One of the very first processes any start-up goes through is branding – the creation and conception of your company’s identity.
More than just an eye-catching logo, your brand is of major importance when it comes to the initial and continued success of your business. It informs your entire marketing strategy and how you show up in the world online and offline – from how you speak to clients and your company uniforms to your website and social media platforms.
This is understandably a big deal and a huge undertaking especially for first-time business owners – but despite the pressure to get things right (and get it right first time), there are many crucial stages and elements businesses often overlook during the process.
Here we’re sharing our five key things to consider when building a brand for your business – whether you’re just starting out, or need a refresh.
1/ Your target audience
This should go without saying – but it’s interesting to see how many businesses focus on what they think will work well, without taking time to think about what their audience will connect with on a deeper level. You started your business because you have an interest at least in your market or sector – maybe you’ve even been in the position of your ideal customers before. This gives you some insight, but your personal opinion can’t be relied upon when it comes to branding. Instead, it’s crucial to always consider how your brand looks and feels from a customer perspective where possible.
This isn’t always easy to do, as taking an objective view when you’re intimately involved with your business and therefore are incredibly close to it can be tricky. But through conducting market research and taking time to run branding prototypes by a small pool of target customers can help you to confirm you’re on the right track.
There’s a whole science to colour theory – and the colours you choose to represent your brand form an often-subconscious emotional connection with the person who sees them. Again, many businesses simply opt for what looks nice – or something they’ve seen other brands do. But it’s worth spending time really drilling down on colour theory and carefully considering what the colours you’re planning on choosing and what they say about your business. A decision to buy is generally emotional, so this involves feeling out and researching what emotions are linked with a particular colour and how that relates back to your target audience and what you offer.
Your brand is hopefully going to be with you for a very long time – so it is going to need to accurately represent you even as the business evolves and grows. Think not just about now, but about five, ten, twenty years down the line and how your brand will hold up then. This means avoiding current trends and keeping things consistently simple, clean and fresh – which is where branding professionals excel as this is easier said than done.
This also extends to budget – many businesses don’t budget for essential aspect of branding which extend beyond the obvious visual elements such as logo and brand colours – such as tone of voice, alignment guideline for and company culture.
As a side note – if you’re looking to expand your company to overseas territories in the future, it’s worth considering your name and brand identity now and checking for potentially negative connotations across other cultures and languages.
Your brand is going to be used across multiple platforms in many different ways. It’s going to be the first thing many of your customers see, and it needs to represent your offering and values on various levels. This means it needs to be flexible and adaptable enough to work across different mediums – from your website and printed marketing material to physical locations and social media.
Don’t be afraid to go bold and be unique! With the right branding team on-side you can dare to be different – because ultimately that’s what will set your brand apart from the rest. The most prolific businesses succeed because they do something that hasn’t been done before – or introduce an existing concept in a completely new way. Your business isn’t like others and want your brand to reflect that – so don’t play it too safe during the branding stage.