How do you build a BRAND STRATEGY?

Branding is reviewing all the touchpoints your company has with the potential customers, future customers and past customers, to ensure your story is being told in a consistent way. 

Your branding includes many visual and experiential components, often encapsulated by a logomark. While your logo is a critical part of your brand, there are many other parts that need to be developed for a successful business, as well.

If you are looking for an easy guide to develop your maker business’s brand strategy, you’ve found it. Below, we lay out clearly how to define and convey the identity of your business.

It Starts With a Plan

Let’s be frank up front: if you don't have sales, you only have a hobby, not a business. So developing a business plan to produce sales is the critical first step. 

Creating a business plan involves not only naming the business, but how you will explain your business to others, what products and services you offer, and how you will market to them.

If you need more information about how to describe your business’s function, how to market your products, and how to define your target market, we have you covered.

I have described in detail all the components of a successful business plan.

Once you have a business plan started, you'll want to formalize your business by getting all the necessary licenses and permits. You will need to know which legal structure to choose for your business, too. And don’t forget bookkeeping and tax remits! We have information about all those, as well.

Learn about licenses, legal structures, and finances for your new business.

Let's take a moment to make one thing perfectly clear early on, your business plan will change many times. 

That’s okay!

You don’t have to get it all correct the first time. Your original hypothesis may be wrong. You may find your customers respond to something you hadn't planned. Or you may not actually have the clearest picture of how this thing will evolve.

A good example is George Supply Company itself. My original business plan was gift boxes for makers. As time went on and I added product lines like banners, stickers and apparel, the focus of my business evolved and a vision for the future of George Supply became clearer. A common theme of logos and branding began to emerge and my business plan changed. Questions from other makers about business led me to the Supply Chain Blog, which changed into the BUSINESS FOR MAKERS blog and podcast.

I mention that to soothe some common anxieties for new entrepreneurs. Your first business plan doesn’t have to dictate your business forever. It’s changeable. You just need an initial version to get started.

Once you have that initial business plan in place, it's time to develop your brand.

Branding by definition happens in 3 places: Pre-Purchase, In-Purchase, and Post-Purchase. 

Pre-Purchase Branding

Pre-purchase branding helps address a difficult question for new businesses: How do potential customers find out you exist?

It begins with building awareness. In your business plan, you've identified who your customers are. Now it's time to determine how you will reach them. Under the pre-purchase branding umbrella, are 3 critical areas: Marketing, Advertising, and Selling. Each of these areas will help you find your customers.


A marketing plan involves unpaid social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing, podcasts, your website, and much more. How will you use these channels to create awareness about your business? 

First of all, let's bust a misconception. While marketing seems like it would be the story you want to tell the customer, it's actually the story the customer tells themselves about you

Do your marketing materials inspire the customer to tell themselves you are trustworthy? Do they convey to your customers that you care about the environment? Does the customer believe you truly care about their satisfaction? Does the customer think you just sell charcuterie boards, or that you sell a way for them to achieve the admiration from others, when they bring your charcuterie board to the party?

Your customers are drawing conclusions about your business almost immediately. Your marketing plan helps guide them to a favorable conclusion, based on the evidence you provide to them.

Developing marketing materials from business cards, to signs, to hang tags, to merch, to social media posts that support your message takes time and thoughtfulness. But it doesn't have to be terribly difficult. Peruse some of our examples of banners and signs, stickers, business cards, and custom printing

A social media content calendar can help you organize all these posts to support all the areas of your business, and stay consistent with your brand message. It also helps avoid the daily struggle of coming up with a post, and chasing shiny objects

Small businesses have also found it effective to market their brand wherever they go, by wearing branded apparel, branding their vehicle, or giving away branded swag. Consider shirts, hoodies, hats, accessories, and even drinkware and baby items


An advertising plan involves paid marketing channels; that’s what makes it different from your marketing plan. This could be Facebook or Instagram ads, Google paid ads, magazine or newspaper ads, billboards, and more. There is no shortage of free advice or paid online classes for creating effective paid online ads. But most the most critical part, is ensuring all the rest of your branding is as polished as it can be, before you begin investing cash in paid ads. 

