Branding – The Bare Necessities

Branding is important because not only is it what makes a memorable impression on consumers, but it allows them to know what to expect from your company. A brand represents so much more than a logo. It summarises people’s perception of your company, its customer service and reputation. Your brand is your defining mark. It is your identity and the first thing most people see. It is the most honest representation of you, what you stand for and what remains once you are gone.

Recently a lot of clients and business contacts, in general, have been asking a lot of the same questions in relation to branding. So, I thought that a quick guide to the absolute necessities might be helpful to you all. The same branding principals apply to us all regardless of where we are in our business journey. Whether you are launching a new product or service, considering a brand refresh or you are just starting out, this checklist should help guide you. If nothing else, it might ignite your creative powers.

Getting stuck into the branding process can be overwhelming. Just considering the long list of elements that it involves can be exhausting. The excitement, the fear and the reality of the effort required can stop you in your tracks, but don’t let it. These simple guidelines will keep you on track. So, let’s kick start your branding journey with a few items that should be on your list.

Compose Your Mission

Your brand mission is about the “how”, but it should also explain the “why” and “what”. Your brand mission needs to outline why you are in business and what you expect to accomplish. Your brand mission is the core of your business goals and the philosophy underlying them. It sets the tone for the rest of the brand elements.

Establish Your Core Values

Your core values communicate what you believe and how you are working toward that vision. By conveying what you stand for as a brand, you can attract the audience you desire – customers who share your beliefs. They are your guiding principles and can help determine if you are on the right path and fulfilling your goals.

Create Your Vision

Your brand vision is a statement that reflects your goals and values now and into the future. It sets personal and emotional standards that allow customers to connect with your brand and develop loyalty. It is worth the effort to establish what motivated you to start your business. For some its passion for others necessity. It is here that you can explain what motivated you.

Define Your Niche and Customer Personas

You will have a long list already in your head of your ideal clients. This will be a mash up of people, companies and organizations that you would love to do business with. It is important to document these people into categories and describe them in as much detail as possible. The more detailed you are when defining your perfect customer, target audience and specific industries the better chance you have of resonating with them and converting them to real clients.

Develop Your Logo

A logo can quickly grab an audience’s attention and communicate a company’s core values, message and sentiment. Bet you did not think a little picture had so much power! Your logo is the face of your company. It is at the heart of your identity. Just like looking in the mirror, the face of your company should be clean, fresh and uniquely you. A great logo should be simple, scalable, memorable, versatile and relevant.

Select Your Font and Colours

Fonts are the style of text you will use, colours consist of primary and secondary colours that are representative of your brand, are unique to you and are consistent. We put them all together in what we call the brand guidelines. This includes everything from specific brand colours, fonts and typography usage. Your brand guidelines are the guidebook used when you are designing a presentation, blog, web page, social graphic, infographic, letterhead or anything that is in print or online and will represent your brand.

Consistent Social and Print Media

Your brand identity is now firmly established, and you will need a suite of images and icons to use for your print and social media channels. It is recommended that you maintain a consistent online and offline presence by using the same, or similar, images for your avatar + banner where possible.  It strengthens your brand’s presence and assures people the social accounts and media advertisement relates to you.

Well Designed Website

Your website is your best marketing tool. It establishes you as a professional and gives authenticity to your business. A well-designed website is a powerful investment and asset for your brand. On a subconscious level, it establishes you as a leader in your field. A poorly designed website that has little or no functionality will also affect a potential client, they may subconsciously rule you out as a  professional in your field.

Whether you develop your brand’s purpose, vision and mission all at once or in phases are not important. What is important is that you understand their individual and collaborative need and apply them as necessary.