Once you have your business plan in place it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to brand your business. Branding means so much more then just having a cute logo and matching graphics – in addition to being visually appealing, it should be informed by your target demographic, and be uniquely tailored to your services.
Investing in professional, cohesive branding is important. Savvy consumers and clients will be quick to judge, and depending on your niche, might be immediately turned off by sloppy graphics.
Potential clients often come to me after their business is established; ready to invest in branding and finally get the look they’ve always wanted. But more often then not, they’ve already invested significant money in outdoor signage or print materials. It ends up costing them more in the long run to re-brand their business, than if they had made an investment up front.
When just starting out investing in a logo and a cohesive color and font palette should be top priority. Don’t underestimate your customers – they can spot a VistaPrint template from a mile away.
Don’t forget about social media while you’re developing your visual brand. Consider asking your designer to put together at least one set of custom cover photos together for all the social media platforms you plan to utilize. Having a few options to use in rotation will be worth the investment and will save you countless hours of trying to resize the artwork you have to fit each platform.
Branding your business is not an arbitrary process – all of your client-facing communication (both visual and written) should have a consistent feel based on your target audience or ideal client.
Don’t have a business plan that clearly identifies your goal audience? Think about who you want to walk through the front of your store or follow you on Facebook. What about your services or products will draw people to your store?
You can either narrow down a general group – like women 18-35 who have an interest in handmade goods and are looking for personalized products – or you can create a single, ideal persona to appeal to. Some businesses create a single idea client to tailor their message to – for example, “Catherine” is a 23-year-old single mother who has an obsession with handmade wallets.
Whatever way you choose to go about defining an ideal client, keep them in mind at all times when giving your elevator pitch, talking to your designer and establishing your social media profiles.
Often overlooked, written communication is as important as visuals when it comes to strong branding. Think about your company’s values and how you want customers to view you. Keep your message focused and communicate brand values whenever possible.
Decide whether you want to be seen as a relatable friend or a voice of authority. How colloquial or casual do you want to be? Do you want to address your customers as “that dude” or “a valued customer?”
Like with your visual branding, cohesion is key – writing content for social media should be assigned to only one or two people to help ensure a cohesive tone of voice.
Not sure how your branding stacks up to the competition? Shoot an email to Hannah@hueandtonecreative.com and let us do an audit of your branding!