Business tips: how to create a brand identity

Creating a strong brand is about giving your business a personality so it sticks out from the crowd. Arline Willkins gives some tips for small businesses.

A brand is about creating an identity for your business that people can relate to, like a personality. It’s important for small businesses and start ups as creating an identity will help your potential customers recognise you amongst the competition and it can build confidence in your business, encouraging a sale and continued loyalty.
Here are some tips on creating your brand:

Understand who you are

You first need to understand what your company stands for, what you are good at; quality, efficiency, innovation, etc and the message you wish to deliver to your customers. Think about other brands, Nike (sports wear/innovation), Asda (food/cheap), Thorntons (chocolate/quality) and what comes to mind when you think of them. These organisations have looked at their product, their customer, their competitors and they have created an identity that people will remember.  Although these are larger organisations this can be just as effective for small companies.

Tip one: Ask your customers what they think about your product or service, why are you different, why they like doing business with you, what they value from a supplier – this could provide you with some valuable information to help you differentiate your brand/company. You will also find out how they view your company. You may be surprised, there could be a gap between what they see and how you would like your company to be perceived. If there is a gap you will need to look at making changes to the way you do business. Your brand will be ineffective if you are telling your customers one thing but the product or service says another.
Tip Two: Keep reinforcing your message, and be consistent. The way you interact, the tone of voice, your logo and colours must deliver this message. If your message is built around efficiency, use stats and testimonials to back this up on your website and in marketing material. Even put relevant quotes, stats or testimonials under your email signature. You need to make sure everyone knows what you are about. The more you shout, the more they
will listen.

Make sure your brand lives up to the promise 

You have a clear vision about your company and how you would like your brand to be perceived. You must now ensure your brand lives up to the promise. Make sure all your staff understand brand values (communicating with staff is key – this understanding can also motivate them as they are part of something with a clear identity), make sure your product and service lives up to expectations (follow up after a sale, ask the customer if they would use you again, what you could have done differently, etc), put processes and procedures in place to support the brand promise (from complaints procedures to training staff and regularly reviewing the product or service). If you do not meet brand expectations your brand will have no value and trust will be lost between you and your customers.  

If there is any part of your business that does not allow you to meet brand expectations, this must be changed/modified.

If there is any part of your business that does not allow you to meet brand expectations, this must be changed/modified.

Helping customers recognise your brand

Logos, straplines, fonts, colours, marketing material and your website can deliver a message about your brand and trigger your audience to think about your business.

Strapline

Straplines are useful to quickly get over a message, they can be used on all marketing material, on email signatures, when using social media, etc. Here are a few examples:
               
1. Based on a benefit: Saving you money everyday (Asda)
2. Based on an experience: Have a Break, Have a Kit Kat (Kit Kat)
3. Based on core competencies: Unblocking drains fast (John Smith)

John Smith has thought about what his customer would value and what he can deliver.
We want people to remember it so keep it short.

Logo

Always use your logo on emails and on marketing material as this is your brand identity. Often people will not buy into a product or service until they have seen the brand a few times, using something visual like a logo can help build this trust.
Font

Choose your font and stick to it.  Avoid using unusual fonts for emails and on websites as many people will not have them installed on their computer which means your email/website could look different on your customers screen to how you see it.
Colours

Choose colours that reflect the brand. Certain colours provoke certain emotions or associations; purple quality, yellow summer, etc. For more information on colours visit http://www.pickbrains.com/articles/color-psychology-in-marketing

Images

Use images to bring your brand to life, www.istockphoto.com have a large range of royalty free images as low prices. Make sure the images deliver the message – for a people orientated company, use people, for technology where efficiency is key you may want to look at something a bit more abstract.
Website and marketing material

Once you have the above you can use them on your website and on marketing material. Ensure both of these deliver your message. If you are based on quality then marketing will need to reflect this. If you’re based on efficiency your site must be quick and easy to navigate around, even though the website may not be product it will attach negative associations to your brand if it’s not right. 

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Comments [3]

  • Anonymous says:

    Great article :), to establish your brand it is essential to create a consistent logo. also it would be good to make your logo design flexible. Did you notice how Google’s logo changes on its home page depending on the occasion.You never know when you would need to adapt your logo according to the situation so it would be great if you’re logo would remain recognizable despite possible alterations.

    Regards,

    Ann Daniel

    http://www.smarttouch.me

  • Anonymous says:

    Great article :), to establish your brand it is essential to create a consistent logo. also it would be good to make your logo design flexible. Did you notice how Google’s logo changes on its home page depending on the occasion.You never know when you would need to adapt your logo according to the situation so it would be great if you’re logo would remain recognizable despite possible alterations.

    Regards,

    Ann Daniel

    http://www.smarttouch.me

  • Anonymous says:

    Great article :), to establish your brand it is essential to create a consistent logo. also it would be good to make your logo design flexible. Did you notice how Google’s logo changes on its home page depending on the occasion.You never know when you would need to adapt your logo according to the situation so it would be great if you’re logo would remain recognizable despite possible alterations.

    Regards,

    Ann Daniel

    http://www.smarttouch.me


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