If you are a business start-up or a new entrepreneur, the future of your company is a blank slate. You get to decide how you would like to establish your identity, grow your brand and the direction you want your business to take. It’s a very exciting time and with some focused efforts, your new venture has great potential!
However, many new business owners miss the importance of building a quality brand identity. Often, in the rush to start “doing business,” entrepreneurs skip vital steps in building their company brand. Most people focus on naming the company and coming up with a snappy logo design, but neglect to put thought and consideration into things like colour and font selection, photography and illustration style and branded copywriting.
Here are a few pitfalls to avoid when starting your business and building your brand.
Understand the Power of Branding
Branding can be a powerful tool in the success of your new business. However, if you overlook its importance, you could be missing a huge opportunity.
When developing your business start-up, there are a lot of questions to ask yourself and aspects of your business to consider.
- Take some time to do market research and discover how your competition is portrayed. Perform a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of your new business and your competitors.
- Establish your Mission and Vision. These will help you understand the purpose of your company and determine the direction of your brand.
- Determine your ideal client, including characteristics that make them desirable.
- Consider the tone and voice of your business.
When you can fully appreciate the power of branding, you’ll take the time to invest in a proper brand strategy, building your business on a firm foundation. Now, just because you can appreciate the power of branding, doesn’t make you an expert and chances are, you could benefit from hiring a professional to help get you started (see point #3). Be sure you’re not undervaluing the importance of establishing a quality brand identity before you do anything else.
Don’t Jump the Gun
When you’re a business start-up, it’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of starting your business, many times rushing through the initial process in an attempt to get out there and make some money. But building a strong and lasting brand takes both research and know-how.
When working on your brand development, take some time to really dig in and clearly define your vision. Ask yourself questions like:
- Who is my target market?
- How are my competitors marketing themselves?
- What kind of identity do I want for my business?
- Am I targeting high-end customers or discount shoppers?
- What type of emotions am I hoping my brand will elicit in potential customers?
The last thing you want to do is rush through the process of developing your brand identity only to be unhappy with the look and feel of your company in a few months (see point #4).
So, you’re taking the plunge and starting the business you’ve always dreamed of. Chances are, when you’ve considered this ideal enterprise, you’ve thought of a clever name for your new venture. Does it hit all the marks? There’s a lot that goes into naming a business, perhaps some things you’ve never considered. Make sure you’re starting the branding process with a solid name.
In addition to choosing a name, most businesses start out with a logo. It’s the bare minimum required to get set up with business cards and possibly a storefront sign. However, if the logo and brand identity is unprofessional or doesn’t make sense for the business, your presence is going to suffer.
We know you’re excited to land your first client and get the ball rolling. But don’t jump the gun. Your future self will thank you for taking the time to think things through and set yourself up for long-term success.
You Get What You Pay For
When deciding on your brand experience, consider the logo that will portray the level of quality and service you will provide. If you’re looking to attract high-end clients, a discount logo will not attract the clientele you’re seeking. There are many free online logo generators on the web and discount logo design sites. But, even investing $100 for a logo design that you are ultimately not happy with is a waste of money.
But a brand is so much more than just a logo. A successful brand brings together integrated elements that creates a unique experience for the user. It is things you can see like the logo and packaging but also customer experiences and perceptions.
Unless your business is building brands for other companies, you probably don’t have all of the skills required to successfully pull off building a brand for yourself. We all have unique abilities and experiences, and it is ok to hire a professional to help you establish an effective brand for your business. Quality copywriting, for example, is the key to growing any business’s online presence. Not only for increasing brand awareness, but converting potential customers, which is why professional copywriting services such as those offered by Compose.ly are ideal for guiding leads further down the sales funnel.
When you hire a professional and experienced brand development agency, you can be confident that your brand identity is built on many carefully considered facets that will be consistent across all materials and platforms.
Avoid Having to Change Your Brand
Nothing kills a company’s momentum and traction like having to completely redesign the brand. Logo or colour tweaks to refresh an established brand after a number of years is one thing but starting over can be a costly mistake. It is worth the time and investment to research and plan your brand positioning and identity (see point #1).
Perhaps you jumped the gun and are now realizing your brand is not everything you had hoped for. You may notice business has started to slow and comments are rolling in that your logo is amateurish, your company colours are off-putting and your brand messaging is confusing. Now, you are back at square one.
Having to launch a new brand could potentially lose any dedicated customers you were able to secure. In addition, all that time, effort and money invested, even if it was a good deal at the time, would be wasted. Put your best calculated foot forward and get your branding right the first time.
Create the Ultimate Brand Experience
The greatest brands are timeless and will withstand the comings and goings of the latest design trends. Superb brands are about trust, loyalty, and recognition. Outstanding brands encompass so much more than physical elements. They embody a voice and are a brand experience.
Don’t take your company’s brand development lightly. Invest the appropriate time and resources up front to establish a clear vision and develop a cohesive, impactful, and professional brand presence that will get noticed, will be remembered and will garner trust for your business.
Sandra Dugas is the Marketing & Creative Director at ZOO Media Group. Sandra’s keen eye for building strong brands and innovative marketing strategies has helped hundreds of organizations grow their business.
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