Branding Your Business – What is a brand?
A brand is often a misunderstood entity. As Marty Neumeier states (The Brand Gap) “A brand is not a logo. A brand is not an identity. A brand is not a product.”
Aspects such as the logo, typefaces, colours and patterns can help shape a brand, but they are not the brand itself. If you are specifically looking for logo development we have the perfect article for you – What makes a great logo?
So what is it then? Marty goes on to say “a brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organisation.” It’s every interaction a real life person has with your business, what was said to them, how it was said and how that subsequently made them feel.
This feeling can be improved or destroyed by any small interaction a person has, from your email signature, to your invoice, how you answer the phone, how you respond to emails, how you chase payments, how you respond to reviews (both positive and negative), the language used in marketing material or on social media posts, your business card, stationary and your uniform, and so on.
This list is by no means complete but it gives you an idea of all the aspects that can aid or undermine your brand in your customers eyes. The main thing to remember is to stay true to your message, there is no point telling the world you are the quickest in your field if you are actually quite slow.
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Branding your business – looking at the big boys!
If you think about your favourite (or most hated) brand, you instantly get a series of ideas about the company. McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Nike and Apple are all examples of globally recognised brands and although you will recognise their logo, what you remember them for is often much less tangible but much more impactful. “I’m lovin’ it!”, “Taste the feeling”, “Just do it” and “Think different” are examples of tag lines that speak deeper to the ideology behind the brand, which people cling to. Nikes tagline is a call to action, to get off your butt and move, its aspirational! McDonalds tagline gives us a type of social proof that says people really love this product; it must be good, it’s built on positivity like many of the worlds best brand messages.
These slogans on their own would be useless and if they aren’t reinforced with a great experience then they will fall at the first hurdle, as a new business you can get ahead of your competition by shaping your own brand to suit your business and your customers.
How to start branding your business
To get started there are several exercises any new business should engage with to inform their brand.
Values – As the owner(s) of your business what are your values? Why did you get into this business in the first place?
The story – What is the story behind the brand? Every great brand has a story, the best have a positive emotional tie to them. Write out your business story, it will give you a deep insight into why you do what you do.
The mission – Create a mission statement that is focussed on your customers, what do you do that benefits their everyday life? A mission statement will help clear out all the clutter and focus your business, it doesn’t need to be complex or convoluted, e.g. Googles mission statement is “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Personality – What is your businesses personality? Are you fun or serious? Are you youthful or traditional? Are you family orientated or a bachelor? Quiet or loud? Nerdy or a jock? Make the list as exhaustive as you can.
Audience – Who are your customers? Where do they come from, what do they love? What do they connect with? When you’re branding your business you should start out with a clear target audience, they are usually people similar to the business owners but they don’t have to be. Apple are (now) a world leader and people from all kinds of backgrounds love their product; but in a world that was obsessed with price and tiny upgrades in technology, they stopped fighting with their competition on MHz and pennies, instead going for creative individuals and people who hated going with the grain.
Taking the next step to branding your business
Now you have the shell of your brand you can create a visual/verbal style that will actually convey your business in the right light. If you take this information to a professional designer they will have a great base to work from.
Remember, a logo on its own means nothing to anyone but you.
Don’t get carried away with a clever idea for a logo or brand; do the business plan first and allow your branding to be designed for the benefit of your client. Seek professional advice, use a professional graphic designer and get your branding right – don’t DIY your branding – it’s spoil your whole business!
Thinking about branding your business – Yorkshire Powerhouse
Now you’ve read our article on branding your business – have you any more questions?
Here at Yorkshire Powerhouse, we’re happy to help as much as possible – is there anything else we can do to help you, do you have any further questions or can we help introduce you to an expert – please let us know:
A great logo is like your face, it’s the first aspect many people will see when it comes to your brand, so it’s important to get it right from the start Read >