his brand’s visual identity with the Design Coach, they went through some of his touch points. One was when a customer received a print in the post.

Old touchpoint experience:

  • A large envelope with the print in cellophane
  • Some foam board so it didn’t bend
  • Fragile tape wrapped all around


An easy-win opportunity to reinforce the brand experience at a key moment in the customer relationship

New touchpoint experience:

  • A high-end flat postage box that could contain the print without bending
  • Tissue paper in the brand colours with a logo sticker to hold it in place
  • A hand-written note on branded paper
  • A small branded A6 notebook made from recycled paper

The result:

Customers were delighted when they received his print in the post and felt like they were getting something really special.

  1. Put on brand experience events

Example: A local business in Cork called the ‘Good Day Deli

A sustainable food restaurant. They source local and in-season ingredients. To create a more relatable and memorable brand experience, they put on talks about relevant subjects that fit their values, like sustainable food, growing your own organic food etc. 

This brings new and existing people to the restaurant and helps them all understand exactly what the brand cares about, whilst adding value to the lives of the customers.

If you want to make sure your business ‘lives’ the brand everyday to create an incredible brand experience for your customers, have a look at my Build a Powerful Brand Experience’ online course.

It walks B2B business owners through all of the key concepts you need in great detail, then gets you to build out your brand, and a powerful experience for your customers, using a series of worksheets and video walkthroughs.

Summary of how to create a brand

If you want an incredible brand to help you win more customers and grow your business, you need to invest time and effort in three areas:

  • Building a strong brand foundation – on some paper, in a Google Doc, using a ‘brand experience guide or my ‘Build a Powerful Brand Experience online course
  • Representing the brand visually – using a professional designer, using budget design options or doing it yourself
  • Creating an all-invasive brand experience – by workshopping the key touchpoints (on your own or with me) and finding ways to ‘live’ the brand

Congratulations! If you’ve read this whole guide, you (hopefully) know exactly how to create a brand you’re definitely no longer a brand building beginner!

Ready to build your own Powerful Brand Experience?

I’ve put together a step-by-step ultimate guide to help you build your own brand experience. Use my prescriptive guidance to create an experience for a new brand, or to power up your existing business.

Just make sure you’re happy to:

  • Let go of making your brand all about you and your business
  • Focus only on what your customer needs, all of the time
  • Get input from your team on new brand initiatives
The Ultimate Guide to Building a Powerful Brand Experience - Burning Need

Download ‘the Ultimate Guide to Building a Brand Experience’

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