Branding your business can be a delicate task. How do you represent your fledgling business empire’s ambitions for world domination in a few words and a logo? MarketInvoice were in this position earlier in the year when we went through a complete rebrand of our alternative invoice discounting service. So we are in a position to enlighten start-ups with our rookie point-of-view. N.B. A decent whiteboard and a crate of hoppy beverages are a must when considering branding after work hours.
Below are some points that are integral when cogitating your brand development.
- Core values and aims
A difficult problem to begin with, but the first step is to think about what your business wants to achieve, and how it wants to achieve it. If you have created a business plan already, this will help.
Think laterally. Understand your market and unique selling points, this can help inform your brand, for example if you are providing finance for small businesses: “Flexible working capital finance - on the best terms.” Once you’ve settled on what your business is and what it stands for, apply them to all areas of your work.
Obviously the logo is an integral part of your brand, it is the first stop for brand recognition and so needs to be memorable. You need to have a strong, balanced image that is distinctive and bold in design; a crisp look, no clutter. If your logo has graphic imagery it must look appropriate for your business i.e. communicates what you do and works well with your company name. The logo should work in colour or monochrome.
- Consult a professional
So you have an idea about what you want your branding to look like, but unless you’re a designer yourself you should seek help. A one-off logo design won’t cost you much at all, and even a lengthier branding discussion with an expert is a worthwhile investment. Getting your visual identity spot-on is vital. Working with a professional will allow you to keep control but also allow you to concentrate on running your business as well. Using a professional is particularly useful when producing branding for all different areas of your brand (see next point.)
- Universal brand coverage
Your branding must inform across every area of your business, it has to be consistent. From your Google adwords advert campaigns to your social media pages like Twitter and Facebook, your colour schemes, message and logo must be of the same ilk. Your company blog should keep a similar tone to your business, for example MarketInvoice has a number of blogs that comment on recent financial stories that affect SMEs as well as providing useful information for startups. So tweeting LOLCats is not really an option.
Make sure your employees are well versed in your brand’s “language”, and that you are delivering a consistent image across your entire business. Nothing can ruin a sales opportunity like an off-brand message.
- Consult your colleagues
It is always worth consulting your other work colleagues; they can give a fresh approach and opinions to what your business stands for. This is also good for team morale; including your employees in the decision making process gives them a greater investment in the business and will nurture stronger team unity.
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