When you’re looking for inspiration on how to define your business, it’s key to remember you already hold more information than you might think! Who you are, what you like and how you communicate very much define the emerging brand of your company. So let’s get digging…
The first thing to consider is how you actually go about turning the essence of ‘you’ into a good-looking business, which not only radiates the right messages when you’re not around, but has the potential to grow to represent other people one day too. If you’re unable to bring in a professional designer at this early stage, here are some tips to get you thinking and to get you going.
1. Your big idea
At the core of every successful brand, sits a big heart and an even bigger soul, both of which are clearly communicated on the outside too. So what idea or passion drives your brand? If you’re having trouble defining this, an elevator pitch is a great place to start.
What is the story you tell, day in, day out, to investors, partners, your mum and your friends? Take a step back and examine your business goals – are you planning to take on the world with a provocative, fighting spirit, or slightly more slowly to build up trust and dependability? Think about how you personally tell the story of your business ambition.
Now it’s time to think slightly more creatively. If your business were a person, how would they dress, talk, or interact? What’s their favourite food? What car would they drive? Be as creative as you need to get a clear idea, but watch out for too many contradictory traits.
By now, your brand personality should be coming clear – and don’t worry if it’s just a list of 4 or 5 adjectives, or a descriptive sentence, it’s quality, not quantity, that counts.
2. Your look
Use your brand personality to make decisions about which font, colour scheme, logo, photography and graphic style work best for you. Are you traditional or modern? Cute or straight up? Realistic or exaggerated?
What are the styles and colours that communicate your business? Get together a pinboard of references that you feel express the personality and brand-image you’re looking for - platforms like Pinterest are perfect for this.
3. Your sound
Using your personality again as a reference, what impression do you want to give when your brand ‘speaks’ in writing? Formal or informal? Young or old? Straightforward or unique? Consider how you might approach the naming style of your company or products too, which, whether whacky, abstract or more traditional will all send strong - and very specific - signals about your brand.
4. Looking outside
Once you’ve got some tangible examples of the look and sound that’ll bring your brand to life, it’s time to have a quick look around to see what your competitors are up to. It’s often a good idea to only do this once you have your brand ideas pretty much set - it’s all too easy to get caught up with concepts that stray from what your brand stands for.
One of the best ways to approach competitor activity is to observe what they’re doing well, and not so well - use them as a means to improve your own business, but always make sure what you take is adapted and made relevant to your brand.
5. Your brand world
In todays always-online-world, even an offline business needs an online presence, so make sure your look works well on-screen at every consumer touch point - from your website homepage down to small digital spaces like your Twitter avatar. But looks aside, how you communicate with your stakeholders can have an even greater impact on how your brand is perceived.
Simply by investing the time to translate the passion for your brand to your employees, clients and suppliers - making sure they are clear on your brand message, values and personality - will build loyal brand advocates. That means loyal and happy people willing to champion your brand on your behalf; excited to be part of your brand world.
In a nutshell
To build a successful brand, decide what idea sits at its core, follow your instincts on how to bring that to life visually and tonally, do a quick sense check with the outside world and make sure to invest in those around you.