Starting a new business or indeed re-branding a stale one is a daunting task for business owners. It is very important that the brand is right and well suited to your industry as well as appealing to your target demographic. With so much importance placed on first impressions it is crucial that you place some budget aside for branding. Get it wrong and it could all be over before it’s started. Get it right and you could be laughing all the way to the bank!
The message – Before you do anything you will want to make sure you’ve got the basics nailed down. The foundations of your brand start with your message. Will you be the brave new hero of your industry? Or the reliable, experienced one? Is your product or service going to be the quality option, or the value for money market? Your direction should be based on who your customers are. Your message needs a target.
Spying the competition – This is so important it can’t be taken lightly. Your business is going to have competitors and some of them will have been established for many years. You should research them as much as possible and find out where they are weaker and where you can be stronger to get ahead. It will also be useful when deciding on a name for your company and possible domain names for your website.
Mission – Now that you have your message and you know your competition it’s time for your Mission Statement. This is what you are all about. This is where you will excel above all others and this is what you will always stand for. This mission will summarise your core values. Every aspect of your brand should speak directly from your message and mission.
Selection of business name – Next comes the name and this is where you really need to be on the ball. Your name will stay with you and will define your brand. Your domain name doesn’t necessarily need to be your name in it but would obviously be ideal if you can get it. That is why you need to do your research and see who is already out there. It would be a shame to choose a name and then find out that someone in the same field as you already has the domain for it. Do your research and choose wisely
Business Logo – The identifying mark of your brand should be at the forefront of every advertising campaign, every piece of stationery, every web presence and every communication you make to your client base. It needs to go hand in hand with your message and should be easily recognisable as you! Your customers should always get the feeling of trust and quality when they see your logo. It is very important that you have the right tools for any job. This is no different. What you need here is an experienced logo designer. Get this wrong and it will haunt your entire brand and could cost you money in the long term.
Designing the Brand – The logo should always be complemented with supporting design such as a constant typeface that goes well with the brand mark. An icon could be included to be used as a watermark or nice bullet points. Maybe you’d like some photography to accompany your message? Or maybe you prefer nice illustrations to put your point across? Whatever you feel works best for your brand and message, make sure you have a graphic designer on board who understands your message and try to avoid clichés as much as possible.
Stay Consistent – The brand should have continuity throughout everything you do. This is how a company can realise it’s core goal of stability and constant business. Nothing looks worse than inconsistent branding or logo use. As soon as you lose grip of your branding you’re showing your customers that you’re not professional, have a lack of interest and that’s when the trust is lost.
Get the word out – Your brand needs to shine and through advertising and web presence you can get your message out easily. A website is a must for any company and has become one of the most important beacons of your brand. You will need to thoroughly consider how your website will take shape and don’t neglect it from your budget! Money well spent with a web designer here can really make a difference to your exposure and your turnover. Social Media is a great way of getting out there and introducing your brand and services to new customers. It can be tricky to keep your brand consistent over external websites that have limitations on the aesthetics of a business page. It’s a good idea to have your web designer invloved here as they will know the best way to promote your brand on Facebook and Twitter!
Consolidate and grow – Now the foundations are laid you must keep everything on brand. Now you can push forward and carry all you have built into the market place with confidence. Keep consistent, drive home your message and build the trust that the brand stands for. It’s time to impress your potential customers with a brand that shows you are the real deal. You’re showing the world that you are serious and you are the company they want.
Keep up – Don’t allow your brand to go stale. Keep it on it’s toes! Introduce new products, keep people in the loop and keep adding to your repertoire. Start new and exciting advertising campaigns to make sure your customers don’t forget you. Make sure you are one step ahead of new ways to promote yourself and make sure your branding will keep up with the technology and methods being introduced all the time.