One of the most important facets of running a business is establishing a brand that will evoke a strong, positive response from your customers. Branding is all about creating a unique persona for your business and distinguishing it from the many competitors that may be offering similar products and services in the market.
Branding stands at the core of your marketing and promotional endeavors. Without creating attractive brand elements, business promotion and marketing becomes much harder. On the contrary, visually appealing branding elements that resonate with your target audience allows you to get more out of your marketing and promotional efforts.
The concept of business branding has seen a dramatic evolution since the past few years. Besides the company logo itself, several other tangible branding elements can convey to your prospects and customers what your business is about.
Branding can help you to achieve various business goals. One of its most important purposes is to create a vision for your company that customers can identify with and commit themselves to. With branding, your enterprise is more than just another name in the business directory. Branding visually conveys your core values and vision to your intended audience. With your vision and core values clearly delineated, you can gain customer trust and build credibility for your business.
However, it is important to understand that successful business branding is one that clearly outlines your value proposition in order to differentiate your brand from your competitors. It helps to convey key intangible ideas about your business to customers in an engaging way. What's more, good branding can also serve as a source of inspiration and pride for your own employees so that they are motivated to work with greater dedication.
Here are the basics of business branding that you need to know about:
To get started with brand development, you will need to ask yourself some important questions. You need to know all the details about your business so that your branding can make full use of it.
Ask yourself the following questions:
● What is my business vision? Where do I see my business in the future?
● What are the key purposes of my business?
● What are the core values of my business? What are the qualities and values that I want my branding to reflect?
● What should people feel when they think about my business?
● What are the main advantages of my business over others?
● How can I differentiate my business from the main competitors?
All businesses go through such a meticulous introspection to unravel the kind of brand that they need. Once you have the answers to these questions, you will be in a position to create different elements of your brand, such as the tagline, slogan, logo, brochures, business card, explainer video, advertising and others.
One of the best things that you can do for your branding is to keep it simple. Although branding does require strategic thinking and creativity, the end product of your development effort should be a brand that is simple enough for your customers to perceive and identify with.
It may require some effort on your part to find the best design elements, tone and message for your brand. In most cases, the simpler the elements, the better it is.
Take a look at competing brands for inspiration. Try to pinpoint the elements that made their brand successful. You can then build upon these elements and adopt them for your own business. Keep an eye on the brands that are not so successful and try to figure out the aspects of their branding that failed to create an impact. You should try to avoid these mistakes and learn from them.
Besides looking at their logo, you should pay attention to other crucial aspects like product and service offering. How do they convey to their audience the advantages, features, functions and quality of their products? What does their website user experience feel like? What is the website design like? Pay attention to messaging, call-to-actions and navigation. See how they publish content like blogs, articles, videos and images. How do they engage their audience on social media channels?
Successful brands often use imagery to great effect. Striking visual elements can help them to evoke a positive response from their prospects.
Make a list of all key points in their branding technique that are working well for your competitors. You should be able to improve on these points and modify them so that they can provide optimal results for your business.
You should also explore competitors for weaknesses in their branding. For instance, they may not be conveying their messages in a straightforward way or not highlighting core values that are important for the intended audience. You can take advantage of these opportunities to create an opportunity for your own business.
Just make sure that your brand design is different if you are taking inspiration. Remember that you are using ideas from others as a starting point and not as an end in itself. It may seem like plain common sense but you should not have a brand that is too similar to others. It is surprising how often it happens. People often create very similar if not identical logos, designs and even brand names. Avoid this at all costs.
An eye-catching logo is a great way to attract the attention of your target audience towards your business. Hence, a visually appealing logo is an essential part of your marketing and promotional drive. The logo is what personifies your business, creates a positive impression in the minds of your customers and communicates the kind of product and services that you wish to provide.
While having a simple logo may be a good idea, some businesses do little more than having their name written in a particular font, such as Times New Roman. In order to catch the attention of the audience and to get ahead of the competition, you need something better.
Even if you like doing things on your own, it is better to outsource your logo design to an expert. Such an investment is worth it because the logo is the face of your business that you will display everywhere. So it pays to have the logo design done by an expert.
