We all know that the most successful brands are those that stand out from the crowd. The brands that spring to mind first are always those that do something slightly different that makes them recognisable anywhere and from any distance.
It doesn’t matter whether you are presenting your brand for the first time at a trade show or you are building an online presence to draw in new customers. Your branding is the business equivalent of a first impression and it has to represent your business values.
But how does a brand achieve this kind of positive recognition? What is it that makes these brands really speak for the company where others fall to the wayside? Which questions should you be asking?
What is Your Company About?
Understanding your company’s brand identity can be quite daunting, to begin with. For many entrepreneurs the challenge up to now has been figuring out what sort of products or services they will provide and how they will make a profit; company identity hasn’t really featured yet.
But don’t worry. You probably have a better idea than you think you do.
A brand identity is really just a fancy way to give your company a personality. Different companies have different personalities because they want to attract a particular group of people by demonstrating particular characteristics. This identity can be built up in any number of ways but usually, a tone of voice, colours, images and business value come into play.
When you are designing your branding, you need to think about the sort of brand identity you are aiming for. Who is your target audience and what sort of thing could they be looking for? What might surprise them and catch their attention?
Can Your Branding Scale?
The next question is about the scalability of your branding. But this doesn’t really mean whether your logo will look just as great on promotional badges as it would on a gazebo (though, that is also something to consider). This is really about whether your branding will take you from small business to medium business and beyond.
There is no reason that you won’t be able to change your branding as your business grows, but it is worth thinking about limiting that change early on. The last thing you want is to spend a year appealing to a particular audience and bringing them onboard only to pivot and have to effectively start again.
Your core values should form a solid foundation for all your branding so that no matter how big your company gets, you will still have a firm idea of what you are about. Core values can include anything but they must give you a more concrete idea of which goals your business is going to achieve. And, even more importantly, how you are going to achieve those goals.
When you have a firm sense of what your core values are, you can start creating a brand that will fit your business no matter whether you are in your first year or your 50th. You will probably want to make tweaks along the way, but small changes to detail are a lot easier to manage than a complete overhaul.
What Will Make Your Branding Effective?
You might have created a brilliant company identity and have a strong foundation for growth, but you still have to put these abstract ideas into more concrete terms when you design your brand. For example, you might want to foster a caring environment for your employees but how does your branding show that? Can it show that?
When you are designing your brand, you need to think about how to represent the characteristics in a more tangible way. For example, when you are building a personal brand, you choose the clothes you want to wear, think about the people you want to connect with and decide on your key messages. It’s just the same with branding a company, you need to come up with a logo that represents the identity of the company in an instantly recognisable way.
To make your branding as effective as possible it needs to stand out amongst your competitors but be recognisable within the industry. For example, when you look at supermarkets, they all have a similar style of branding but with small differences that make each one unique. Finding the balance between fitting in and standing out is a really difficult task so don’t worry if you spend a long time over this process. Even professional branding companies take time to work out the best solution.