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Four tips when it comes to branding

Making your business stand out can be very difficult. If you own a new or small business, it’s very easy to be crowded out by established players in your sector. Building a recognisable brand is one way to mitigate this and will help potential customers come to know your business, what it does and what it stands for. However, even when branding, adhering to contemporary aesthetic trends, such as how many logos were ‘flattened’ during the 2010s, while still ‘popping’ and appealing to your target market can be a tricky balancing act to get right.


Here's four tips for building a strong and recognisable brand.



Start with the fundamentals


Before you even begin to consider aesthetics, take a step back and answer these two questions: what is your business and who is it for? It may seem trite to think about it this way, but having a clear understanding of the answers to these two questions will inform every decision you make going forward and prevent the brand from feeling inconsistent or confusing. Consider things like your business’s values, goals and its’ unique selling point.



Create a story


Once you’ve answered these two key questions and solidified your vision, it’s time to create a brand story. This is about fleshing out the why of your business. Of course, everyone’s in it to make money, but what is it about your product or service that inspired you to start a business around it? Are you a plucky upstart or a reliable and knowledgeable established player? Be as specific as you can about your mission and values and why your business is best placed to fulfil that mission while adhering to these values. Thinking about where you want to go is important too. The old adage of dressing for the job you want rather than the job you have is just as true when it comes to branding.



Ask your customers


Your existing customers are a great resource when building your brand. This will allow you to find out more about them, but also find out what you’re doing right already. What drew them to your business? How and why do they make use of your products/services? You can collect responses by doing interviews or conducting surveys. This may involve the creation of personas aggregated from your customers responses to reflect how different kinds of customers interact with your business. Be sure to involve other stakeholders too, such as employees. Don’t be disappointed if you receive any negative feedback as this can be doubly helpful when creating your brand.



Create guidelines to ensure consistency


Consistency will assist in building brand awareness within your sector. Potential customers won’t be able to figure out what your company stands for if your presentation and branding is different across different channels. This means you will need to create a set of brand guidelines for both macro-level factors (a broad colour scheme, your overall tone of voice, the kinds of images and fonts you will employ etc.) and more micro-management (spacing of the logo away from other assets or content, what form of the logo will be used in different contexts etc).




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