Friday, 17 May 2013

Top tips to branding a new company

Where to begin – before you make a start on any design work for your business you need to establish your brand identity and develop a brand strategy. To do this you must establish what it is your business stands for, what makes you different from other businesses, and the benefits that your product or service offers to your customers. Once this is done formulate a communications plan that enables you to highlight your offering and differentiates your service or product from that of your competitors.
Establishing your brand values – it is really important to establish a set of brand values that make up your company ethos. They often include a mission statement, what the company stands for, and how the company wishes to be perceived by the customer. These are often incorporated into a brand story or history of the business. Although they may not feature on smaller pieces of marketing material, it is really useful to have established them in your branding process as they are likely to be featured within website content or as part of your company presentations.
Getting the logo right – it is essential that the logo created to represent your brand is tailored perfectly to be a clear icon of all that your company embodies. Firstly, you need to ensure that any typeface you select has strong readability so that it clearly communicates the name of the business. The next element to think about would be a form of brand mark, such as an icon, image or abstract shape that accompanies the brand name to give a greater sense of identity and enables the brand to stand out and be easily recognised. Another element to consider may be a strapline or statement about the business that can be used as part of the logo. This could also be used separately as a feature on any marketing collateral or stationery. Remember, this strapline needs to underscore the benefit of the company to the customer, not just remark on how great the company is; it needs to clearly highlight what the consumer can expect of the brand.
Defining brand guidelines – it is really important to define rules as to how your brand identity may be recreated, used and applied, so that you retain consistency throughout all your branded materials. This is necessary as any inconsistencies in your brand application could serve to confuse the consumer and detract from the credible and trustworthy impression you wish to create. These brand guidelines need to include a breakdown of the logo, stating typeface specifications, and any size restrictions. Guidelines should also denote the colour references for your brand colours; the choices for your scheme are key to creating the desired feel for your brand, colours can convey a multitude of emotions and have certain specific connotations, so you must select these very carefully. You may like to consider if your logo can be used in other colour variations which might give a little more freedom, or if repetition of a decorative element of the logo could be used to create a brand pattern. Defining guidelines for the style of imagery used within any of your branded material is another way to ensure greater consistency throughout your marketing. Examples of this may relate to the subject, feel or focus of any photography. For icons it would be useful to decide whether these should be flat or used with more of a 3D feel. If you wish to include more artistic illustrations you should select a specific style for these in terms of medium. A final suggestion for your brand guidelines would be to set a tone of voice for any written communication. This tone of voice will be determined by who your market is and your choice of strategy to best communicate your message and product/services to them. So whether the resultant tone is formal, relaxed, technical or quirky, you should remember it must always remain consistent and stay true your brand values to reinforce the brand identity.
Brand application – once you have decided on your logo and brand guidelines you can then begin to apply this to all your marketing collateral. By applying your branding across all your company assets and promotional material you create consistency which adds a real sense of professionalism, quality and in turn credibility. Remember, applying branding doesn’t necessarily mean placing your logo on everything, it can be more subtle, such as through the use of a particular brand colour, or it may be as simple as ensuring all typographic elements are consistent with the brand fonts.
If you need any help with your branding or marketing communication please feel free to contact us.

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