Define Your Business: Branding & Marketing Strategy

Let’s face it. In this fast-paced digital world, information is quickly received and processed every than before. branding and marketing are getting more and more important. Let’s use ad consumption as an example. Teenagers consume online advertising content 2.5 times faster than individuals in their 60’s, indicating that the amount of time the new generation spends looking at your branding content is much less.

So, how do we set up a good business strategy that can catch up with the millennials, generation Z and everyone else that is in your target audience? Let’s find out.

Defining Your Business

Let say you have an idea of what business you want to conduct OR you already have an existing business. In any case, this is the most important step in your business branding & marketing process. No one can promote a brand well if they do not have something to define it with. Visit the company profiles of the big players such as Forbes and Apple, and you will realize that they are very definitive about their business, their products, and services.

Below is the diagram that will help to understand the whole concept of defining your business.

Define your Business or Brand

Let break down each topic and talk about it further.

Choosing Your Business Legal Structure

Your business’ legal structure is like the base framework or foundation of a building – without it, you can’t proceed with building up your business at all. You will be taxed differently depending on your company legal structure. You will carry a different amount of risk associated with your business. To read more on this on the Canada Business Website

Generally, there are four legal structures that you can consider: sole proprietorship, general or limited partnership, C- or S-corporation, and a limited liability company (LLC). Let’s review the four legal structures below.

Sole Proprietorship

You are your own boss, and you own the business. This is the most common choice for business start-ups since it’s the easiest way to go and requires very little cost if you are just looking to test a business concept that you have in mind. However, since you have the sole ownership of your business, and all liabilities of your business goes to you completely.

Your personal assets could be at risk if your business goes bankrupt or if you get sued. Any income and expenses in a sole proprietor business are included in your personal income tax return. If you have very few or no employees at all, this is the business legal structure for you.


In a general partnership, the losses can be credited to any or all of your business partners. Meanwhile, in a limited partnership, there will be limited partners where their liabilities only amount up to however much that they have invested, and one general partner with unlimited liability.

Your business’ profits and losses are to be reported in an informational tax return and filed together with your personal tax returns. With the taxes filed along with your personal tax, you may get some benefits, but if you are the general partner, you are at high risk for the unlimited liabilities, even if another partner is the one responsible for the losses. This legal structure is common in real estate industries since it involves only several individuals.


Corporations are mainly liable and accountable towards the board of directors and their shareholders and is generally considered a separate entity from its owners. So, even if the company is sued, you have good personal protection. S-corporation is the more common legal structure, limited to 100 shareholders, while C-corporation is usually for high-profile businesses.

This is a more complex legal structure so you will need more tax and accounting personnel. Most manufacturers and restaurants are part of corporates.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Any profits and losses can be credited to the business owners, and these are in turn reflected on their personal tax returns. Your liability is protected, just like that of the corporation structure, but without the double taxations, and these are cheaper to set up than corporation structures.

However, self-employment tax may be given to you. If you are not sure how much your company will grow within its first year, your company can adapt to this structure.

How to choose a legal structure for your business?

Based on the above-given information, you can ask yourself the following questions to help you choose the best legal structure for your business.:

  • Do you think your business has a risk of getting sued?
  • Are you expecting to start with some losses initially?
  • What is the size of the risk that you might be expecting?
  • What is the main goal of your business? Which legal structure can serve your goals?

Business Legal Structure Summary Canada

Choosing Your Business Models

After choosing your business’ legal structures, you need to start thinking about the business model that you are going to adopt. To make your choice, consider this: How are you delivering value to your customers? There are many types of business models, but here are the 4 main types of small business models you can consider:

  • Manufacturer: As a manufacturer, you build, assemble or create your product using pre-made components or raw materials. You can sell your products to your end users directly, but you can also opt in to outsource your sales to another company. You can think of car manufacturers as an example of this business model.
  • Distributor: As a distributor, you purchase your products from a manufacturer. You can resell your products to retail outlets, or you can sell them straight to the public as well. Using the same car-related example, a car dealership would be a distributor.
  • Retailer: As a retailer, you can purchase your products from the manufacturer or another wholesaler and sell it to the public – just like what you can expect in shopping outlets. An excellent online retailer example will be Amazon!
  • Franchise: As a franchise, you can take up the role of any 3 other business models above because you will be following the franchiser’s business model. If you’re selling McDonald’s products, you are following their business model as a food retailer, as an example.

Interested in exploring more on business models for an online business? you can follow this article where you can learn about 30 Successful Business models.

Setting Your Business Goals

So, now you have your business model and your legal structures. You already have a rough idea of your role in the market, and who will be making up your company. Now, we start focusing on the value that you deliver to your customers.

Setting SMART Business Goals

Always remember that as a service provider, your business goals should be centred around your customer base. The more you focus on your customers, the more likely your business will succeed! To set up your business goals and objectives, use SMART Goal. Read more on what is Smart goals and how to set up and use it for your long term and short term goals.

