When you think about Apple or Nike, does it bring up an emotion or existing perception? Does it hold a certain prestige? That’s the magic of creating a strong likable brand that resonates with a buyer. In reality, you may not be getting a superior product but just the mere branding makes you want to have it and flaunt it. Good branding makes you want to identify yourself with the brand because it represents you. And just for that, a consumer will be willing to pay more for the exact same product. As a small business owner, you may think branding isn’t necessary and it’s for the companies with a huge budget. Branding isn’t a luxury for your business, it’s crucial to be able to set yourself apart in the online space.
Being a business owner, you will have to take a lot of important business decisions in the early stages of your entrepreneurial career. These decisions will be fundamental to your brand as they will directly or indirectly affect the services and products you have to offer. Decisions related to your branding and everything that represents your company will be of utmost importance. Great and consistent branding can keep you top of mind for your audience and also, set you apart in the crowd of online businesses. You will eventually have to create a process so that your employees and the third-party companies you work with help you maintain your brand consistency.
Why do you need a brand identity?
Building a brand identity will bring consistency to your online channels and help you create a presence. Small businesses will have to take care of elements like visual identity, customer experience, values and brand identity elements in their quest to achieve brand consistency.
Some of the ways brand consistency helps businesses are:
- Shaping Brand Perception
- Evoking Positive Emotions
- Building Trust and Loyalty
- Differentiating Your Brand
How To Create Your Own Brand Identity
Understand Your Mission To Achieve Brand Consistency
A mission statement is bigger than stating your company’s desire to be the best. It is an incredibly important navigational tool for the decisions taken for the company. And also, they can play a role in keeping your team inspired, motivated and acting in alignment with what your company wants to achieve.
‘People rarely buy what you sell, they buy why you sell it’ as Simon Sinek puts it and that’s accurate. Communicating why you exist and what needs you’re addressing is essential.
Create Your Vision Statement
It’s easy to get confused between mission and vision statements. While the mission statement clearly define what you do and how you do it, the vision statement is mostly aspirational.
What future do you want to help create? There are several worksheets online that can help you create your perfect vision statement.
For example, Apple’s vision statement is to ’empower man by changing the way we think, work, learn and communicate’. And their mission is to bring the best user experience to its customers through its innovative hardware, software, and services.
Defining Your Core Values
Defining your core values is essential to help your company grow and strengthen your organizations culture. These will act as your pillars and will help direct your actions. Just like you pick personal values to stand by, your company can have set of principles and values.
Defining Your Brand Personality
Brand personality is one the main components of a brand identity. This is what shapes the perception of your business for your audience. It is the human element in a brand and is made up of emotional traits and behaviors that are consistent over time.
Bringing your brand to life is one of the most important aspects in branding because it helps your brand carve a space in the consumers mind and form a positive relationship with your company.
Simply put, if your brand were a person how would they present themselves? What are their personality traits, quirks, communication style etc. And more importantly, how do they make you feel?
Picking a Logo
Moving on to your visual elements, Choosing a logo for your business can be nerve wracking and consume a lot of time so if you’re working with a budget you can hire freelancers. Then when you have samples, you can share it with your team (or friends/family) to get feedback and pick the right one.
You’ll want to include the size restrictions, which colors you use and how to display your logo on different backgrounds. Also, including how you don’t want to see your logo (e.g. too widely stretched or on unreadable backgrounds).
One thing to keep in mind is that the logo has the flexibility to evolve overtime as you and your company grow.
Picking A Color Pallete
These are your brand colors. Using a few colors, 3 is usually advisable. A base, accent and a neutral. To pick your color, you may want to consider what feeling or emotion you would like your audience to feel based on color psychology. Brand guidelines contain RGB and CMYK color codes helping you stay consistent at every customer touch point.
This includes the fonts you have chosen to include in your visual design and communication. It’s advisable to use 1-3 fonts and use them consistently. This will help give your site a neat look and feel. One quick tip, always pick legibility over aesthetic design.
Brand guidelines contain typefaces and families, font sizes, and the hierarchy of the fonts your brand uses.
Text Hierarchy: This simply means the hierarchy of fonts like the heading, subheading and the text.
Defining The Imagery
Here you can describe what visuals you would like your brand to represent. The style of imagery and icons you will be using on your website and other internal and external communications.
Create A Foundation: Templates & Guidelines
There has to be a definite resource of templates and guidelines that you and your employees can go back to when they are in doubt regarding branding.
Create templates for emails, business cards, and other materials that your employees use. This will help you ensure that your branding remains consistent for a long period of time.
Creating and maintaining a brand can be so essential for you to set yourself apart and attract clients that resonate with you. It will also help you bring your personality to your online channels and connect with your audience. They will be able to build a relationship with your brand and essentially, wanting to work with you.
Hiring a branding specialist to ensure your brand is heading the right direction is also a worth it investment if you aren’t sure about the branding aspects and it’s something that isn’t your genius. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments!