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What's in a Brand?

Congratulations, so you’re launching a new business! It’s an exciting time, filled with big hopes and dreams for a bright and successful future filled with happy customers. 

Maybe you’ve done your due diligence with legal documents and even have a name for your company. All you need now is a nifty logo to make it official. Google shows lots of options for free design tools, and your budget is limited so it’s probably best to do it yourself and call it good, right? 

Or maybe you have a friend who is an amateur designer who will be happy to help you out. They’ve never designed a logo but it can’t be that hard.

Unfortunately, this is some dangerous thinking. Creating a logo can seem like something to check off the list quickly and frankly, on the cheap. Unfortunately, there’s a downside to glossing over this important part of your brand which could damage your company in the long run. 

Think of it this way - if you were preparing to go on a first date, would you look for the cheapest clothing just to get you out the door? Do you think you’d look or feel your best? How you present yourself right from the start reflects everything about who you are, and the same goes for your business.

So what should you do to get your brand off the ground correctly? Beyond the quick and dirty logo, there are many other aspects of building a brand such as your company values, visuals, key messages or slogans, and design elements. All of these ingredients deserve attention up front as they all factor into how your company’s identity is understood - and remembered - by customers.

  1. Start by doing your homework. This means researching the potential market for your product or services and who might be competing with your business. The last thing you want to do is go out with a name or logo that isn’t going to resonate with buyers or worse yet, looks just like your competitor. Spend the time up front (ideally you’d do this with your business plan) capturing all the details and then continue to go back to this even after you’ve launched as this will need to be continually refined.

Pro tip: Look at the search results from Google to get you started by searching for businesses in your target location(s).  Depending on your industry, you can turn to your other resources like your local chamber of commerce or look on Yelp or other apps that share local business information.

  1. Identify what makes your business unique. What problem are you solving and how are you different when it comes to offering a solution? Honing in on your differentiators and then using those to drive your brand’s personality goes a long way in being authentic and understood for who you are. 

Pro tip: Take the time to figure out what makes your business unique. It takes a viewer 7-10 times seeing your brand to remember it and start to feel a connection. Repeat important messages about your business and its differentiators consistently and in creative, well-branded ways. 

  1. Paint a picture that lasts. A strong brand has staying power. Top brands like Apple, Amazon, and others that lead their categories have invested in making themselves memorable. Picking the right colors, fonts, and visuals to make your brand stand out is all part of painting that picture for your customers that they’ll remember. It's also essential to keep your visual assets up to date-and viable in the ever-changing game of search engine rankings and social media trends.

Pro tip: A visual identity is key to your brand and is one of your most important business assets. Once you've created it, you have to manage it. Maintain control of how other entities use your logo and graphics by working with a brand professional or agency that can create a branding guide and monitor how people are talking about your business. 

Creating a brand can be one of the most important steps you take in launching your business. Finding your way on your own can be a time-consuming and overwhelming process. Working with experts can give you the peace of mind that your brand will set you apart and convey exactly who you are and what you’re about.

We work with small businesses to develop their brands from the ground up - set up a consultation today.


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