In business, reputation, image and impression are nine tenths of the law. How your brand or company is seen and thought of makes all the difference when it comes to making your organisation a successful one.
For new starters, the idea of building a brand may initially seem daunting. What with everything else that goes into starting a business, it’s tempting to think of branding as something that can be dealt with later. It can, however, be simple and straightforward to do and the earlier you establish the basic elements, the better. Ditto if you’re thinking of changing, updating or refreshing your image.
For new businesses, the first step is to come up with a memorable name. This is often one of the trickiest hurdles to overcome due to the number of names already in operation and the fact that the wrong choice can have disastrous consequences and see you fail before you’ve even really got started. Ideally, you want to pick a name that encapsulates the ethos of your brand and one that the company can grow and expand with, as it’s likely the direction of your business will subtly change over time.
To go alongside the name, you need an effective tagline or slogan. Seven or eight words speaking explicitly about the benefits of your company can be an invaluable marketing tool.
Once you’ve mastered the words, it’s time to think about their appearance. When it comes to a colour scheme, it’s best to keep things simple and go for two shades that are used consistently throughout your company. Everything – letterheads,
, logos and posters – should be designed with the colour scheme in mind.
Next comes your choice of font. The typeface used can say a lot about your business. It can reveal whether or not your organisation is formal, casual, high-tech or child-like. Selecting a font may seem relatively unimportant, however, it needs the same level of thought you would put into designing
. Think about the personality you would like to convey to potential customers and find a font that gets that message across.
So, the text, colours and style have been chosen, the customer’s interest has been piqued. You now need to think about how you are going to follow that up and keep their attention. This is best done with the creation of a big brand promise. Simplicity and efficiency are the keys here. Essentially, you need to make the following things abundantly clear:
1. Your company name
2. What your business offers
3. What makes it unique (your USP)
4. How customers benefit from what you offer
Again, once this has been established, plaster it everywhere. On the web, on print marketing, in proposals and while networking, make sure it’s clear for everyone to see and here what you’re offering and why you’re the best in your field.
To make your branding as effective as possible, each of the above elements need to be used consistently. You can ensure this is done with the creation of a style guide. This can be as simple as a basic document with the name, tagline, brand promise, colours and fonts for you and your employees to refer to.
Once you have your reputation, it’s vital that you keep it. It is far easier to lose a reputation than to earn one. Little touches, such as making sure you are never short of stationery or supplies, will keep your company efficient.
It’s also vitally important that you keep on top of spending and ensure every member of staff is consistently ‘on message’. And, of course, everything, from the biggest poster to the smallest labels
, should fit the image.