In an increasingly visual society, branding is becoming more and more important. Customers respond to good branding and investors and potential business partners expect to see good branding.
Any start-up needs to spend some time thinking about and getting their branding right. Branding is the best way to quickly get known and for customers to remember you and return to you time after time.
Getting your brand right
As a start-up it can be hard to find the money to hire a professional brand designer. Don’t let a lack of funds stop you from putting together a brand from early on. You can choose your brand colours and fonts and get a logo printed up. It is also a good idea to come up with a strap line. If your choices are good you can carry the basic design forward as you grow and let a professional designer update or alter it for you at a later date.
Try to appeal to your customer base
To sort out your brand the first thing you need to do is to think about the type of customer that you are going to be serving. What branding will appeal to them? Make that your starting point. Take the time to look at the branding other firms that work in your field use. You do not want to copy them, that would get you into all kinds of trouble from a copyright point of view not to mention the fact you want to stand out from the competition rather than look exactly like them. Just use what others have done with their branding to give you ideas.
Branding is about more than your logo
Whilst the right colours, fonts, strapline and logo are important they are not all that branding is about. It is just as important to create the right look and feel for your business.
If you are an upmarket car company, your staff will need to wear top end uniforms. They should not be allowed to turn up in jeans and a t-shirt.
A great example of good branding
Britain’s youngest self-made millionaire Reuben Singh got it right when he set up his first business. He was only 19, but he knew his market, teenage girls. His store sold accessories and makeup targeted at them, and that was what his branded reflected. In addition, he worked hard to make his stores trendy places to be. He hired young staff, played the latest hits and turned the music up and it worked. His first store attracted 3,000 customers every week.
Using the right branding and a scalable business model made the young Mr Singh a millionaire before he was 21, which, at the time was unheard of.
Knowing when to rebrand
However, strong branding only takes you so far. Times move on, people’s tastes change and what appealed to your market ten years ago may actually turn modern consumers off. For this reason, you need to be prepared to regularly review and update your brand. If things go wrong and your business ends up with a poor reputation you may have to practically scrap your current brand and re-launch with a completely fresh one.