Branding 101

If your company currently lacks a strong brand, then you will find it much harder to market yourself and to get your audience behind you.

Branding is what ties your marketing together cohesively, it’s what gives your business a sense of purpose and it’s what allows your customers to quickly recognize your products and services and to seek them out when they’re looking for something they can rest assured will be high quality.

But despite all this, a lot of businesses still aren’t branding themselves properly – and many don’t even really understand what the term means or what branding encompasses. Read on then to learn what branding really is and how you create an identity for your business that people can really get excited about.

What is a Brand?
So if a brand isn’t just a logo, what is it?

A brand is ultimately everything that makes your business unique and everything that will be consistent across all of your products and services. That means your logo then, but it also means the design language that you use across your website and your materials.

Moreover, it means the mission statement and the ethos of your business.

And this is where your branding journey should start, because it will ultimately inform every other aspect of what you do.

A mission statement is simply a short sentence or two that communicates the purpose of your business. This isn’t just what you do but why you do it and how you do it. This is the inspiring bit about your company.

Amazon’s mission statement for example is:

It’s our goal to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything online.

Notice how this is more interesting and inspiring than if the company had just said:

It is our goal to sell products online as the biggest ecommerce store.

By having a more inspiring and exciting mission statement, this not only helps Amazon to better inspire its audience and its customers but also means it has scope to venture into other territories. For instance, creating the Kindle allows them to help customers “discover and find anything online” in a whole new way.

When done well, your mission statement will help to direct your business and give you a trajectory. At the same time, this should help to inspire the elements of your business that follow – such as your logo and your web design. Everything should help to evoke the spirit of what you’re trying to achieve and what you’re trying to create.

Designing Your Brand
Once you have a strong idea of what you’re company is about and what you want your brand to say, the next challenge is to start creating an image for your business that will communicate this strongly.

And a good place to start is with a company name, followed by your logo.

For your company name, you need to think both creatively and pragmatically. On the one hand, you need something that will inspire people and that will describe your business at the same time. You can go for a straightforward description of course but you can also choose something that’s a little more abstract. Apple for example was chosen because Steve Jobs was on a fruitarian diet at the time and he felt the word sounded ‘fun, spirited and not intimidating’. This fitted the brand’s ethos very well as a younger and more consumer-oriented challenger to the established and stuffy IBM.

In terms of pragmatic considerations, you need to also think about how easy your name would be to promote, whether or not it has already been trademarked and how you might go about promoting that brand.

Next, you need to choose a logo. This is one of the most important steps in creating the way your company will be seen and it’s one of the things that visitors to your website and new customers will experience first when dealing with your business.

Your logo needs to be something that is original and unique to you, while at the same time communicating whatever it is you want to say about your business (which will likely be the same as your mission statement) and being simple and easy to reproduce. Remember that your logo is going to be used in lots of different contexts: sometimes it will appear on the web but it will also appear on packaging and headed letter paper. Your logo then needs to be simple so that it will look just as good when it’s small as it will be when it’s big. It needs to work in black and white and as a silhouette.

If you’re struggling to get started, then Brandr (http://scgm.biz/brandrr/) is an excellent tool you can use. This is a simple piece of software that quickly generates high quality logo suggestions and then lets you edit the specifics in order to create something unique. This can save you a huge amount of time and will provide you with a file that’s suitable for use as a logo.

Note that your logo should be a ‘vector file’ when finished. This means that it can be reproduced at any size without losing quality and also that the file can be easily edited when you want to create alternative versions of the logo for use in other places around the web.

Once you have your logo, you can then begin with web design and other aspects of your brand identity. A good web design will always include elements of the logo in it – which might mean that you incorporate the color scheme of your logo for instance, or might mean that you use images from within the logo around the site.

Gizoom Marketing! We welcome your ideas and feedback to make our messages more applicable to your needs. For more information, contact Paul Conant anytime at 1-855-544-9666 or send an email at Paul@gizoom.com!