With so many businesses starting – and existing brands striving to catch up – brand development has never been more important. It can be the most exciting and overwhelming part of launching your own business; after all, your brand is the first thing consumers see and needs to speak volumes about the work you do and what you stand for. But, what are the key ingredients for great brand development? Read on! Our friends at “theroom” are here to share them with you.
At the forefront of building a solid trademark, there should be a clear, cohesive message for the intended audience. With new research listing the most influential brands for Australians, Coles, a relatable persona as one key factor that made it the highest Australian owned business on the list: “Coles really is one of those brands that know themselves and their audience so well. It almost seems their brand is conversational and empathetic … as if you were to speak to them they would listen and respond.” It is this resonating connectedness, which does not go unnoticed with consumers that foregrounds a certain superiority when in comparison to other retailers. One example of this connectedness is the ‘prices are down’ campaign, heightening the brand as one that understands their audience is price sensitive and encourages the Australian public to get the most out of their hard earned dollar.
For Telstra, which saw an unparalleled reported value increase of 37% to 14.58 billion over the course of the last year, this notion of brand identity blatantly comes into play here. “Whether you personally use Telstra’s services or you don’t, you have definitely heard about them. It is this sense of awareness that is what a unique persona can do for a business”, a corporation’s persona in its purest form is how a business wants to be portrayed. “There really is so much that makes a brand. At the heart of it though, are your company’s core values, vision, and personality. It really should settle everything your marketing material sets out to do…whether that is to emphasize your quality product, your customer service or your credibility, your brand identity needs to enforce all that.”
Whether your company is already established or a fresh start-up, knowing what it stands for is a key aspect of the business. Your vision should be at the heart of everything you do – so it’s a great jumping off point for your brand development.
Not sure where to start? Ask yourself:
- What’s my end goal? Where do I see the business in 5 years?
- What would be the key adjectives or phrases I’d use to describe my business?
- What would be the key adjectives I’d say my business isn’t?
- What does your business believe in and how do you show that?
Now put it together to create a statement that shows who you are and what your brand believes in. It’s a great way to brief your designer and web development team, as well as to use internally to keep employees on track and on brand.
When you’re a small business or start up your brand is frequently an extension of your personality. Your personality can be expressed through your logo, the tone you use on your website copywriting and even things such as your social media updates or email signatures – this all comes together to become a part of your larger brand identity.
One important thing to consider is how your brand personality clicks with your prospects and clients. If you offer landscaping or experiences, customers might connect with a jovial approach and cheeky tone. When used or a professional service, such as accounting, that tone could be off-putting or unprofessional. Your brand personality should meet customers in the middle.
Another consideration for personality should be to provide a seamless personality in marketing communications and when dealing with your team. There’s nothing more jarring for a consumer than visiting a website and getting an idea of what a business will be like based on their tone or brand, then calling and experiencing something completely different. It can be a shock, especially when a consumer has chosen your business based on that first impression.
Too long, didn’t read? Find a balance between your team’s personality and your customers’ so that you can deliver a seamless experience from your first touch point to your last invoice.
A brand identity is so much more than just a logo. Your brand includes the colours you use, the typography, how your designer utilises space and more. Creating a comprehensive visual language will mean that you’re never in a situation where someone “just puts a logo on it”. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered to establish a strong visual language, here are a couple of our favourites.
What fonts do you use for headings, body copy, sub headings, quotes and calls to actions? Do you have fall back web fonts?
What are the HEX, CMYK and RGB values for the colours you’re using? How will the colours be applied to your logo and stationery? Do you have preferred colours for different aspects of your business?
Where should your logo be placed on page? How much negative space should be left around your logo? Should suppliers or partners lock up their logo on the left or right of yours?
Do you have a set of icons you should use for social media or services? What are their minimum sizes or treatments? Are they used only in particular instances or are they able to be used whenever needed?
A key aspect of brand development really is consistency. How you apply the visual elements and personality to each and every aspect of your day to day. Think of every possible point that consumers or clients could see your brand. Now apply creativity to how you brand each of those marketing communication touch points. Some starting ideas include:
- Business Cards
- Office signage
- Car signage
- Social media
- Search engine results pages
Building a strong brand online and offline means a seamless experience for clients. If you show a high level of attention to detail, it will build their trust and make it easier for you to get that deal across the line. A style guide will help you build consistency as your brand grows or as you roll out your brand identity.