Branding is incorporated into just about every product or service we use every day. It is the instantly recognisable McDonald’s logo; the undying devotion of Apple product users; the ideas and innovations associated with the Virgin brand; the marketing that makes Coca Cola and Pepsi users loyal to their respective beverages.
The public transport you travel on each morning is branded; the escalators you use to get to your platform; the dozens of billboard ads you walk past; even the manholes you tread on.
You may not yet be a Microsoft, IBM or Samsung, but branding your company is one of the most important things you can do from the outset. Here are eight key steps:
1- Define your brand
Your company has its own uniqueness which stems from why you started it. Have you found a unique gap in the market? Was there something in your own past that triggered you to form your business? What are you passionate about? What motivates you?
People and businesses will first and foremost buy your product and service because of who you are – your emotional connection (‘why’ you started the business).
2- Create your brand mission and vision
Your mission and vision are the next steps to securing your brand promise. Your vision looks at where you want to be as a company – both as a statement which defines the ‘why’ or emotional connection of your brand, and in broader terms how you want your brand to look in 5 or 10 years’ time. How many offices and staff members you will have. Where you will be located. The kind of business you will be. Which causes you will support and how.
The aspects of vision and mission are separate blog topics in themselves and there are plenty of good reference points on the web.
From there, you can begin your analysis of your target market (demographics, buying power, needs), competition (so you can position your unique selling proposition), and price point. Once again, these are blog topics in themselves and there are plenty of excellent sources on the web.
3- Decide on your brand name
There are professional companies that will take you through a brainstorming process, but of course there is a budget attached. If you have a team to brainstorm with, you can do what is referred to as a ‘name dump’. Each of you writes down a list of 20 names as they randomly appear in your head. Narrow these down to five per team member list. Narrow down further until you reach the name you are looking for.
4- Design your brand logo
Now you have started to create your brand story, this is the time to design your logo around it. BMW started out as an aircraft engine manufacturer in World War ll. Its round logo divided by horizontal and vertical lines depicts the movement of an aircraft propeller, while the blue and white represents the sky. Adidas’ ‘3-strip mountain’ depicts the great heights athletes aspire to.
The golden rule is that keeping your logo design simple will often make it more memorable. Neither does your logo design need to be expensive. Although keep in mind that a good graphic designer will not just design your logo randomly, but will ask questions about your mission, vision, values, and the story that will give your brand logo meaning.
5- Develop your brand tone of voice
How do you want to be portrayed as a brand? Formal? Professional but conversational? More funky and individualistic? Whichever the case, the most important thing is to be consistent across all your brand communications moving forward.
6- Design your brand guidelines
Your brand guidelines bring everything together in making your messaging consistent. How you use your logo and imagery, your chosen brand colours and fonts, your chosen tone of voice. Your brand guidelines are the blueprint.
7- Design your brand stationary
Now that your brand imagery is in place, you’ll need business cards, letterheads, email signatures – and possibly other stationary or branded items such as envelopes, mugs, coasters or car branding.
8- Develop your brand website
Your website is arguably one of your brand’s most important tools. But companies do not always approach the development of their website in the best way. It’s important to remember that first and foremost your website is a functional tool. It is not there to look flashy. It is there to give out information in the clearest and most accessible way.
To this end, get your content structure in place first. What are the key products and/or services you offer? Which target market do you want to attract? How can your website structure be designed to best communicate your key messages? A skilled copywriter will be able to consult with you on this.
Then write the content, either internally or outsource to a professional copywriter. If you have a clear idea of what you want to say and how you intend to structure the website, you might choose to write the content internally, then have a professional copywriter proofread and edit it. Having it proofed and edited externally is highly advisable.
Only then should you engage a web designer. Very often, companies engage a web designer first, then think about the content afterward. THE BLACK AND WHITE GROUP strongly advises that content should come first.
Finally, there’s the issue of SEO (search engine optimisation). Again, while we advise you prioritise this within your budget, SEO is a topic for a separate blog.
To learn more about THE BLACK AND WHITE GROUP’s branding, logo design and web content services, contact us on +971-50-4575469, email@example.com, or see our work on https://www.weareblackandwhite.com.