Every business large and small needs a brand. Your brand is what distinguishes your service or product from your competition and helps to position your business in the marketplace. Your brand elements (logo, colors, tagline, etc.) combined with your brand mission and voice, are consistently integrated into all of the communications you send to your target audience.
Define your Brand
What is your company mission?
How do you want your products or services positioned in the marketplace?
Who is your target market? What are their demographics?
What benefits do you offer that make your business stand out from the others?
What makes your service or product better than its competition?
Defining your brand can be difficult and time consuming. Some business owners do not know where to begin. Resources like the Maryland Small Business Development Center can help you get started.
Develop your Brand VOICE
What is the brand voice that you will use in all of your communications – web, email marketing, social media, collateral materials? Is your voice friendly, funny, authoritative, professional? This voice will mostly be determined by your target audience as well as your competition. If you are trying to reach younger tech-savvy professionals, maybe an authoritative “stuffy” voice is not the way to go. However, if your target audience is older, more serious, and more reserved, the a funny joking “voice” may seem immature or inappropriate to them. So know your audience, be careful, and choose wisely.
Getting the Word Out
Once you’ve established what your brand will look like, it’s time to apply it to all of the branding elements.
Create a Look
- Create a Great Logo
What will your logo say about your company?
Who will it speak to?
What colors will you use? Color is powerful and evokes different emotions so think about how you want to be perceived. Read this article on Color Psychology: The Emotional Effects of Colors
- Develop a Tagline
This should be a meaningful concise statement that speaks to the heart of your brand. Read this article on Why Your Company Needs a Good Tagline.
Create Brand Identity Standard and Guidelines
This will govern the elements of how your logo is used. Brand colors, fonts, placement, look and feel. Write it down. Have your employees use it. Be consistent.
Your brand extends to all aspects of your business. Your marketing materials, product and service packaging, social media, how you answer the phones, email signatures, networking and sales. Be sure you have a plan in writing to describe how your brand is to be used in all of these aspects.
Take the time to develop all the points above and then consistently market your brand.