So, you have your business off the ground and have started to put in the work, what now?
Now it is time to start to build your brand!
In this article I’m going to cover what branding, why you need to build a brand, how to or ways in which you can build it, integrating your brand across your business and the advantages of having a recognised brand.
Now, you might think “I’m just a small business, why do I need a brand”?
Let me tell you, EVERYONE in business needs a brand. Whether that is in the form of a logo, a slogan or just the name of your business you want to have people that will recognise it.
Now when I first started online and in business, I thought nothing of building a brand. I choose my site name put it in colour and quickly moved on to get the (real) work done. It was about six or seven months before I really got to learn more about branding and what it can do to help you grow your business.
I don’t want you to wait all those months before starting your brand. Firstly, because having a brand starts to build/trigger people’s reactions, perceptions, and emotions to your business and brand. Secondly, it is much harder to sit down, find the time and get it done once your business is in full swing.
What is a Brand?
A brand is a company name, logo or slogan that evokes an emotional, functional or mental association with products, services, ethics, content or even expectations. Associations can be both positive and negative depending on consumer/client experiences. Therefore, we must always strive for excellence within our business when promoting or building our brand.
See, nowadays with the speed at which we consume information and with Social Media being a huge influencer of people everyone hears a name and thinks Logo/Brand/Slogan.
If I were to say to you “McDonald’s”, what is the first thing that pops into your head? Was it the Golden Arches sign or the Ronald McDonald clown? These are the two biggest parts of McDonald’s branding. Just like if you think of Nike, you think of the swoosh (Nike tick) or their slogan “Just Do It”. Everyone recognises these brands, even young children.
Getting your brand right from the start is an important part of your business. You want people to get to know it, be familiar with it and hopefully associate good things or quality with it.
This process can be time-consuming and may take from a few days to a few weeks. The most important thing is to get it right. Whether you choose to do this yourself or hire someone to do it for you, remember, it is one of the most important parts to starting your own business and should not be taken lightly.
Getting Your Own Brand
So, if you have your business started already you will already have a domain name or business name. This is the best place to start. Now you must get creative and spend some time brainstorming ideas. Even if you are going to employ someone else or use an online business to design something for you.
It is important to know:
· What you are looking for in a name or logo.
· What are you wanting it to convey to your customers or clients?
· What colours should it include?
· What fonts would you like to use?
· Would you like a symbol or picture relating to your niche or industry included?
· Would you abbreviate your company name to make a logo more memorable?
There are lots to think about when it comes to getting your brand right. Don’t let it put you off, let it excite you!
Go online and look at other brands in a similar niche or industry to your own.
Take a note:
· What do their logos look like?
· What do you think about when you look at them?
· Do they convey a message or strong mental image?
You can also go online and check out some online logo designers and get inspiration from there. There are sites such as www.freelogoservices.com, www.logojoy.com, and www.onlinelogomaker.com. You can use them for inspiration or for designing your own logo.
Now some of these services are free while others can charge. If you are going to pay for a logo, ensure you are entirely happy with it first and foremost, then check out which packages they offer.
Again, it pays to shop around if you are going to pay for something to ensure you are getting the best deal possible. You want a logo that can be used across your business, social media and beyond. Some sites will charge you £10 – £20 just for one file with your logo and that can mean you will be restricted on where and how you use it.
If you don’t have the funds to pay someone or a site or if you have the time to play around and do your own design this is a fun and creative thing to do. You can use sites such as www.Canva.com or even the sites mentioned above using the free software offered.
Now I love Canva as it is much more than a logo service. I myself used the Canva.com site (Canva for work) to design my logo and I also use it a lot for creating my own social media posts. It is worth checking out.
Integrating Your Brand into Your Business
Now you have a logo, of course, you are going to use it on your website, on your business social media sites and such but what else can you be doing to build your brand?
Another good way is to use the colours from your logo throughout your business. So, take a note of your colour palette. All your colours come with a code looking something like #000000. It is a good idea to keep a note of these and then you can use them throughout your site, on social media posts, on promotions you run, business letters, business cards etc.
See my Business Info Sheet here. Print a copy for yourself if you like. They are great for having all essential information about your sites on hard copy and filed.
The more you can tie in colours and logos throughout the business the easier it will become for people to recognise the brand.
Another good thing to keep in mind is if you are creating pictures or posts for social media or your website you can put your logo or brand on them. That way people sharing them will also be promoting your business and having other people start to recognise you.
If you are going to be using video within your business, you may want to have your logo at the start and end of all your videos. You may even want to play a little jingle as the logo is displayed.
Building on Your Brand
Now you have all the basics and have integrated them into where you want them you can now continue to build on your brand. Get it out there and get it seen by as many people as possible. Having a good solid brand can start to make you instantly recognisable and once people continue to see a logo or brand popping up everywhere, they will get curious and want to check it out! And hey, some of them may even just stick around and use your business, products, and services, which is what it’s all about right?
So get stuck in and create something beautiful and great that you are proud of.