The slogan is what defines the way you do your business. Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan signifies an energetic can-do approach that is essential for the success of the athletes and sports enthusiasts, which the footwear brand is targeting. For this reason, Nike is doing well with a slogan that its target audience appreciates and identifies with.
The biggest companies often spend a lot of time and money in developing a slogan that fits their brand perfectly. However, often the slogan is succinct enough to register instantly with customers. It is no more than a few words long. Although major companies spend a large amount of money on creating the perfect slogan, you may not need to spend such large sums. A little bit of creativity and focus can help to find the slogan that feels just right for your brand.
You will have to strive consistently to arrive at your ideal slogan. A brainstorming session may be useful. Just write down any slogan that comes to your mind. Once you feel that you have a comprehensive list and cannot think of other more suitable slogans, review the slogans that you just created. Then, steadily narrow down your list and keep making improvements to the few slogans that remain. Ultimately, you will find the slogan that is right for your brand.
When creating a brand for your business, you may feel intimidated by the presence of big players who already have well-recognized logos, slogans and brand elements. Don’t be intimidated by the size of these corporations or their market share. These businesses often have customer service that works like an assembly line where innumerable customers are processed one after another. This service is not personalized and representatives are in a big hurry. As a small business, you can use this fact to your advantage. You should indicate clearly that all customers are important and that your brand reflects this statement through personalized customer service.
There is also a growing awareness that smaller businesses are better for the economy and society than mega corporations that actually reduce business and employment opportunities. People are increasingly supporting local businesses. You can use this fact to your advantage by portraying your brand as the local neighborhood business.
Inconsistency is one of the biggest mistakes that businesses make with regard to branding. You should settle upon one brand design and work out your logo, business card, slogan and other brand elements. Once you have decided all of these details, make sure that you consistently use them without any changes. The reason why this is necessary is that your brand builds up momentum over time as it gathers publicity, goodwill and reputation on account of your products and services. If you change the brand design, then the momentum that the previous design gathered will be lost. You are essentially starting fresh all over again with a new design. Loyal customers may get confused, may not be able to identify with your new design and may even disapprove of it since they have come to recognize your old brand very well. Hence, it pays to be consistent. Large brands almost always stick to their original branding for these very reasons.
Stick to your brand logo, color scheme and design. While two or three colors with a simple design may look appealing, any more than that may look complicated and confusing. Select the right visual design that best represents your brand and use it everywhere.
Don’t hesitate to be different. You probably know that to gain attention, you must stand out from the crowd. One way to do it is through branding that is altogether different from the rest. If you use generic branding elements that all the others are using, then it may become difficult for you to appear different and noteworthy.
Some of the biggest brands started off as small businesses but turned into international enterprises because they did things differently and made a point to impress this fact on their customers.
In fact, Apple, one of the most valuable companies in the world has a slogan that says it all “Think Different.” And it is indeed a fact that it does things differently and that its products are highly innovative. Virgin Atlantic, the well-known airline also has an eye-catching and provocative slogan: “Flying in the face of ordinary.” It is hard to imagine who will not be attracted to such a fantastic airline slogan.
Being different with your branding and business model may put you on the road to success.
The right color combination can set your brand apart from more ordinary ones. Colors evoke a range of emotions in your audience. Hence, you should select those colors that you feel best portray the qualities of your brand. Color and form is also important because a visually appealing combination of these two attributes can help to make your brand more memorable and eye-catching. Whatever color schemes and forms you choose, make sure that you apply it everywhere: in your store, on the uniform of your staff, flyers, brochures, etc.
The kind of font that you settle for can also help in making your logo memorable. With a unique font choice, you can appear different from other brands and elicit the right response from your audience. For instance, using fonts with smooth contours and curves will evoke a sense of relaxation since such gentle shapes are often to be found in nature.
There is much more to branding than what most people think. Spending on branding is the best investment that you can make for your business since it can help you to gain attention and attract a positive response from your audience. Hence, you should get in touch with experts who have experience in crafting the most iconic brand designs.