Branding your company on your own isn’t easy---a fact that’s proven time and time again when we ask clients “What do you do?” and they stumble over the answer. They get even quieter when we ask “What do you do better than anyone else?” (Hint: The answer is NOT “customer service.”)
Yes, creating a brand that defies gravity might be a little tricky, but we’re here to navigate every nook and cranny of your business---and business philosophy---so we can find what makes you stand out.
Developing a Voice
Whether you know it or not, your company has a personality (also known as your brand), and your tone of voice needs to match that personality. It should reflect your values and speak directly to the people who use your products and services. The tone sets the stage for business credibility and consumer trust. Make it interesting and memorable. Make it sound like you, so people want to keep reading.
Keeping it Consistent
Imagine a friend who had a different personality every time you saw her. It wouldn’t be easy to trust her, would it?
The same is true with your brand. Constantly changing your appearance and voice is confusing for your audience, so colors, fonts, brand voice and photo styling should all look and carry a similar tone throughout all channels of marketing.
There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as tailoring social medial presence for each platform. But for the most part, they should feel like they’re all part of the same company. Because they are.
Creating a Logo
A logo, on its own, isn’t your brand. Think of it as a picture of your brand. A representation. The one thing that stands for all you do.
Does it live up to your customer’s expectations, or does it need to be refreshed? Pixilated clip art from the 90s might not be the best way to show that you’re innovative and engaged with current consumers. A well-designed logo, on the other hand, is timeless, clean, simple and easy to read (even at less than 1” in size). It’s eye-catching, but not distracting. And it works on everything from banners to billboards.
It’s also good to have multiple versions of your logo: with and without taglines, horizontal and vertical, various colors, etc.
Developing a Style
Choosing fonts and colors to represent your brand can be a great way to define who you are as a business. This is the fun part. The choices can be endless, but typically, you want to select colors that are memorable and appropriate for the type of work/services you provide. Someone who runs an ice cream shop, for example, might use a more colorful palette than someone who owns an excavating company. Take a look at the competition and find a way to look different.
Your font says as much about you as the words you use. Make sure it’s legible, yet unique, so you don’t look like every other company out there—because they all use Helvetica.
Select a headline, sub-headline and body-copy font that fit your corporate personality. Headline fonts are typically bolder and more styled than the sub-headline and body-copy type. They should grab attention and, above all, be clear.
You’ve spent all this time perfecting your brand, now don’t mess it up with lazy stock photography. Finding good stock photos takes work, but at least you don’t end up with 16 pictures of people pointing at laptops.
Using your smartphone to take product photos is also not the best idea—especially if they are pixilated or shot at high noon in full sun. Having professional, high quality photos captures the essence of your brand and simply makes you look better than the competition.
After all of these design decisions have been finalized, create a style guide that can be referenced by you and any other person who develops marketing materials for your company. Consistent, well-thought-out branding will give you the edge to grow your business.
Putting it All Together
A streamlined brand uses all of these elements together. If one of them is lacking, it will stand out like a sore thumb. And if your branding seems unfinished, clients may look elsewhere. You’ve taken the risk of starting your own business, so take the time to deliver your customers the best possible branding experience. (Hint: That’s where we come in.)
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