How to build a brand

Tying your product with your value proposition is key

Verizon challenged the world with, “Can you hear me now?” Airbnb convinced people that they, “Belong anywhere.” And Capital One whispered, “What’s in your wallet?”

In just a few words (and relentless advertising), these recognizable slogans have morphed into household catch phrases, influencing public perception of each company’s identity in the market. In short, they represent the power of branding.

Building a brand is a challenging task with or without a big advertising budget. It is possible, however, if you are focused, thoughtful and organized in your approach.

“To facilitate building a brand, it is essential to link your product/service with the value proposition you offer,” said Charles Matthews, professor of entrepreneurship and strategy in the Carl H. Lindner College of Business at the University of Cincinnati. “The three examples above all masterfully tied their core value proposition to create awareness among potential buyers.

“Too many times I see early stage ventures jump into creating brand loyalty when their focus should be on building brand awareness first.”

To jump-start the brand-building process, here are five tips:

  • Develop a clear brand strategy: Before you start building your brand, it’s important to have a clear strategy in place. Define your target audience, brand values and unique selling proposition. The goal is to create a brand that resonates with your prospective buyers and sets you apart from your competitors.
  • Build a strong online presence: In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial for building a successful brand. Social media and websites showcase your brand and allow you to connect with your audience.
  • Use design to tell your story: Create a visually compelling brand that reflects your brand values and resonates with your audience. From logos to packaging, design plays a critical role in building a brand that people will remember.
  • Engage with your audience: Building a strong brand is about creating a relationship with your audience. The goal is to develop a brand voice and messaging strategy that resonates with your target market through social media events and other marketing channels. Building brand awareness helps grow your business and ultimately brand loyalty.
  • Improve and innovate: Building a successful brand is an evolving process. Stay ahead of the curve by keeping up with industry trends and consumer behavior. By continuously improving and innovating your brand, you can ensure that it remains relevant and compelling to your audience.

Featured image at top: Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Need some branding advice?

The University of Cincinnati’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business offers a Small Business Institute consulting program. Under the guidance of faculty from the UC Center for Entrepreneurship, teams of graduate-level or senior undergraduate-level Lindner College of Business students consult with business owners and managers on topics including market research and marketing strategy.

Related Stories


UC’s Center for Entrepreneurship tailors big solutions for small businesses

November 21, 2023

At the epicenter of the UC Entrepreneurial Ecosystem hub is the Small Business Institute (SBI) program, nestled within UC’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business (LCoB). As a founding member of the SBI and the Small Business Institute Directors’ Association, UC helps bridge the gap between aspiring entrepreneurs and businesses eager to boost their success.


Empowering small businesses through innovative resources

November 8, 2023

Entrepreneurs, managers and businesses eager for substantial growth can leverage the center's rich offerings, backed by the University of Cincinnati's distinguished faculty, driven students and a network of regional corporate and professional affiliates.


What is a pre-accelerator?

March 30, 2023

The University of Cincinnati’s Venture Lab is a mentor-based entrepreneurial support ecosystem designed to provide guidance, support and structure to help early-stage startups move from idea to prototype stage. The goal of a pre-accelerator is to provide intensive guidance, mentorship and resources for budding entrepreneurs so they can establish a strong foundation for growth and attract customers and investors.