New entrepreneurs often make the mistake of thinking that business branding is just having nice logo and website design for their business. But it is so much more.
Your business brand represents who you are, what you stand for and sets your customer’s expectation. It shines a spotlight on your business and shows how you are different from your competitors. Your brand message should be present at every point in your business that the customer touches, from your logo and website, promotional material to the way you interact with your customer.
Think of your business brand as your theme for your business. For instance if you are an eco-conscious business make sure you use eco-friendly packaging for your products and promotional material, and highlight how you are ec0-friendly in your branding message.
Defining your brand
What impression do you want customers to have about your product or service? Do you want them to see it as something young and fun, high-end and exclusive, or serious and corporate?
Your brand should make an emotional connection with your target market, something that they see in themselves. To do this you have to understand who your target market is and what their tastes and preferences are. The only way to understand this is to do solid customer research.
Sources of inspiration
Once you have researched what appeals to your customers, you need to look at what your business provides and how. As well as how your business differs from your competitors. Three key inputs are your business vision statement, your mission statement and your value proposition.
Your business vision statement
Your vision statement states what you want to achieve with your product or service, and what your aspirations are. It reflects your long term goals and objectives. This is an inspirational statement of your business’s destination.
Your business mission statement
Your mission statement states the how, why and for whom of your vision statement. It clearly defines the quantifiable goals for your business.
Your value proposition
Your value proposition is a statement of the tangible results and benefits a customer can expect to receive from using your products or services.
Putting it all together
Using all the information that you have gather, brainstorm the type of image you want to promote which will reflect the personality of your business. Write down the key words for instance: youthful, fun, eco-friendly, reliable etc. – whatever resonates with you. Whittle the list down to about 5 to 7 main attributes.
By the time you have done this, you should have a clear idea of what your business brand personality and you can start putting together your business branding strategy.
Defining your branding strategy
Your branding strategy has 3 key objectives:
It states what message your brand will promote
Based on your brand definition, write down the key messages you want to send to your customers. Remember that your messages will be used in your marketing and sales approaches and should be tailored for your different customer segments.
It states how you will promote your brand messages
This is how you will put your brand messages in front of your customers. For instance your logo, your website and promotional materials. It can also include your packaging, store designs and your staff uniforms.
It states who your brand messages are for
This is the definition of the type of customer you want to appeal to, not just your customer segments. In other words who are your customers: eco-conscious, young, fun-loving, high class?
Business Branding Design
When you are ready and have a clear understanding of your brand image, you can start designing your brand logo, website and other promotional items. If possible consult with a professional graphic designer, or branding specialist who can create your brand logo, images or website for you. This will help ensure that your business has a more professional look.
Branding design can be a fine art as certain colours and styles, and language used, affect the perception people have of your brand. To get it right you need to ensure that the design accurately reflects the image you want to portray. So before you spend loads of money on creating promotional material using your chosen design, test the design out on a select few and get their feedback on what their perceptions are of your brand.