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Brand Basics – Impactful Branding For The Beginning Entrepreneur
Branding is something that can make or break a business. This article is going to break down the important aspects of branding, what important elements that you would want to include, and how to build a brand that matches your goals, vision, and personality.
Branding, when done correctly, can give people an idea of what their business does, who they are, what they stand for, and sometimes even create memories that last for a lifetime- like Coca-Cola or Allstate.
We all recognize those polar bear commercials! And who can forget Mayhem, driving like an emotional teenage girl and crashing his car?
But a brand is so much more than a logo or a mascot.
Branding is the FEELING you get from a company, entrepreneur or small business. Simply put, branding is your business’ VIBE.
So what exactly is branding?
In basic terms, branding is the overall experience or feeling you want your customers to have when they discover and interact with your company, your products, or your service.
Why is branding important?
Branding helps your clients or customers remember you! Whether you want them to remember your products or your service, clear and consistent branding will help make sure that people see YOUR logo in their brain when they need something you offer, or when a friend or family member needs something you offer.
Good branding establishes YOU as the go-to person or company in your field, and sets you apart from your competitors.
How should I create MY business branding?
Developing a strong brand for your business takes time. You also need a clear direction to go it, so that your branding is consistent.
For starters, your branding should match your niche, service or product. The style of your company or even your personal preferences can also affect branding.
For example, a 5-star hotel would want to establish their branding to match the expectations of the type of guests who would generally stay in 5-star hotels. Words like elegant, classy, or luxury should pop into the minds of people who see the logo of a 5-star hotel. Their social media posts would most likely showcase their hotel’s luxury features and/or create a sense of tranquility, relaxation, and top-notch service.
A line of organically sourced, BPA-free kid’s toys, however, would probably want their branding to create feelings of fun and playfulness, with an element that shows the brand is environmentally conscientious. Their branding would want to appeal to parents and kids.
Simply put- your branding is your business’s voice or personality.
Let’s talk for a minute about some ways to figure out exactly WHAT your business’s personality is.
To develop a strong, clear sense of branding, you want to answer these questions:
- What is your company’s mission statement and/or vision?
- Which overall ‘tone’ do you want your company to have? (Is it fun and whimsical, or high-end luxury?)
- Which type of customer/client do you want to attract? (Is your ideal customer a socialite, a soccer mom, a construction worker?)
- What features, benefits or solutions does your product(s) or service(s) provide?
- When people encounter your company, what feelings do you want them to have? (Excitement? Comfort?)
Branding should be consistent throughout your business name, logo, social media presence, advertising, etc. so simplicity is key.
Knowing the answers to these questions can help you create consistent, clear branding that works best for YOUR business.
Effective branding has so many benefits for your business!
It adds value to your business, creates a sense of professionalism and builds trust with your clients and customers.
Branding builds recognition and attracts customers.
And branding helps promote a sense of pride and value among your employees, affiliate marketers, and/or brand ambassadors if you have them.
Don’t worry if this sounds overwhelming. Branding can actually be done quite easily once you have answers to those pesky questions up above.
We’re going to REALLY dig into branding color schemes and elements in separate articles. But to get us started, there are some main things we want to establish right upfront with our branding.
Core Features Of Powerful Branding:
1- A GREAT LOGO.
Before you do anything else, you need a logo. Your logo should fit with all of the elements we discussed above (mission statement or vision, overall company voice, ideal client, features/benefits/solutions, the feeling or vibe your company creates).
2- AN EFFECTIVE TAGLINE OR SLOGAN.
You want to make sure you can convey what your company/product/service DOES or what feeling your customers/clients should FEEL, in a concise and powerful way.
A good tagline should draw customers to you, and explain your company, all in one shot. For example, L’Oreal’s tagline is, ‘Because You’re Worth It.’ It evokes feelings of luxury and self-love, perfect for a makeup brand. Dunkin’ Donuts, on the other hand, uses the slogan, ‘America runs on Dunkin.’ This evokes feelings of comfort, pride, hard work.
You want your logo and color scheme to be EVERYWHERE your company/product/service shows up. Your brand colors and logo should be on your website, on your advertising, on your work uniforms, your email signature, and wherever else you can possibly imagine. Add it to your business cards or flyers. Add it to your product packaging. Even the advertising and social media images you create should match your logo and color scheme.
Consistency helps customers and clients remember YOUR brand over anyone else’s. It sets you apart, and it helps attract customers that match your brand vibe.
But wait! Before trying to figure any of this out, make sure to jump back up and answer the questions in the bullets above. Once you have those answers, then creating a logo, tagline and brand consistency will be ten times easier.
What makes a logo stand out?
Your logo is often the first thing that pops into the mind of customers or clients when they think of your business or hear your name. That makes it a pretty important part of your business overall!
Keeping that in mind, you want your logo to have certain elements so that it can match everything we talked about above.
You want your logo to do actual WORK for you- to attract clients, to establish your voice, to create a lasting memory in people’s minds.
That being said, there are definitely specific things you want to consider when designing, developing, or updating your logo and any other related branding.
A strong and memorable logo should incorporate these elements:
Simplicity. The most important thing is to KISS- Keep It Simple, Silly! You don’t want crazy elements, overlapping icons/colors, or text that is hard to read.
Balance. A good logo has a sense of balance. If you use both text and graphics, they should compliment each other.
Scalability. It is so powerful to be able to use the text of your logo, OR the graphic, OR even just a portion of your text/graphic, and have it all look essentially the same.
For example, our logo incorporates our smart little owl graphic and the name of our business. It looks good when you use one or both, and we can use just the name or icon on our social media posts to get the same brand recognition.
This ensures that the logo will fit all of our various needs.
Originality. You don’t want a logo that is too similar to other logos out there. When you’re deciding on a potential logo, email it to yourself first. Then open the email up in a Chrome browser, right click on the photo, and choose ‘Search Google For Image.’ (If this doesn’t work, message it to a trusted friend or family member on Facebook. Click on the image to enlarge it, and then right-click to get to the ‘search google for image’ option.) Then scroll through the ‘Visually Similar Images’ to see what pops up.
You don’t want any business logos that look too close to yours, ESPECIALLY if they are in the same field as you.
Relevance. Your logo should fit your products and/or services. You probably don’t want a graphic of a ballet shoe in your logo if you are a CPA, for example. Make sure your font choice and/or graphics and icons also complement your brand.
Smart color choices. Your logo should also have colors that fit your brand. If you are a water filtration company, for instance, you might want to avoid browns and yellows in your color scheme. Blues and greens might be better choices. If your company is high-energy, you might want colors like yellow, orange, lime. If your company is peaceful (like a yoga studio), you might want calming colors.
Whew. Okay. That’s a LOT of info!
But you can take it step by step. Make improvements as you go, and let your branding evolve into your ultimate power brand!
Keep your eyes peeled for more branding tips, how-to’s, and what-not-to-do’s. This is a BIG topic, and we want you to NAIL it! (woohoo!)
Thanks for sticking with me until the end, and until next time, happy branding!