Starting a new business may be exciting, but, if you’re completely honest, it’s also a little overwhelming. (Or a lot!) There are so many things to organise (and worry about), from your business plan and financing to your actual product and pricing model. And you want to make sure you get everything perfect – this could be your one and only chance to get your baby off the ground!
But what about your brand identity?
Getting the right look and feel for your brand – right from the start – is crucial to a successful business. (First impressions definitely count, when it comes to getting new customers!) But too often, startups either leave their branding and marketing to the last minute, or they cut corners, leave out the professionals, and try and do it cheaply themselves.
Startups please take note – the importance of establishing a strong brand – one that is authentic, credible and original - cannot be underestimated. If your business doesn’t have a strong brand, how will you be able to stand out from your competitors, appeal to your desired target market, and be remembered?
So what is a brand?
Branding is so much more than just a logo – it is the heart and soul of your business – it’s how you represent and deliver your values, your purpose and your vision...
To get you started, think of it like your business’ personality. If it were a person, what would they be like? What would they value? What would they dislike? How would you describe them? By identifying your business’ brand, you will be able to better identify your target audience, and then communicate clearly to them exactly who you are.
And why is a strong brand important?
You’ll be remembered and recognised - Being clear about your brand will enable you to be consistent in your messages – across all types of communication, marketing and advertising. And being consistent helps your business become recognised, remembered and top of mind.
You’ll stand out from your competitors - A good brand will also help your business stand apart from your competition. By working out your unique selling proposition (USP), you can communicate what makes you different and separates you from your competitors.
You’ll create loyalty from customers - If you have a strong brand that your target market like, respect and relate to, you will create loyalty and affinity amongst your customers. And with this loyalty, you can then inspire your customers into action - purchasing a product or service, sharing your brand through social media, referring others to you through word of mouth, or recommending a product to a friend. Remember, just purchasing your products or service doesn’t always guarantee loyalty (and therefore the longevity of your business)… But getting your customers to love or admire your brand, will do.
You’ll gain alignment and consistency - One of the most important reasons to establish a strong brand identity right from the start is to create alignment and consistency, about who your company is and what it stands for, with both customers and your employees. With everyone on the same page, it’s a whole lot easier to promote your business through every interaction your market has with your business – whether it’s when a customer calls or emails; the service in your shop; the message on a TV ad or poster; and the experience of your website.
So where to from here?
If you’re starting a new business, get it right, right from the start. Talk to a professional branding expert (not just a designer) who will be thorough – remember, it’s not just about having a pretty logo – by understanding your values, your purpose, and your target market, your resulting visual identity will be a much more authentic representation of your brand.
Of course it’s never too late to re-visit your brand identity. Sometimes your logo no longer represents what your brand has become. Next blog, we’ll talk about re-branding – why you should, when you should and how you should! Stay tuned…