When you are starting a business, or revamping a business, what is one of the first things to come to mind? Good branding. But branding isn’t just a logo- it is a visual representation of the story you are telling customers about your company. So what is your story? Do you feel like you have a good, simple concept, or are you trying to cram too many details into the story?
People want to put trust in the companies and businesses they spend money with.
You can build that trust initially with branding-be clear, be concise, be transparent. A long-winded or vague idea about what you do creates the impression that you are unclear about what you do, and the audience will be unsure of it too- not the best way to start out a relationship with potential customers!
Vision, mission, and values are often linked together in business, because one leads to the other. If you have a clear vision of your company and what you do, the mission, your purpose, will be much more easily defined to your customers. Your purpose is then shaped by what values you hold. When your values align with your audience’s values, this facilitates an attitude of trustworthiness.
So what goes into creating effective branding?
Creating a logo that signifies your brand is just one step. Ideally, your logo will be simple, easily recognizable, and unique to your business. For example, the AT&T logo, originally of Southwestern Bell, is a sphere surrounded by blue lines. It is effective because it is simple, yet implies a connection around the world- the mission is stated visually- their goal is to provide world wide connection.
So what else should you consider when working on branding?
Another aspect related but not restricted to your logo is your color palette. Deciding on a color palette to represent your business is also important. Everyone knows who has golden arches! So how do you decide?
Look for clues in your vision of your business, and what you are selling. Bold colors impart strength, athleticism, or a serious and straightforward attitude -think of the Adidas logo, or those of most banks: strong lines, and strong color scheme. Pastels might impart softness, care, or nurturing-many laundry softener brands, mother and baby products, or operations like nursing homes use these palettes. Experiment with your color palette and see if it can help you match the subconscious message you are trying to convey.
Extend this color scheme from your logo to your website, and beyond! Look at how this will work to create a sense of consistency for your customers, when your palette is a part of your physical signage, your business cards or brochures, even product packaging. You are establishing a dependable and homogenous message to your customers and potential customers.
But how do you get your brand noticed?
So you’ve found your vision, your mission, and your values, and you are providing a service or product that you are excited about. But how do you get other people excited? How do you take your business to the forefront?
Initially, you will have to rely on the aesthetic of your branding to draw people in, so that you can tell your story. You need to differentiate your business from others. Using the services of a web designer at this stage can really help your business shine! There are so many avenues to explore: from the font styles and sizing to the textures and shapes in the background that can subtly (or overtly!) send a certain message to potential customers.
Additionally, you can work together with a web designer to develop and include the imagery you want people to associate with your brand-this all helps to tell the story of your business and build the concept of your company in your audience’s mind. A well designed look that fits your vision, mission, and values goes a long way.
What else needs to be considered in branding to make it effective?
Another integral part of branding to consider is your tagline. We all recognize Nike’s “Just Do It”, and M&M’s “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand”, or Bounty’s “Quicker Picker Upper”. A really effective brand appeals to the emotions of their target audience, so what are you trying to say, and who is your audience? How do you show them who you are and what you do?
The tag line works with your logo, color choice, and other design aspects to tell your business’ story in just a few seconds. You want to communicate as clearly as possible with your audience, not only with the goal of telling your brand’s story, but because this communication establishes trust in your brand.
So how do you pull it all together?
Finding the right graphic designer can be one of the most important parts of the process in helping develop the cohesion you need for a successful brand. When you are looking for expertise in the minute details of creating or revamping your website to reflect your brand, their skills can be the pivotal point on your roadmap to successful branding. They can help you find ways to make your site more user friendly and intuitively operational, a key step in the customer experience.
Cohesion in your branding and in your customers’ experiences with buying your product creates consistency, and consistency will be key in gaining loyalty from your customers. Knowing from the very start of their experience what to expect from your business, and seeing that expectation fulfilled is what really grows a strong brand.