When starting up a business, it’s easy to become focused on the planning, development and day-to-day running of it. As a business owner, your main focus is getting new customers through the door and retaining the ones you already have. All your budget may be spent on your products, your bills, new furniture for your interior – very often branding is often neglected by new business owners.
But why is branding so important?
You have one chance to make a first impression and the first contact anyone will have with your business is what they see. If you have a brand that’s all over the place with inconsistencies with your logo or your font – although they may seem minor – they do play a vital role. Consistency is key and here’s why…
1. Creates a visual identity for your business
Your branding should be all about who you are and what you bring to your customers. It’s all about how you present yourself – it’s no different to dressing the part for an interview; what you wear and how you style your hair that day makes an impression and it says a lot about you – the same goes for your brand.
Tailoring your brand to the industry and field your business works in will help you create a fuller picture and create an identity that is uniquely yours. This is what people will see and this is what you are about.
2. It will feed into everything that you do
Brand guidelines are so important no matter how big or small your company is. If you’re a small start up and you have no real inclination on what your brand guidelines are, you risk your materials looking a mess. This is because a lack of consistency means a reduced chance of people being able to relate materials back to your brand.
You know yourself when you look at large companies such as Apple or McDonalds; their brands are so familiar to you that you don’t even need to look at the logo to know who they are. They each have a unique style that represents them and consumers recognise them for this. Perhaps you think this doesn’t apply to you as you’re not as big as these companies, but everyone has got to start somewhere – it’s the little steps that make the big ones.
Creating brand guidelines that are unique to your business will feed into everything that you do. Once you’ve decided on a logo, a font, a colour, a theme, creating materials for your business becomes easy. All you have to do is follow your guidelines, create different templates, and once you have all these, you’re well on your way to building up a library.
3. It will give you more confidence
Ever heard the expression, “look the part “ ? It’s a very useful one. Sometimes we may not feel very confident that we can act the part, but if you look the part, you’re more likely to act like it – why? Because when you know you’re looking professional, it gives you that confidence to go ahead and be it.
The same goes for your business.
When you know you have a professional brand and your website is looking good, your flyers are looking smart, your social media is looking updated, you feel confident in your brand and your business. Having a strong brand behind you is what gives you that confident push to go out into the world and bring in new customers to your doorstep. Your brand is your armour. You know exactly what you’re talking about and what you’re offering. After all, you’re an expert and your brand reflects this. Anyone who looks at your brand sees it as professional, trustworthy and specialists in their own right.
4. Where do I start?
All that has been listed above may sound all well and good, but if you’ve never worked through this before, it may sound daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. Working with other professionals who specialise in this area can help you create a brand that reflects your messaging, aims and goals. It’s about taking all relevant information about your business and your aims and turning it into its own identity.
Whatever business you have whether that be a restaurant, hairdressers, dentist, insurance, finance – this applies to everyone.