There is no doubt that branding can make or break a business. It is the component of the business that can make a customer really connect with your company or decide that they are best spending their money elsewhere.
With such a high pressure being placed on branding and with first impressions and appearance being detrimental to your businesses success, how do you go about generating a successful brand image?
If you get your branding wrong and need to make tweaks, it’s not so easy to adjust. Once you purchase your show equipment such as banners and canvases and invest in marketing tools such as business cards and leaflets, any tweaks can begin to cost you in time and money. While these promotional tools are more affordable these days, the hassle to redesign and reprint your marketing props takes time, time which a new business owner can’t waste.
To get your branding right first time you must prepare and really understand what your business is, what it offers, and how you want your business to be seen. Certain colors, fonts and images can be instant key indicators. For example, pink is a well known signifier for young girls or feminine products and fonts can be translated in this manner also to indicate if you offer fun quirky products, or if you are a more formal corporate company.
Where to start:
Understand your business…
Your brand must match your business and what it has to offer. If you sell children’s clothing, your branding must be soft, fun, and lively to match your business.
If your business isn’t as clear cut as this, make a brainstorm to identify some clear descriptive wording to help you establish your business. For example, if you make silver jewelry, you would list key words such as handmade, silver jewelry, gifts, unique, designer, weddings, modern, inspired by nature, rustic, textured jewelry, etc. You can then begin to attach colours and fonts to these words to suit the business as a whole.
As with everything, research is the first place to start. Look into what you think makes a successful brand and make a note of tactics used to create the brand. If you are researching websites or adverts in magazines, print out or cut out designs, logos, color schemes or general images you like. These can then be used later to help you generate ideas.
Research your competitors and industry as a whole to see what is already available as this will give you an idea of brand quality, and how you are going to stand out. The more research you do, the more understanding you will have. Soon enough, you will find the style you are after whether it is funky and quirky or formal, and you can begin to work out colour schemes and fonts to emit this message successfully.
Moods boards are a great way in which to play around with your gathered research. If you have printed out some ideas and designs you like, by laying them out in different arrangements, you can work out what looks good together, and see if certain color schemes work with certain fonts etc. You can generate as many or as little mood boards as you wish, but it can be a great way to digest your research without spending hours shuffling images around on Photoshop.
Approach graphic designers…
Graphic designers really do vary in price, if you don’t have the budget, why not approach a university to ask if they have any students willing to help? Many creative students will welcome the challenge to help them build their portfolio. You can ask for examples of their work to gain an understanding of what they can create. Many students are very capable of producing excellent graphics and are definitely worth considering.
With your research and mood boards in place, they will also have a really good idea of what you are aiming to achieve. You can ask them to produce a few ideas so you can choose what to progress with. Ask for rough drafts firstly so they do not spend time on final designs. Rough drafts will enable you to get an idea of the design, and you can then give feedback and request any changes.
Ask for opinions…
With all aspects of your business, opinions are important. When you are running your own business, it can be difficult to be objective and make decisions when you are so close. Ask friends, family, and contacts to give you feedback and make tweaks according to the advice you get. You might not agree with everything suggested, but you may gain some valuable advice.