When it comes to branding your business, you need to make sure your message is clear and concise.
Branding. No, we’re not talking about hot metal on skin, we’re on about branding for your business. It’s one of the most important pieces of business marketing you’ll ever do. No matter the size of your business or your customer base, it’s essential to create a brilliant brand around your company, product or services.
Branding is what defines your business, so it’s crucial to get it right. But, how do you create a ‘brand’, what separates it from just being the aesthetic of your company. It’s important because it is so much more than a visual aspect. It’s the way your business presents itself to your customer base. It’s what your business is and what you sell. It’s who your business is and conveys what your message is to your customers. It is everything.
We asked the pros how to make an excellent brand for your business, no matter the size of it. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Revive.Digital, specialists in digital marketing and web design in Essex, to find out how to brand your business, not only correctly, but brilliantly. How to turn heads, and convey the message of your company, without saying a word. We’ll be going into great detail about how to create the right branding for your business. This is branding 101.
Defining your Business
Before you start looking into the visual aspects of branding, you first need to consider defining your business. You can’t create an aesthetic brand without writing down the key points of your business. These include your business’ message or mission statement, what products or services you offer, what your customers think of your company and what separates your business from all of the others in your industry. Once you’ve established your business, it means that your branding can begin to take form. Expert graphic designers and marketers can work on the branding of your business once you have this information clearly laid out. But remember, your customer is at the heart of your branding. It’s about creating an association between your business’ aesthetic and the customers thoughts about your business – hopefully, they’ll have a positive response. Defining your business is the first step to building your brand. Interrogate yourself when building your brand, get down to the roots of your business before working on the visual of your brand.
Designing your Brand
Now, after you’ve defined your business, it’s time to work on designing your brand. This 7-part guide will detail to you how to design a brand, you’ll probably need the help of some marketers and graphic designers, but you should be as involved as you can in the development of your branding.
- Create a Logo
The best way to go about building the aesthetic of your brand, is to begin with a logo design. From the definition of your business and a little input of your own basic ideas, a graphic designer can create a logo that will be the ‘face’ of your business. But, how does this lead to the creation of branding? Well, from the fonts, the colours and the imagery used, your brand begins to form. It’s the gateway that leads to how your branding will be presented on your website and print materials (business cards, stationary etc.).
- Create a Brand Message
Your brand message is what you want to convey to your customers, about your business. Your products, services and what you provide to customers. There should be a consistency amongst all your employees, so you have a clear and defined brand message, throughout your company.
Your branding needs to be consistent throughout your business, which means that even the way your phones are answered, the way you sign off emails and so on. Your business needs to be branded in every single aspect. Without consistency, your branding is effectively rendered useless.
- Set the Tone
Dependent on the nature of your business, the tone you’ll want to present yourself in is key. For example, a funeral service provider will have a different tone to a kid’s soft play area, so the tone of your company is key. It’s a part of your branding and has to be the right tone for your customer base. Designing a brand is all about keeping the customer in mind.
- Create a Strapline
Your brand sends a message to your customers, so you need a catchy strapline to further convey the message of your business. This should be short and sweet, but effectively sum up your business. It needs to carry the same tone and be true to your brand message / mission statement.
- Brand Guidelines
One of the most important parts of branding, as we’ve mentioned, is consistency so how do you keep this consistency throughout your company? By developing brand guidelines. These guidelines will contain information on font, language, imagery, the strapline, the correct colours to use and so on. It’s everything you need for your business, located in one handy place.
Branding is all about being true to the way you present your business to your customers. That means being consistent with your branding throughout every aspect of your business and remaining true to your company’s values.
We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again, your customers should be at the heart of your branding. That means, knowing your audience. Your colours, tone, language, strapline etc. should represent your business, but they also need to be relevant for the customers of your business and the products or services you offer. For this, you need to look at the data behind your business and carry out some market research.
The key to great branding isn’t trying to appeal to everyone, but targeting your audience, by creating a brand that they are impressed by and actually like too. This makes you shareworthy and can help turn customers into brand loyalists.
With the right branding, you can turn your business into a titan, unrivalled by your competitors. So, do your homework. Find out about your audience and build your branding around that information.
We’ve spoken about staying true to your roots, but customers need to know what those roots are. That’s how you started, why you started, why you’ve carried on and why your products and services are essential to your customers, both potential and returning. The best way to communicate this, is through your website (an About Us page), to really bring another level of transparency to your customers and target audience. Your business’ history is important, so a key part of your branding is to highlight this.
Another way to cement the branding of your business is to use the power of marketing. But not just any marketing, affiliate and influencer marketing. This kind of marketing looks into contacting industry professionals and social influencers, to market your products or services to their audience. How does this cement your branding though? Well, if you do your research, and find the right affiliate, their audience will be the same as your target audience. If you can find the embodiment of your target market, then you’ll cement your brand in the minds of those that follow this influencer or affiliate. For example, if you sell travel back packs for young travellers, find a blogger or influencer that travels. Their aesthetic will lend itself to your branding, when they’re promoting your products and services.
Follow by Example
If you’re still having trouble branding your business, the best way to find inspiration is to look towards some big companies, whose branding is so successful you recognise their products and services from a mile away.
Take Coca-Cola for example, their branding and logo is timeless. Not to mention Coca-Cola’s branding was powerful and influential enough to change the default colour of Santa’s outfit from green to red.
The font Coca-Cola use is timeless and has been a key part of their branding since 1923, when the logo was standardised with the same font. It’s a business that has been established for well over 100 years, and because of the right branding it is still just as popular and widely sold to this date.
With the right branding, you can take your business from being ‘fine’ to amazing – it’s all about following our tips above we’ve given.
You have to craft your brand around your audience, creating something that they are happy and proud to be customers of. Creating a winning logo can help your craft your brand too, what colours, fonts and tone of voice will work for your business’ intended audience.
More importantly, there needs to be a consistency throughout your branding which means a strong brand message and tone, both on the inside and outside of your business front.
Your consistency of branding can be dictated through your brand guidelines, so make sure that you have these in place. Remember, your branding is supposed to define your business and appeal to your audience, so create a clear brand with your business’ demographic in mind.