Are your customers being sent to a finished website or one under construction? Are they coming to your social media channel, but there is no link to see your products or services? 



As we said, without sales, you don't have a business.

So developing a sales plan to turn the traffic you create with your marketing and advertising efforts, into sales, is critical.

This process begins simply by asking yourself, "what are the common reasons my customer won't buy from me," and answering those objections as quickly as possible in your copy.

For instance, if one objection is that the customer doesn't know you, how can reassure them you are trustworthy? Can you show customer testimonials or reviews? Should you add a video of yourself explaining your story, your product, or your service?

Could the customer object to your price? If so, can you explain why you offer value for your price? Can you offer payment options that help them pay over time? Answering common objections can help turn paid traffic into sales.

If you need to get your business noticed, you need to develop your Pre-Purchase Branding Strategy!

Everything you need to know to do that is in our course:

GET NOTICED: Raising Awareness About Your Brand and Capturing Your Customers’ Attention

You'll find Step by Step instructions, downloadable templates and a 100% self paced schedule.



In-Purchase Branding

Congratulations! The customer has found your business, reviewed your offerings, and decided to make a purchase. How do you carry your brand message into the purchase process?

An in-purchase branding plan ensures the customer has confidence in their purchase and the private information they are entrusting you with. Examples include:

  • Ensuring the payment process looks trustworthy, has your logo, and is as easy as possible.
  • Making it clear their private information will not be sold.
  • Offering multiple payment options can certainly improve your chances of finalizing the sale. Online businesses can choose from a variety of payment options available, possibly through their web hosting service. 
  • In-person sales should be able to process cash and credit cards payments and additionally 3rd party payment options like Block, Venmo. and Paypal. There are lots of contactless payment methods too!
  • Branding in-person sales can also include your temporary retail setup at craft shows and local events. This might include your tent, banner, table setup and much more. We have a list of 30 items to bring to craft events.
  • For online purchases, do you offer a method for the customer to contact someone to answer questions about their purchase? In addition to offering a simple email address or phone number, Shopify offers an integrated messaging option like the “Chat With Us” button you see below, or you can use an integrated Facebook Messenger app. 
  • If offering a customer service phone number makes sense for your business, consider using a free Google Voice phone number.

All these techniques can help your customer feel confident that their purchase is the right decision. But even though they have bought something, your branding isn’t done yet.



If you have shoppers coming to your website, but the sales aren't there, we can help!

Everything you need to know is in our course:


You'll find Step by Step instructions, downloadable templates and a 100% self paced schedule.

Post-Purchase Branding

You have the sale, but the planning is not over! Have you received emails in the past from large organizations to review your purchase? Did they offer a discount for your next purchase? Large organizations realize that converting a one time purchaser to a brand advocate begins here. 

Step One is ensuring when your order is delivered, you have maximized your unboxing experience, and it's consistent with your brand message. Can your box be identified among the Amazon boxes on the porch? Have you packed the box with not only the product that was ordered, but a thank you card, care and use instructions, and maybe a complimentary gift? Your unboxing experience is paramount! We can help make a memorable one for your customers.

Step Two is following up the purchase with appropriate email messaging that also fits your brand. If your brand voice is from the owner, this should be an email with a personal message from the owner asking about their purchase. Additional emails could include a discount on an additional purchase, if that fits your brand. For example, an email discount would make sense coming from Target. But it would not be appropriate from a custom heirloom furniture maker. However, the furniture maker may want to continue the conversation by suggesting a matching furniture piece for their future wish list.

These steps help your customer feel good about their purchase and that they feel invested in as a customer. This will help you build a loyal base of support for your business.

In Summary

Developing a brand for a maker is an evolution that starts with the products you want to make and offer. But ultimately, it involves tracking the customer through each phase of the pre-purchase, in-purchase and post-purchase process, to ensure your brand message is present and reinforced.


Scott Chervitz is the owner of George Supply Company, dedicated to helping woodshops build their brand. See more at You can reach him at, on Instagram at @GeorgeSupplyCompany or Twitter @ScottChervitz

Brian Chervitz, M.S. is an Associate Instructional Designer at the University of Wisconsin Extended Campus. You can connect with him on LinkedIn at /in/brianchervitz.