So you’ve come up with your business idea, location, and products. Think you’re done? Not even close! Have you started thinking about building your brand? What you want to be seen as? Your logo, name, mission, and tagline?
Yes, having a business plan is imperative to your success, but a good consistent brand is just as–if not even more–essential. A carefully crafted brand image is the foundation on which all other marketing efforts are built. A poorly executed or ill-fitting brand can sabotage an otherwise excellent product or campaign, simply because it fails to resonate with the target audience.
Here are four steps that are essential to building your brand.
Step 1: Write a mission statement that includes your values. What is the mission of your company? What are you looking to achieve? Is your company built around stoicism, tradition, and a strong family history? Or is it about speed, cutting-edge technology, and flexibility? Are your values conservative and refined, or looser and free? You need to tell people why they need you and what you can do for them.
Step 2: Come up with a name, logo, and colors. The name of your company does not always have to explain exactly what you do, but it is the first thing that people will hear or see. Your logo needs to be something that is simple, eye-catching, and memorable. It is usually the first thing people think of when thinking of your company. Are there any visuals that carry a particularly strong positive (or not so positive) connotation in your industry? It is also good to come up with no more than three key colors to represent your brand. These colors should be represented in your logo as well as in any other branding you plan to do.
Step 3: What is your tagline? Your name doesn’t have to explain exactly what you do, but your tagline needs to give people a basic idea of what they are getting. Keep it short, sweet, and simple.
Step 4: Stay consistent! When implementing all of these things, consistency is key[link to brand consistency blog]. To have a successful brand, you need to make sure that people are always getting the same message from you, no matter if they are in your store, looking through your brochure, or browsing your website!
While it is certainly true that business owners have a unique knowledge of their enterprise, sometimes these owners will unintentionally (or purposely, for that matter) drive the design of their brand in a direction that dilutes the power of the original concepts. If the logo is a complete redesign of a pre-existing brand, they might grow fearful of change and force the design to incorporate too many legacy elements. Or, they might be indecisive–instead of settling on a single concept, they struggle to combine three or four into a single logo that ultimately fails to communicate with their audience. Don’t let that happen to you.