Defining your brand is like a journey of self-discovery. It can be difficult, time consuming, and uncomfortable, says Ana Loiselle-Donahue, founder of the SECRET Salon & Spa by Design. According to Loiselle-Donahue, it requires at the very least you practice the following eight steps:

1. Get a great logo. Place it everywhere.

2. Write down your brand messaging. What are the key messages you want to communicate about your brand? Every employee should be aware of your brand attributes.

3. Integrate your brand. Branding extends to all aspects of your business — how you answer your phones, what your employees wear, what you serve your customers to drink … everything.

4. Create a “voice” for your company that reflects your brand. This voice should be applied to all written communications and incorporated in the visual imagery of all materials. Is your brand friendly? Be conversational. Is it ritzy? Be more formal. You get the gist.

5. Develop a tagline. Write a memorable, meaningful, and concise statement that captures the essence of your brand.

6. Design templates and create brand standards for your marketing materials. Use the same color scheme, logo placement, look, and feel throughout. You don’t need to be fancy, just consistent.

7. Be true to your brand. Customers won’t return to you — or refer someone else to you — if you don’t deliver on your brand promise.

8. Be consistent. I placed this point last only because it involves all of the above and is the most important tip I can give you. If you can’t do this, your attempts at establishing a brand will fail.

With almost 10 years experience in new business start-ups and transformations, Ana Loiselle-Donahue is a specialist in finding new sources of revenue and growth for companies of all sizes. She founded the SECRET in 2004 to help businesses flourish through creative — and powerful — new solutions; including brand development, strategic financial planning, and employee training. Loiselle- Donahue can be reached at (866) 288-7353 or at

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