In its simplest iterations, branding is simply the visual design of a product or service and its related marketing materials. In more complex, successful businesses, the brand represents the impactful story behind a business that so crucially enabled it to grow and succeed. Branding is a creative endeavour and it should form a significant portion of your business strategy. But what do you need before you brand your business? I’m here to walk you through the five things you need to do before you embark on your unique branding journey!
Find Your Name
It would be understandably difficult to brand without an established name for your business! It’s also important to recognize that your business name is only one small dimension of the overall branding process, but it is important, and it does need to precede it.
When planning your business name, be sure to try and answer the following questions to challenge yourself along the way:
- What is it about this name that resonates with you? Does it accurately describe or represent your product or service?
- “Am I allowed to use this name?” Is this name available to use in the applicable business registries? Is the name trademarked elsewhere, limiting the ability for you to use it?
The name of your business should be concise, simple and straightforward.
Articulate Your Story
The vast majority of businesses with lasting legacies have a story that resonates with others. These stories can be inspired by the reason why someone started the business in the first place, anchoring the business with meaning. It could also be the story of a business’s journey from shaky to stable, in a way that demonstrates resilience and adaptability.
A great brand story is not manufactured… it is curated!
Be sure to prepare your story ahead of branding time to increase the chances of branding yourself appropriately. These are some questions to ask yourself when curating your business’s story:
- How does the story of your business coincide with its name?
- Is my story unique, especially when considering the market you plan to enter? Have you cross-referenced your name with those of your direct competitors?
- Does your name have the ability to resonate with your future customers? Is it relatable?
It’s important to talk to others about your business story! You need an objective point of view because your story is always going to feel unique to you. Use the verification of someone you trust to help guide the final story you will dedicate to the business. This story will evolve over time, but it’s important to establish this deeper meaning right from the outset.
Identify Target Audiences
The fundamental point of identifying target audiences prior to branding your business ensures you know exactly who your brand is going to be presented to for consideration.
Can you imagine if McDonald’s would have branded itself in a similar way as a fine restaurant, without realizing that fine diners weren’t even their target market in the first place? Madness!
You need to know who your product or service is best suited to, and who is most likely to buy. The identification of target audiences provides a necessary ‘jumping off’ point for your forthcoming branding process. Here are some additional questions to ask when trying to identify your target audiences:
- Which demographics of people are most likely to purchase from you?
- What are some common behaviours of the above demographics that you’ve pinpointed? This can relate to purchasing or social behaviour, for example.
- What do you want your customers to feel when they see your logo or hear your name?
Establish Your Distinctive Voice & Tone
Once you’ve zeroed in on your target audiences, the next important step prior to branding your business is to formulate the ‘voice and tone’ used for marketing purposes.
The ‘voice and tone’ is your pre-established guide for effectively marketing to your audiences, whether it be in the form of paid ads or social media posts. With appropriate voice and tone, you can drive awareness and consideration for your products because your messaging is consistent with the goals, desires and habits of that particular demographic. With inappropriate voice and tone, you will notice that your marketing falls on deaf ears and doesn’t drive consideration for what you offer.
When formulating your voice and tone, consider the following questions:
- If your brand was a person, how should they talk to your ideal customers? How would they feel about or react to your chosen messaging?
- Does your business cater to an audience that uses slang? Are they polite? How might they dress?
- What type of person would you like representing your brand in the community?
Speak to your audience with confidence and assurance, and the sales will follow!
We all have those colours that have drawn us in from the very beginning. Our favourite colours may be representative of our eye colour, or our birthstones, for example.
It is true though that colours have a psychological component. Everyone will react to the same colour slightly differently. To make matters more complex, those inclinations may even be subconscious! Colour is much more than mere shades of light. They represent the facets of life that bring us joy or pain. They represent emotions and feelings. Colour is woven into the fabric of the very bedrock of our society in so many ways!
For our purposes, the most important thing to realize is that the colour used in your branding should not be your favourite colour. It can be, of course. But only if that colour is consistent with your name, story and target audiences. Here are some things to consider with regards to the colour of your branding:
- What feelings are you trying to rouse from your target audiences, and what colours are consistent with those feelings?
- What are the different colours commonly used in my industry? (ie. the colour red in the construction industry has a far different inferred meaning than red in the food industry)
- What are some colours you feel should be avoided at all costs, with consideration to the questions above?
Colours are important to your brand, so don’t forget about this crucial final step!
Branding is the visual solidification of the story you yearn to tell your customers and clients. It is a gratifying process because it brings all those ideas to life in a cohesive and effective fashion! With the right beforehand steps and a thorough understanding of some key elements of the design process, you will be well on your way to a stunning brand.
Here at Sproing, we’re equipped with a design team that works in close collaboration with you to ensure the design process is cohesive with your overall business strategy. If this sounds like a service that would benefit you, feel free to get in touch! We’re always happy to help.