Branding Basics for Small Business Part 2
- So you’ve decided it’s time to rebrand your business! Or are you almost ready to launch- but you aren’t confident in that name and logo you chose way back when this business plan began? You know how important “brand” is to your business- but you’re overwhelmed- where do you begin?
Fear not! Here are 4 factors you must consider in creating your brand:
1) Start with the basics.
- Can potential customers gain some idea of what your business or product actually IS just by encountering elements of your brand (seeing the logo, hearing the name, reading the tagline)? Small businesses can’t risk using random made-up words or images that don’t relate to the business itself. Large companies sometimes carry this off successfully because they have large marketing budgets that can support the new brand with promotional campaigns that fill in the gaps. This does not mean you have to be boringly descriptive. But your brand should immediately help your customers understand WHY you are relevant to them.
2) Survey the competition.
- I call this getting familiar with the “brandscape.” What is the brand language in your industry? Are most of the logos formal and traditional? Loud and colourful? Professional but uninspired? Most likely a great deal of what is out there is dated and uses similar styles, colours and imagery. Good news! It won’t be that hard to stand out! But don’t just do “the opposite” of what your competitors have done in terms of representing themselves. “Standing out” cannot be your only goal. Your goal is to create a brand that makes perfect sense in your industry (see #1) but reflects your unique positioning– reflects why you are BETTER. What standards must you keep and what brandscape rules can you break?
3) Who are you really?
- Your brand is shorthand for your entire business. We first judge people by their faces (smiling? open? hostile?) – we first judge companies by their brand. What should the face of your business communicate to the world? Make a list of the qualities that you want people to immediately associate with your organization. Friendly? Professional? Natural? Zero in on the top 3-4 personality traits. How can you express this personality in your brand?
4) Substance is style, and style is substance.
- The core ideas your brand is trying to communicate- those carefully chosen words and images- may be completely overlooked if your style doesn’t hit the mark. Style is conveyed instantly, and style has meaning: consumers understand style as either relating to them, or not. Knowing the demographics of your target market here is key of course- speak the same style language as your customers and they will recognize that this is something meant for them, and take a closer look.
- So to review: your brand should 1) refer to the product you make or the industry you are in, 2) but also position you as unique, 3) while reflecting the qualities you want associated with your brand 4) in the style language your customers will relate too. Cover these 4 points and your brand will be differentiated to advantage, even in this brand- flooded world!
“Branding Basics for Small Business: Part 3- The Building Blocks of Brand” coming soon.
Find me on Facebook at Erica Jane Consulting, or follow me on Twitter @erica_ericajane. Happy to help!