One of the first challenges you face as a business start-up is to decide how you intend to present your business to the world. This means that you need to define your brand and understand how you plan to communicate it consistently to your existing and potential customers.
You’ll have to think about everything from your company name and tone of voice (authoritative, cheeky, informal, fun, quirky, serious?) to the images you use, the style and content of your website, how you respond to customer enquiries and complaints, and much more.
But isn’t my brand just my logo?
Not at all.
Author and marketing expert, Seth Godin, defines a brand as “the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer”.
By that definition, branding is much more about emotional connections and associations, rather than the design of a logo.
At their best, brands are instantly recognisable however you come into contact with them. Think of household ‘super brands’ like Apple, Virgin, Facebook, Kellogg’s, Gillette and Amazon. The chances are that you recognise their products and marketing even when there’s not a logo in sight.
What they have in common is that they each understand their identity and their customers; they know what colours to use, what type of images people expect to see, as well as the words and tone of voice people expect to hear. They are far more than just a recognisable logo.
Of course, your logo is important to your brand because it’s your brand mark, a graphical representation of your business that should inform the colours you use in your marketing, the cover images of your social media profiles and even the design of your print marketing.
It’s just that your logo isn’t the beginning and end of your brand.
The basics of building your brand
At Grafixbiz, we work with a fantastic mix of start-up businesses, SMEs and larger corporations. This means we have experience of working with brands at various stages of their evolution. With start-ups, we find it’s important to provide support, transparency, information, advice and reassurance. We’ve been through the process enough to feel like seasoned travellers but we also view the development of each brand as a brand new adventure (no pun intended).
Our first step in helping you to build your brand is to talk to you about what your business will be, what you’re selling and why, your back story, your ethos and your vision for the future of your business. We’ll also help you pinpoint your ideal customers or target market because the most important part of building your brand is figuring out what will really appeal to them.
We understand how colours can make or break brands and will talk you through the colour psychology that might be relevant to your customers or your industry. We’ll also find out what you feel about different fonts, images and styles.
Building your brand isn’t just how about you look. We’ll get you thinking about your tone of voice and what you want to say – this can start with the name of your business and a strapline through to the kind of articles you want to include in your blog. Do you want people to recognise you as fun, quirky, professional, warm, family-orientated or reassuring? It helps to define this from the outset.
As you can see there are many elements to building your brand.
Of course, we have to start somewhere, and your company name and logo provide the obvious starting points.
Designing your logo
Logos can use images, symbols or typography; in our experience, the simpler the logo, the better. Different designs work for different businesses – a cupcake company, for example, would want a completely different feel to their logo than a financial adviser.
By talking about all the things we’ve mentioned above, we’ll help distill what you want to show your customers about your business into a logo that will form the first layer in building the foundations of your brand. We’ll also help you ensure that the design will work well across different mediums, both now and in the future. You may not have your own YouTube channel yet or be planning a TV ad but you might one day soon. Your logo needs to work anywhere.
With the right design, your logo will deliver a powerful message to your customers about your professionalism, your insights into their likes and dislikes, and your identity. Get your brand right and it will make all the difference to how your business grows.