“Once everything is up and running, I’ll start investing in my brand.” Does this sound about right? Unfortunately, it’s the wrong way to go about it and while you might think you’re saving time now, building a brand later down the track will only become a consistent pain point.
Building a brand identity for your business is more than just a logo, colour palette and marketing materials. An effective brand identity combines the key elements of how your business looks, feels, and communicates to the customers.
These key elements can either positively or negatively influence your customer experience, which can affect your credibility and how your target audience can view your business. This is why it’s important to ensure all elements creating your brand identity are established.
Trying to figure out where to even start with your brand identity can be overwhelming, but it’s important to set realistic goals and to accept that your brand can’t be developed overnight. An effective brand identity will require a lot of time; however, we have included the below steps to help get you started.
1. Research your target audience… Then research some more.
If you don’t understand your customers, how can your business effectively communicate and resonate with them? Take the time to truly understand your audience and target segmentation. Develop buyer personas for each segment including their hobbies, values, likes and dislikes.
Once you have a thorough understanding of your customer base, the research doesn’t stop there. Next, you need to move on to competitive research. How is your competition promoting themselves? How are they positioned using different brand assets including graphics, themes, and personality?
Lastly, don’t forget to interview your employees or, if you haven’t reached that stage of growth yet, interview friends and family to gain an outside perspective on what they would like to see within your business and how it should be represented to your target audience.
2. Get your creative juices flowing! It’s time for assets.
Let the fun part begin with translating your research into visuals. If designing isn’t your forte, don’t panic. There’s plenty of agencies or independent consultants you can outsource to, or you can use basic tools such as Canva to design something basic from existing templates. Some brand assets essential for any business toolkit includes:
- Logos: Coloured, B&W and transparent background versions of your logo are important as these can be used on a variety of platforms.
- Colour palettes: What colours resemble your product/service? What feeling do you want to convey to the customer?
- Typography: What text font and/or design is most suited to your brand? How does this affect positioning with your customers? To put it simply, you wouldn’t come across a law firm with the font ‘Curlz MT’ or ‘Comic Sans’ all over their website and marketing collateral – these would be more suited to brands who are fun, quirky and targeted towards a younger market.
- Photography and graphics: Essential for marketing collateral and campaigns.
- Style Guide: Another essential item for your brand asset toolkit, especially when utilising external companies to promote your brand. This explains the appropriate use of logo usage, tone of voice and which colours and fonts are allowed.
3. Define your message.
If your customers are left confused and must interpret your message, your brand isn’t strong enough yet. Defining your message cements your identity and creates a story.
The objective of any good brand message should always relate back to your customers and define why it exists. If you’re stuck defining your message, ask yourself the below questions:
What does your brand believe in and how will this be delivered?
What pain points for the consumer does your product and/or service alleviate?
How does your business solve the customers problems?
Why should the consumer choose your business to alleviate those pain points?
What is your business goal?
Branding for any business is essential and requires a sufficient investment to ensure it is developed properly and provides the necessary clarity to your target market. Remember, great branding takes time and once this has been achieved, your brand will be remembered by your customers. Deliver on their needs while communicating your story and your customers will love you for it.