Does this scenario sound familiar?
You worked full time, but had a few side jobs and found there was a demand for your services. So you kept working full time until you felt you could make a go of working for yourself. You were scrambling to make things work before, and it got even busier when you became self-employed.
First you ordered business cards. And then a bit later you hired someone to design a website. You have even started a company Facebook page. But these projects were done when you could scrape a bit of time together. There was no planning, just reacting.
But plan you must if you want to create a brand identity. Creating a brand identity is one of the most important things you can do to build a thriving and successful business.
First let’s define what branding covers. You can think of it as a combination of elements including a logo, colour, motto, service and personality. It is what you are promising to your customers and how they see you. It is the distillation of how you see your business.
Getting to the essence of your company doesn’t take an enormous amount of work, but it does require some thought and reflection. It can even be fun. Taking the time to think about your business, your values and your goals can offer some clarity and remind you why you wanted to work for yourself in the first place.
You may already have the perfect brand concept, and not even know it. So follow these three steps to begin creating your best business brand.
Think about what makes you different from your competition. Maybe you provide a guarantee that nobody else in your industry does. Or perhaps your company was the first or is the only business of your kind in town. You might already be known for the service you provide – customers mention it when you hear from them. If any of these are true, you have already started defining your brand.
Refine your definition and try to write down what make your company unique in one sentence. This may take a few tries, but really cut down on any extra words and be very, very specific.
Turn this sentence into your tagline. Remember, the fewer words the better.
Logo. Do you have one? Images are integral to any branding exercise. People are visual and we easily associate companies by their image. You don’t need an explanation of Apple’s apple image, or McDonald’s golden arches – you immediately know who they are just be looking at their logo.
Designing a logo is one of those times that hiring a professional will pay off. As an entrepreneur it can be hard to delegate some of these important tasks, but you may not have the graphic design skills to try this at home. There are many design or marketing companies that offer this service, or you can hire a freelance graphic designer.
Decide on your business personality or voice. Are you helpful, reliable, authoritative or funny? You will need to have a good understanding of your customers before you decide. If your target audience is teenagers, you need to choose a voice they find appealing.
Once you decide on your company voice, be sure to inform your staff members. They may have the most direct contact with your customers, and it’s important to be consistent.
Make your personality known in all of your marketing channels, whether it’s the tone of your blog articles, social media posts or advertising.
These three steps are a great start to establishing your brand. And once you’ve created your brand all of your marketing efforts should align. This is also a great opportunity to let everyone know about your new brand on all your social media channels. So take a bit of time and get started on your business brand identity.