Some small businesses see branding as an additional expense on top of an already tight budget. This is understandable. But designing a brand before you launch your business into the pubic space can save you a fortune in the long-term and bring customers in sooner in the short term.
Branding from the beginning gives you a format to follow which helps guide your marketing decisions and steer your business towards your ideal customers.
Don’t rely on customers to come to you. Consumers are fussy and are inclined to stay loyal to brands they already know and trust. Furthermore, you want to attract the right type of customer to you as they are more likely to appreciate what you do for them.
This is important on two very important levels; one – they are more likely to stay a loyal customer, and two – they are more likely to tell their friends about your business. Free advertising!
Small business start-ups shouldn’t worry about not attracting customers. Consumers are willing to switch brands for variety and novelty. This is just one opportunity small businesses owners have of attracting new customers.
But before you can even grab the attention of a potential customer, there has to be something about your brand they find attractive. And this is where and understanding of how branding can influence consumer decision making will help kick-start your business.
Create a brand identity
A brand is how you want people to perceive your business. The purpose of branding is to create a brand identity that not only sticks in the minds of customers, but also generates a sense of association. For example, when you think of Volvo you think, ‘safe cars.’
A brand identity is conceptualised in your logo, website, marketing material, stationery, products, services and everything else about your business.
It is therefore important to design a brand that reflects the perception you want customer to have about your brand. Designing a brand may start with a logo, but the impact of that image has a far-reaching effect long afterwards.
Bear in mind your logo will impact on other areas of your marketing. Therefore, the goal of your branding effort is for customers to recognise your company whenever they see your logo.
Designing a brand
Consumers are typically drawn to brands they like the look of. This is important for small start-up businesses as you have to capture the attention of customers until you are established.
Furthermore, people tend to favour brands that are like them. So when creating a brand, rather than deciding what type of customer you will target, create the buyer persona of your ideal customer.
Your ideal customer is someone that is most likely to like your brand. Therefore, when creating a brand, think of your company as a person and list all the personality traits that person has.
Your brand personality should be someone your ideal customer is most likely to need, trust and listen to. Your brand identity should therefore project a message that appeals to your customers on an emotional level.
Let’s say you want to be considered sophisticated. Make it known you deliver quality products to quality people. A description of your brand would be something along the lines of:
We pride ourselves on making you feel special - because we know you deserve it.
The colours, fonts and images you choose for your logo and subsequent marketing ads should also reflect your brand message. To help you decide what personality type your brand should be, take a look into colour psychology and determine what brand identity you want to project.
Developing brand identity
When you are designing a brand identity, it is important to consider look, feel and sound. The visuals come in the form of graphic design, sound comes from the brand voice and feeling comes through evoking emotions in images and written content.
To develop your brand identity, think about how your company would look, feel and sound if they were a person. This creates a brand personality – a character your ideal audience are most likely to trust and favour amongst your competitors.
Once you have developed a brand personality, it should be reflected in the visual and textual presentation of your brand. Furthermore, the designs of your brand should be fairly consistent otherwise you will struggle to establish a brand identity.
It is important to determine all the factors mentioned above from the very beginning. If you go into business without a plan for you brand, you are essentially throwing ten-dollar darts in the dark. And you will lose most of those darts.
Your brand personality will establish your online profile; web copy, blog content, social media, and all the graphic design images you use in other marketing campaigns.
Developing a brand identity is not easy when you first start branding, but it is a priority. So make sure it gets to the top of your to-do list before you start building an online presence. And if you do need guidance and advice about design choices, I’m only a click or a call away.