The word ‘brand’ conjures up in our mind huge goliath companies that have invested millions in creating an identity that we all see as household, but just because you are a small business doesn’t mean you shouldn’t create or become a brand.
Becoming a ‘good brand’ is about resonating within the hearts and minds of your audience, brands that have achieved this have created a powerful connection that can almost become subconscious behaviours – such as singing a tune from an advert or the catchphrase from a brand’s slogan.
Defining your brand involves (and I always say this in my blog!) good planning. Branding is about building an identity both within your company and to everyone it comes across externally. It leads to loyalty, advocacy and differentiation against your competition, plus its really good for SEO and improving your position in search results pages (SERPS), so why rush it?
First look within, who are you – what’s your personality as a company. Look at the company as if it were a person. When that person walks into a room what does it do? How does it talk? Who does it talk to? What will it be remembered for?
What are the core values of your company – what does it stand for? Define a mission statement and a set of beliefs that embody your organisation. Don’t try to be like everyone else, stand out from the crowd and be unique as a brand, be bold and create memories that resonate with your audience. Be consistent but not repetitive, no one appreciates a person that always talks about themselves, the same is true of a brand.
Whilst you are defining the values and looking inwardly at the company don’t forget to look outside of it too. Delve deep into your target audience, what are their likes and dislikes? What are their common behaviours and their purchase journey – how does your brand help them? What are your competitors offering to them and why should they choose you. Building this knowledge is so important in helping you define your place in the market and therefore your identity, so make sure to think big and look to the future, not just now.
Your brand logo or brand mark is fluid and flexible, but must be consistent – when you create it, think of other factors such as fonts, colour palettes and slight versions that can be used within different media but can ensure consistency with your brand. Does your brand have a slogan or strapline? Consider the type of images your brand uses on social media or on its website too. You will probably want to outsource this area to get it right, so it’s important to get someone who has experience to create something long term for you. A lot of businesses try to cram too much in and forget the best brand logos are the most simple and clear – look at Coca Cola which has barely changed its brand in over 127 years!
Don’t forget to think about how your brand speaks – what’s its tone of voice? Are there any words that your brand wouldn’t use, start listing these out. Also, don’t be too obvious or vague in your copywriting, use your insights into your target audience and competition to bring out the clear messages and benefits of your brand.
Once you have all of this wealth of information put together some brand guidelines, start with your mission statement, goals and values as a brand. Then layout the logo variations, colours and typeface, image guidelines and tone of voice. Keep this document to hand to consult regularly, particularly as you grow and may outsource areas of your business or hire new employees as this will help shape your business.
Now go ahead and create a world-dominating brand!