The terms brand, branding, brand imagery and brand identity design get thrown around willy nilly these days.
Do you know the difference between them?
Do you really care?
Probably not and to be honest, rightfully so.
Ask 5 different people what branding is and you’ll get 5 different answers:
Person 1 – Corporate brand strategist – “It’s the values and principles of a business”
Person 2 – Social Media manager – “It’s the companys reputation”
Person 3 – Small business owner – “Its our company identity”
Person 4 – Designer – “Its design communication”
Person 5 – End Customer – “It’s a logo”
The above are only a few examples but all of the above are the truth because the term branding has become subjective and does in fact mean something different to everyone.
You on the other hand may be a start-up business, a small business or even a lone ranger consultant.
Sure, you’re interested in branding and what it can do for your business but your needs for branding are related directly to sales, rather than corporate culture.
But don’t get me wrong.
Taking a good, in-depth interest into branding and doing it like a pro is a great idea, no matter what stage of business you’re in.
But maybe, as a start-up or small business you don’t have the money to invest in it.
Or maybe you’re an entrepreneur experimenting with an idea and need a quick fix with branding.
My advice in any case would be to invest as much as you can into professional services but if you can’t then don’t worry, I’m here to help.
Branding is a development.
Brands, branding, brand imagery and brand identities change.
No matter what size the company, how much profit they make or how much of an expert in branding they may be.
Their brand will change over time.
And yours will too!
This change stems from:
- A company’s desire to position themselves in the marketplace
- A company’s reflection of itself
- A company’s public relations and customer perception
These three points are all important factors in branding and marketing your business successfully.
Even as a start-up or small business, you need to do the above so you can differentiate yourself and create an identity.
Your business identity will be used to promote your business so customers can:
- Recognise your business
- Resonate with your business
- Create relationships with your business
This is all done visually so your business can use branding (or a brand identity design) to bring in sales directly.
If you’re looking to develop your own branding or want some inside info before hiring a pro then check out these 5 top tips to creating you own brand identity.
1. Fonts & Typography for your branding
It may seem unimportant or even too simple of a task but but picking a single font set and using it consistency will help tenfold in building an identity for your business.
You use marketing materials such as business cards, twitter, stationery and your website on a daily basis and integrating a chosen font will unify all your docs with a professional touch to create consistency and an identity that your audience can become familiar with.
Picking correct fonts for your business is no easy task though.
Each font has a unique personality, embedded in history, technicalities, functionalities and purpose.
Each font was meant for a specific job.
But creativity and expert knowledge on how to use fonts can make a wrong font, the right one for a job.
If you do it well, your fonts will become a business asset.
And then pick one and use it.
2. Create a colour scheme for your branding
Some people get carried away when picking colours.
They pick and choose colours that they think works well together based on their personal opinion.
The truth is that colour combinations and complimentary colours are actually backed by scientific data and psychologically to prove what colours go together as a fact, not as an opinion.
The moral is, don’t just pick colours as you please.
One primary colour is sufficient and twos a bonus.
After that you need a set of secondary colours to compliment the primary colours if you ever need to use them (and you probably will).
Picking, setting and using a specific palette of complimentary colours will give your business an identity to be recognised with.
It will also help your marketing material to stay creative.
Pick colours but use sparingly for greater impact.
3. Brand Imagery for your startup business
A logo, font and colour scheme are all you need to communicate but soon enough you’ll realise it’s not enough.
You’ll ask “What am I going to put on the website?” and “What shall I put on the flyers”.
A document whether it be digital or printed has plenty of room and you’re going to need to get more visual to convey a more specific message.
This is where additional brand imagery comes into play.
Brand imagery is an extension of your identity.
A specific set of shapes, textures, patterns or photos that carry a theme correlating with your brand identity design.
This brand imagery will be enough to fill in gaps on any piece of collateral so that you don’t need to come up with a different imagery for every document you create.
Where before you had an empty page, now you’ll have something in addition to attract, communicate and identify with.
4. Essential Brand Collateral
10 years ago, the basic essentials of a corporate identity where the letterhead, comp slip and business card. Today it varies for every business.
Through years of creating identities I’ve seen for myself what gets used daily and becomes an asset as oppose to the outdated definition of a “corporate identity.”
Get the basic essentials:
- An email signature
- A desktop printable digital copy of a letterhead design
- A business card design
- A comp slip design (they’re actually handier then you think)
- Invoice template design (which you’ll hopefully be using a lot)
- Social media profile graphics
Most importantly though, have designed what you’ll be using the most.
That could mean a brochure, uniforms, bags or vehicle livery.
If comp slips are not that important to you then scrap them.
Get what you think is essential to your business, designed professionally.
5. Your logo design.
There’s always been a debate as to whether you should invest in any of the above as a startup business but the logo design tends to take the brunt of it.
Invest in it or not? Is it worth it?
It is a little like buying a car. You can buy a cheap one or expensive one. The point is, will it get you there?
You can do the same with logo design. A cheap one will work until there comes a point where it breaks down or you need a newer one.
The key here is not cost. Its reliability, functionality, independence and communication. That’s what a car represents and so does a logo.
The most important aspect is that you have a logo design.
The more you can spend on it the better.
All of the above elements may seem like small details but when combined together, create a system of design.
That system creates a bigger picture, forming an intuitive and over-arching identity for your business.
What your customers will see and identify with, is the bigger picture.
And that bigger picture is what they’ll remember when they need a business like yours.
Start building your identity today with conceptstore.co.uk