Branding is tough. Getting it right the first time never really happens, it is more of a journey than a onetime event. Quality branding requires a substantial budget, and substantial input from a creative, passionate team.
Branding isn’t about a creating a logo, it’s about the company values and principles, and the ways that this is communicated to your audience. Branding will play a huge role when it comes to the way the business is perceived by a target audience, and when you step back, you really can’t afford for it to be an afterthought, your brand must resonate with the people viewing it.
Just like our time in education, the start of a business project should begin with thorough research. Research your target audience; who are they? Age range, gender, hobbies, jobs, salary, political or ethical opinions, where do they shop? Build a couple of audience profiles, complete with pictures – this often helps to build emotional connections to the target audience.
Knowing exactly who you are aiming to appeal to will mean that all of your branding efforts are focussed and consistent.
Next, look at the competitors; how are they performing? What are their prices – (you may need to get a little sly here and make some fake enquiries) How is there branding perceived? Taking the time to conduct market research and ask people within your target audience their opinions and feelings towards the business based on its brand is insightful.
Finding out how your competitors branding is perceived will give you direction for your own, making the process far more streamlined.
Don’t Do It Alone
When it comes to your business, you are the expert. You may have some strong concepts when it comes to the visual side, but don’t attempt to manage the whole process. Design and branding agencies have trained for years, hiring experts and have gained ever important experience and knowledge. Your time will be best spent creating a solid set of company values that will be lived and breathed by every part of the business. A good agency will be a great long term investment.
Learn To Let Go
You have to be bias at times. For obvious reasons, your business is always going to remain very close to your heart and the emotional ties you have to everything that relates to it will be strong. Learn to detach yourself from those emotions. When you are presented with ideas and concepts from your agency, don’t think as a business owner – think like your target audience. It’s vital that you place a degree of trust within the team at the agency and understand the reasons for the concepts being presented. The designs may not be to your personal tastes, but ask yourself would it appeal to your target audience and does it reflect your business?
Pay Close Attention to Your Website
There is nothing worse than reading or hearing great things about a brand to be greeted by a poorly designed website (yes, even in this day and age), a website that doesn’t work or for some unfathomable reason, no website at all. Why would you not have a website?
There are so many options when it comes to website creation, it is possible for someone with little knowledge of web design to create a functional, albeit basic website. However, it depends on the businesses values and target audience, what are their expectations? A well designed, functional website with well written, relevant content will provide a massive return on investment. Just make sure that you are given the back end logins from the developer and be sure to discuss the cost for ongoing maintenance.
Welcome All Feedback
If you want to know what your customers think of your business and your brand – you are going to have to ask them. Talk to them about their brand journey and experience with the business and the things that they believe could be improved.
You may not agree, but again – this honest, unbiased feedback is invaluable and should be taken on board, it will do wonders for increasing client engagement!
If we are honest, social media platforms mean that you are going to receive feedback whether you asked for it or not. You will find you experience both positive and negative comments on social media, and while you should amplify, share and respond to the positive – the negative needs attention too. Acknowledge the negative in public and of its legitimate resolve it in private, it’s all a learning curve.
Developing a branding strategy that calls upon creativity and expertise will mean you can build a brand that immediately evokes emotions, positive connotations – and ultimately sales. It’s always worth the investment because the most powerful brands always tap into emotion. Figure out the message first and build the rest from there