Your brand is a link to your personality, and a promise of what people can expect from you. For a company, this is a crucial part of how customers, suppliers, and competitors will view you.
If your brand isn’t distinct and true to your business, it will be hard to get people on board with what you have to sell.
For startups, this is something that’s often overlooked until much further down the line—too far down the line for many.
In the early stages, a lot of attention is put on the actual product or service, and perfecting your offering. This is crucial to get right, however, it isn’t the only thing that needs to be right before you launch.
Having your brand in placegives you something that makes your company special. Think of it like the glue that turns your idea into a cohesive unit by doing the following:
Your company needs to have an identity. This is how you speak to your customers, suppliers, and investors.
A brand instantly tells people what your company stands for. Is it youthful, full of energy, and ready to have fun? Is it sophisticated, elegant, and offering luxury to the exclusive few?
Your identity sets the tone and gives you direction.
Your brand identity will inform how you market your business. If you’re a funky, young company that sells to funky, young people, your marketing will reflect this nature. You’ll use the appropriate social media channels and the same language style and tone as your target market.
This identity will clarify who your company is, who it’s speaking to, and how it should be speaking to them.
Having a proper brand identity helps people to recognize your company instantly.
Your logo, the colors you use, and the tagline can all become part of a person’s everyday life, making them feel linked to your company in a way that keeps them coming back for more.
If you can create a personality through your identity, you can connect to customers in a real, lasting way.
Kleenex, Band-Aid, Xerox, and Hoover are all examples of top brands that havecreated a personality and image that’s synonymous with what they sell.
It’s reached the point where people ask for a Kleenex rather than asking for a tissue or talk about hovering rather than vacuuming.
The brand has become the product and vice versa.
Your brand identity needs to be original and must resonate with your company, and your target market. This means that you need to do a fair amount of research and planning before you start putting it together.
Look at your competitors to make sure you aren’t going to be too similar to what they’re doing. Then look at your customers and see what they’re responding to.
A brand identity isn’t just about creating a logo and coming up with a company name and slogan. There needs to be an emotional connection, a reason for the way you write the name, and how you use the colors. It should also grab the attention of your target market, so you want to make it different from what’s already out there.
The idea is to create an identity that’s easily recognizable as belonging to your company.
Take some time to look into the meaning behind symbols that speak to you, and the colors you feel represent your company. They all have a history, a story to tell, and an emotion they evoke. These can all be incredibly important in building a personality for your company that resonates with those you’re trying to attract.
Once you’ve done your research, it’s critical to create what marketers call a Corporate Identity (CI).
This is thedocument that tells you what your brand looks like, and how to use all the various colors, lettering, logo and design elements.
Your CI will become your bible when creating marketing material, and any documents or contact points that represent your business.
In it, you want to include the exact font or fonts you use for the company logo and slogan, as well as the fonts and font sizes for typed documents. This forms the blueprint for everything from flyers to contracts andyour website.
You need to include the exact shades of the colors you use, including the RGB and HTML codes designers and developers will utilize.
Your CI can also stipulate where to use the full logo, and where to use the smaller version.
For example, the full logo should always appear in the header of your business documents. The smaller version can be used for branding on social media images or in your email signature.
The key tobuilding brand awarenessis to keep it consistent in the way you use your identity. Through this consistent repetition, customers will get to know your brand, and be able to recognize it instantly. This is why being as specific as possible in your CI is so important.
Anyone can pick up the document and create images or content that immediately reflects your brand correctly.
In addition to keeping the way you use your brand identity consistent, it’s important to add it to as many places as possible.
Every time someone comes into contact with your company, they should be reminded of your brand identity.
It’s a cyclical process of constantly reinforcing your brand and building awareness and loyalty through each touch point.
Your brand identity should be on display in your offices or retail space, on company vehicles, on uniforms if staff are required to wear them, and definitely on your products and packaging.
If you give out corporate gifts, likepersonalized kooziesor pens, to clients and suppliers each year, make sure your branding is front and center there too.
As a start-up, building your brand is integral to success.
Luckily, now you know how to do that, so you can go forth and conquer!
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