You have a business idea or a business that you've started already and now you're thinking about presenting yourself as a brand. As a professional business. What do you do?
Here are the first 5 of the 10 steps to consider when you want your business to become a brand…
1. You don't need a logo right away!
As long as you have a name, this is a great place to start!
It can be any name, even your own name! You can create a brand, a website and an online social media presence as long as you start with a name. You can type it up on a Word doc or on Canva, export that as a .jpg or .png (for transparent backgrounds) and this can be your placeholder ‘logo’ until you’re ready to invest in branding your business.
Things to consider are:
Don’t make it too fancy or complicated, simple is best – choose a Sans-Serif font (like Helvetica Neue or Tahoma) to represent modern, casual, honest and unfussy – or a Serif font (like Georgia or Times New Roman) for a brand that is more serious, professional, mature
Use your primary colour for your logo, this will start injecting a little bit of personality into your brand from the get-go. Colour is mentioned later in this guide
When you’re ready to invest in a deeper branding exercise I’ll be here and we can really delve into your brand in detail.
2. Consistency is key
This is the most important part of any brand – showing up consistently (regularly) but also in the same way (look-and-feel).
It’s what creates rapport with your potential clients based on a platform of trust. It doesn’t confuse your audience, it helps them to navigate across to all of your customer-facing touchpoints online (social media as well as your website when its up and running) and provides a sense of comfort and assurance. It keeps everything tidy and uncluttered and,
for something that has such a large impact, is one of the easiest things to do:
Make sure you have the same profile image of yourself on every personal platform
If it’s a business page, you can use an element of your logo or an icon or even your logo (tip: if your logo is long, a stacked version would be suitable for this instance)
Use your logo with a relevant background image in your social media page banner
Try and choose a standard positioning for your logo on all literature
perhaps it’s always at the top-centre position
maybe you prefer it to live at the bottom-right-hand-side of the footer?
There’s some flexibility here but remember: consistency is key!
Don’t deviate from your colour palette, you may introduce a secondary colour palette to add a little more interest but stick
to a minimum colour palette:
1 primary colour with 2 supporting colours (this is your main/primary colour palette)
then a further 3 or 4 colours in your secondary colour palette to dip in and out of
3. Define what’s important to you – your brand personality
‘People buy from people’ and people can be loyal and refer business to people they ‘know, like and trust’.
They can’t know you if you don’t express your personality which means they can’t get to like and trust you. The best way to ensure that your business represents a set of core values or personality traits is to write them down. Ordinarily, as the person behind the brand, YOUR personality traits are in the forefront because you are your business.
Jot down the personalty traits you want to bring to the forefront, it’s easy, just list a bunch of adjectives that describe the best version of yourself and also add some aspirational traits too, we’re always striving to do and be better.
Here’s some categories to get you started:
this is who you can’t avoid being, no matter what. It’s part of your DNA
perhaps you’re quirky and love making others happy or laugh
maybe you’re rebellious and fight for causes you believe in
perhaps you’re a people-pleaser and can’t help but nurture those around you
how would you like to engage directly with your clients?
friendly, casual (like a close friend), helpful?
serious, professional, reliable
look at the brands you buy or admire and consider why that is. It could give you a clue to your own brand personality and you can see how your brand compares
do you want to be rebellious but exceptional quality, like Urban Decay Cosmetics?
do you want to be inclusive, frivolous and fun, like Coca Cola?
maybe you love the bold foolishness but exclusivity of Vivienne Westwood?
a basic set of cost/quality positioning measurements:
bargain / cheap
affordable / value
expensive / luxurious
This exercise often helps you clarify your price range because you tend to look closer at your offerings and how you want your brand to be perceived by your ideal client.
4. Pick a colour that represents your clients core values
Once you’ve identified your brand personality, you need to select a colour that works to accentuate these and not fight against them – this sets the tone of your visual identity.
A great tool for looking into colour meanings is: canva.com
You can also type into google: ‘colour psychology [blue]’ or whatever colour you’re thinking of to see if it makes sense to the brand. A fun, frivolous brand won’t use a serious colour like navy blue, for example, they’ll most likely select pink, yellow or orange as their main colour.
When you hire a graphic designer to create a brand identity for you this exercise is done with you as well as the brand personality definition. At Mystery Hare Ltd, I’ve come up with a strategy that takes you through all of these exercises. We create you a robust brand and communicate it all with you along the way so that you’re educated and can stand by your brand with confidence and courage. I’ve seen how these exercises improve a business owners confidence, self-belief and even raise, or double their prices! Branding is a powerful beast!
5. Keep it simple
Stick to one, very strong font for your placeholder logo, perhaps introduce a second font – but only if you need to display a tagline or accentuate a feeling on a second word – and keep your colour palette small.
It’s tempting and exciting to get ‘creative’ with this and add all sorts of decorative display fonts and keep adding colours because you’re feeling frisky on a certain day but this only works to confuse your audience and water down the power of your brand.
Keep your website organised and tidy and, for all customer-facing visual communications, keep it simple. Some questions to help you when you’re having to do the design work yourself is:
what does the reader want to know?
how does my service transform their lives? What benefit am I providing?
how do they get hold of me to continue the ‘conversation’
supply a few options so they contact you in a way THEY’RE most comfortable with
what’s the user-experience like? Imagine being the user of your website, is it enjoyable and intuitive?
does your website make it easy and clear for the user to navigate and find the information they’re most interested in?
if there are too many pages to click through they’ll get bored, confused and give up
is the information organised in a way that’s intuitive? If it’s too complicated and disorganised, you’ll lose their attention
If your pricing is simple, display it!
If pictures and content are old, delete or update it!
If you're ready to discuss your brand in more detail why not send me an email? I'd love to chat about your options.