As business owners we are all (hopefully) aware of the importance of creating a great brand strategy, and sticking to it.
Often, the very first thing a business owner will do is launch Google and type in "logo design" and find a logo designer. I think this is a mistake. Don't get me wrong, I'd love it if they Googled and ended up at my logo design service page - but they have already skipped through some very important stages of brand creation. Regardless of how amazing the designer might be, only YOU have all of the knowledge required to create a good, unique brand. You know your products, you know your competition, you know your style, your pricing, your history and your future plans. Without that knowledge, your designer may just give you something thoughtless that looks really nice in their portfolio.
So what should you do before speaking with a designer?
First of all, you need to have a good look at the following questions:
- What is the goal for your company?
- What is your point of difference compared with your competition?
- Is there an existing feeling towards your company, and if so, what is it?
- What do you want your customers to associate your company with (e.g price, quality, design)
If you are struggling to answer any of those questions, then you should consider doing some more research into your market, your customers and your competition. Nowadays it's not a difficult thing to do. By using search engines and social media you can learn a lot about what's happening in your industry and how well it's working.
Once you've established those few things, it's time to start creating your brand. This may include:
- Logo design (by a professional as the right logo can make or break your business).
- You need to establish what your key message is, and stick to it.
- Establish how you will carry your new brand through your business. A brand is more than just a logo. It's the general tone of everything you do to represent your business, from how you interact with clients to what your staff wear, to the colour of the walls in your office.
- Make sure all of your staff are well informed of how yu want your brand to be carried through on a daily basis.
- Consider developing a mission statement or tagline that is found on your marketing material to reinforce your brand message. E.g. "I'm lovin' it" from McDonald's.
- Have a graphic designer design your full corporate identity suite and guidelines. Including stationery, signage, brochure templates, website and more.
- Work hard to stay consistent. This may involve having regular brand meetings to ensure you all stay focused and true to the brand.
Creating your brand is not all hard work. It can be good fun, too. Work closely with experienced branding professionals, listen to their advice, but try to keep your vision as a priority to avoid ending up with a "flavour of the month" brand identity. A brand can be seen as a living thing that you've created. It can evolve over time or adapt to suit your market, but you should never lose sight of your initial vision or plan for your company's future.
I hope this has been of some use to you. Please contact me for more information about creating and maintaining your brand.
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