Starting a business is such an exciting endeavor. Following your passions and making a living doing it is a dream come true for many people. You’ve got your business name picked out and a product or service ready to present to the world. You have some idea of how you will market your business, but how are people going to remember you?
How are people going to distinguish your company from others that are also vying for their business?
The answer? Your brand.
Your brand is the image your business presents to the world. It’s an aesthetic that remains in the customer’s mind even when they aren’t physically engaged with your product, service, or salespeople.
Here are 5 steps to get you on your way creating a brand that customers will recognize and remember!
A brand is all about how your customers perceive your business. When they think about doing business with you, what comes to mind? How do they feel? With proper branding, you can actually influence those thoughts.
Answer questions like:
What is the purpose of my business?
Who does my business serve?
Why do people choose my brand?
How do I want my customers to feel when they work with me?
What are my brand’s defining features?
What are the problems that your customers face?
You might have answered some of these questions when developing your business plan, but it’s always a great idea to get a better understanding of what is at the core of your business. Get specific with each question, and really dig into what makes up the personality of your brand.
2. Find the key features of your brand.
Once you’ve gotten all those pages of ideas and concepts for your brand, it’s time to break it back down. Take a look at the big picture you’ve just created, and try to identify some common factors. When we were trying to decide what Aniko Marketing Solutions would look like, we answered so many questions like the ones listed above, and what it all came back to was that we wanted to help small businesses grow and to find their place within their communities. Growth and community is what it always came back to. Use your brainstorm session to determine your key features.
3. Turn those features into physical attributes.
Once you have all the abstract ideas about your brand in place, it’s time to turn those ideas into actual elements that your customers will remember. Humans are visual learners. They won’t remember your brand just by words. It takes a strong image to make them remember.
Think about the colors and symbols that can convey these ideas. If you want to look professional rather than spontaneous, you might consider using straight lines and sharp edges in your brand presentation. If you want to come across as a brand made for adventurous people, earthy greens and blues might be a good choice for colors.
4. Start setting standards.
While you will certainly add more details to your brand as it evolves, it’s good to start with a base set of standards. Typically this consists of a logo, a color palette, and typography guidelines. While it’s a good idea to have a professional marketing or design firm touch these items up later, it’s a good idea to get these items down on paper first so you know what you’re working with.
You can sketch out your logo by hand based on the attributes you decided on in step three or use a digital tool such as Adobe Illustrator or Canva (which is free!). Use coolors.com to play around with different color schemes, and get the precise hex codes you need. As far as typography goes, choose a typeface that represents your key features and coordinates with your logo. Make sure it is easy to read.
Once you have these basic standards in place, take them to your marketing agency or graphic designer and let them add a little polish to the brand to really make things look nice.
5. Live by your brand.
Standards don’t work unless you stick to them. Once you have your standards in place, you must follow them! Inconsistent usage of brand elements can absolutely wreck recognition, and it just looks plain unprofessional. Implement brand standards across your entire marketing system, and make sure that anyone who is going to be designing or creating pieces to go out into the public on behalf of your brand knows how these standards work.
Watching a new brand come together is an exciting process, but it takes a lot of thought and strong attention to detail. If you put in the proper effort, though, you’ll have a recognizable brand in no time!