If you really want your business to be a success - whether you’re self-employed, a large corporation, a start-up or a long established organisation - it’s important to invest time researching, defining, and growing your brand.
Well, put simply, first impressions count.
Your brand is your company image…and reputation. It is derived from who you are, who you want to be and is ultimately what determines who people perceive you to be - which in turn sets you apart from your competitors and determines if they will become a loyal customer or not.
A strong brand identity presents your company with a distinctive, professional image that positions it for success and as such is one of your most valuable company assets.
The foundation of your brand is your logo. It is the face of your company and what people will remember about you the most.
A good logo is simple, distinctive, relevant and memorable. It should be able to be printed at any size, be effective without colour and it should communicate the message you intended.
If you don’t already have one, get a great logo and place it everywhere: business cards, brochure, website, packaging, signage and promotional materials.
Once you have a logo you then you can develop a tagline. This is basically a memorable, meaningful and concise statement that captures the essence of your brand. It is not essential (there are plenty of successful brands that don’t have one) however if you get it right it can be an invaluable and integral part of your brand.
The next step is creating a “voice” for your company. This should represent the personality of your brand i.e. a brand that is spirited, edgy will speak with a completely different voice to a brand that is technical or corporate.
A succesful brand voice will really resonate with your customer and allow you to establish a deeper relationship with them. But be care careful. You need to really know your audience and the voice has to be authentic. There’s nothing worse than a ‘granddad’ brand that’s trying to be ‘down with the kids’.
The final step in building your brand is application. Here, consistency is key! Create templates and guidelines for your marketing materials. Use the same colour scheme, logo placement, fonts and look & feel throughout. You don’t need to be fancy, just consistent.
Everywhere! A true, solid and long lasting brand is one of consistent design, tone of voice, strategy, people, retail environments and customer service. Branding does not stop at a logo and a business card or a poster or a car graphic.
So whatever service you offer and wherever you offer it: be true to your brand. Be consistent and reliable, keep your brand promise and your customers will not only return again and again but they’ll tell others to do the same!
No time like the present! Although you’ve only got one chance to make a first impression, branding can evolve as companies grow. Even if you’re self employed with a small website and self-created logo, you have a brand - you just need to decide if this is the brand you want.
Before you invest anymore in your brand, now is the perfect time to take a step back and ask yourself…is it’s working? Does it create the right impression? Is it professional? Is it consistent? If you are unsure...or if the answer is no...you may need to speak to a graphic designer.