Your Products & Services

Now, we drill down towards choosing the products and services that you want your company to serve. Generally, when choosing your products and services, you want to be sure that you are catering to consumers’ needs. You can have one of the best marketing strategies with the best products, but if they are not relevant to your customers’ needs, then your marketing strategy is as good as void.

Plenty of businesses conduct marketing surveys and so on, but did you know that only 41% of marketing executives are using this data to build their marketing strategy? Here’s how you can cater your products and services to your customers’ needs:

  • Understand Current Market: Perform as much of market research as you can to understand how your products and services are needed by the consumers.
  • Solve Problems: Look for problems faced by customers in other businesses in your industry, and tackle those issues for your own business.
  • Analyze the Data: Learn what is working and what is not in similar businesses as well as your own, and keep them recorded as you go for continual improvements.

Company Vision & Mission

Now that you have got your business goals done along with your products & services, you can set a vision & mission for your company as a guideline for your employees.

What is a Vision Statement?

Your vision statement should define your long-term goals. By reading the vision statement, your employees and customers should be able to gauge why you are providing the solution that you do, and what your ultimate goal is in the markets. You can think of your vision statement as your ultimate business goals.

What is Mission Statement?

Your mission statement will allow your employees and customers to understand the purpose of your company in the current market, and what changes are you aspiring to give to the industry and more. Your mission should include the approaches you follow to get to your vision and/or business goals. You can consider your mission statement as a how-to for getting towards your business vision.

Example of Vision Mission Statement

Defining Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.
– M&M’s

You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less – or it’s free.
– Domino’s Pizza

When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.
– FedEx

These are some of the famous USPs that most of us are familiar with. You can imagine these unique selling points as a special promise in the form of a quote from your business to your clients. As such, it’s essential for your company’s branding to include your own USP! Remember, a USP is a statement about what makes you and your company different from other vendors. Here’s how you can develop your own with just 3 steps:

Step 1: Know What Your Customers Want

You can’t sell your unique selling point without knowing what your customers want, so you should always start at this point. Find out about why a customer likes to buy from you or similar businesses. Look for the primary benefits that they are looking to get from your products, and whether or not they like them and why. Basically, just get to know your customers.

Step 2: Know What Makes You Unique

What’s the main goal that your customers want from you? Quick delivery? 0% return and refund rate? 100% satisfaction? Cheapest price? Utilize any of their primary goals which are the most relevant to your business as the unique quality of your brand. Remember, the key here is to be specific. Domino’s Pizza wouldn’t be as successful if their USP simply read “Delicious pizza”.

Step 3: Create Your USP

Using the points you have gathered, create your USP slogan. You won’t be explicitly using this line on your website most of the time, but it will be a slogan that your customers will know you by. Remember not to make it a lengthy paragraph!

You need to be sure that you are able to deliver your USP. As you continue delivering your value, you will receive better feedback and fewer customer frictions. Your USP can evolve to be even more specific and captivating as your brand grows, so don’t worry about not being able to change it later.

Know Your Value Proposition

We don’t just stop defining your USP! You have to be familiar with your own value proposition as well. A value proposition is a statement of the results, benefits or advantages that your customers can get from obtaining your products and services. About 66% of B2B businesses have their own value proposition, highlighting the importance of this item! While your USP is something akin to a slogan, your value proposition is the item that can help you seal a business deal.

So, what is your company’s value proposition? Include these items in your value proposition:

  • How does your product or service solve or improve issues?
  • What advantages or benefits can your customers expect to get from you?
  • Why should your customers choose to get your services or products?

Here’s some statistics involved: 71% of businesses clearly explain the values of their products and services. 56% include why their target customers should choose them over their customers. 52% have unique value propositions for separate services and products.

So, define your value proposition. While your USP is focused on your business, your value proposition is focused on your customers. Let them be in the spotlight, and tell them what you can give them. Read further on how to develop your value proposition.

Define Your Target Audience

The next step for a successful business branding is to know and define your target audience. This could be yet another long journey up ahead – gathering information about your customers and profiling them according to the market segments.

Lucky for you, there’s plenty of tools such as Google Trends & Facebook Audience Insights to help you with this! You can read further on how to define your target audience in a separate article.

Develop Consistent Marketing Communication Strategy

You can’t expect a business to run well without any marketing. Switching up your communication strategy could be a good idea later on, but when you are still branding your business, maintaining a consistent marketing communication strategy is crucial.

There are several best practices that you can follow as a guideline. As an example, you’d want to produce crystal clear messages along with a call to actions that are specific towards your business. Even your branding collaterals are important in this process! You won’t want to go with a colourful theme at the beginning and suddenly switch to monotone colours the next day. Learn how to develop a marketing communication strategy

Long-Term Branding/ Marketing Goals

So, you have come this far. The first few steps for branding your business is done and dusted. Next, you will need to implement your long-term branding or marketing goals. Use SMART Goals! We’ll guide you on how you can build and implement your smart goals in this article.


Hope this article was informative and had created some value for you. Feel free to bookmark this article for your future reference.

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