Branding Your Business Yourself

Starting a business quickly teaches you how important it is to be able to spin plates. Branding their company up is something that a lot of new business owners try to do themselves, as it can save them hundreds of pounds at a time when every spare penny is needed for other areas of the business. And whilst we would recommend budgeting for professional help with the graphic design side of the process, it is entirely possible to do it all for free or very little money. If you have the time and the desire (and some rudimentary design knowledge) I dare say you might be able to brand your business yourself. Here are some insights that may help you do just that.

What’s In A Name?

First thing’s first – you need a name. This will come in handy when trying to build your brand, as it means your customers will know what to call you when they’re telling their friends about your fantastic service. Your name needs to be unique to you, so have Google handy when brainstorming your ideas to rule out anything that’s been claimed already. Choose something that reflects the personality of the brand that you’re trying to create, that sits well next to the values your business holds and which you’re happy to put next to your own name.

Logo Design Newcastle
Nike are named after the Greek Goddess of Victory. Did you know their logo was designed by a student, and only cost them $35?
Finding Your Personality

Once the name is sorted, you can start to think about how you want your brand to be perceived by its customers. You need to consider how you act (the way you offer your services, the way you deal with customers, how you choose your suppliers and partners), the way you sound (the tone of voice to use in your marketing, how you speak to customers and suppliers) and how you look (your brand identity – more on that in a second).

IKEA fontroversy
When IKEA changed their typeface from Futura to Verdana in 2009, an entire planet’s worth of Scandinavian furniture lovers no longer knew what to think.
Establishing Your Style

If you want to establish a brand, the quickest way to make a connection with a customer is through your brand identity – starting with, but not limited to, your logo. Some things to remember:

  • You want something that is unique, memorable and easy-to-understand.
  • Remember, your logo needs to work at small sizes as well as large, so keep it simple.
  • Ensure you display your company name proudly, in a legible typeface that people won’t struggle to read.
  • Use colour wisely – but remember it also needs to work in black and white.

Do bear in mind at this stage that if business goes well, you’ll likely be stuck with your brand identity for years to come. With this in mind it’s worth spending as much as you can afford to ensure you get it right, lest you spend decades cringing at the clipart and comic sans disaster you got your nephew’s boyfriend to do for £15. Fortunately, there are various ways you can brand your business to suit any budget – online logo design tools allow you to design a logo yourself, running a logo design contest invites contestants to submit their best designs for a low price, or employing a professional brand identity design firm will almost certainly get you an identity you’ll be proud of.

Logo Design Contests
An idea of what to expect from a logo design contest, this one from www.designcontest.uk

To complement your logo, it’s a good idea to establish other brand assets – such as typography, colour schemes, photography styles etc – and we’ll look at these in a future post.

Putting It Out There

With your brand name, personality and identity established, you’re ready to put yourself out there. This is a good time to start practicing consistency. Think of a successful global brand, and you’ll think of a company who always gives the same standards. Make sure you use your logo and any supporting assets the way they were designed to be used, always use the same visual style and tone-of-voice in brand communications (whether in person, in print or on social media) and – most importantly – maintain the same high standards you set for your brand when you started.

Apple - brand consistency
Apple are amongst the best in the world for brand consistency. Not so hot on protecting Chinese factory workers.

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