I’m not going to sit here and tell you that your business won’t be successful without a credible brand, even if there’s a tiny part of me screaming BUT IT’S TRUE on the inside. Instead I’m going to use my experience from all of the brand launches, brand refreshes and brand meetings I’ve ever been a part of to help you understand why it’s important to have your own unique identity, and how to utilise your brand for more business.
What is a brand?
A brand is a lot of things all rolled into one. It’s more commonly known as your identity – your logo, your website, your tagline, and more recently your social media pages. But a brand is also your colour scheme, your guidelines and the font you use consistently on every document you publish. It’s your products and/or services and how you operate as a business (and a human!). A brand is your pricing model and the interactions you have with your customers. A brand is all of those things, and much much more.
Now it’s true; clever brands probably care more about people than they do their own brand. Because they know that if they look after their people, they will quite quickly become their very own advertisements, recommendations and ‘oh, I know someone’s’. So my first piece of advice is to look after your people, and my second? Develop a brand both you and your customers are proud to share with the world.
Where do I start?
- You make the rules
That’s kind of the beauty about owning and running your own business, right? You make the rules, you say what goes. You like it? Great. You don’t like it? Get rid. Don’t be afraid of standing out and being different. You have already taken the controls of your own working life, so now it’s time to design a brand YOU love. Because first and foremost, if you don’t love your brand, how are you going to make others love it?
- Start from the beginning
Start with your logo, your colour scheme and your website. You will slowly form an identity without even realising it. Don’t use Paint or Word. Your business is worth so much more than that. If you can’t design or know someone who can, pay someone to do it for you. Your logo, and website is a reflection of your business and if it looks like a child did it, people are probably going to think a child is running it too.
- Analyse your competitors
I know, the dreaded C word. But when used effectively it can actually be really quite satisfying (ok, I’ll stop). You competitors are there as a completely free ocean of knowledge, but it’s up to you whether you utilise that. My advice would be to look at their identity, especially on social media, and see if people are interacting with them. Do they look good? Do they make people feel good? Is what they’re doing helping with business? Use what you learn as a benchmark for your brand and build on that.
- Make some decisions (and stick to them)
Pick a font and use that font on e v e r y t h i n g. If you’re feeling daring (or if everything looks same old, same old) pick a secondary font and decide which one you’re using for headlines and which one you’re using for body text. It’s great place to start. Choose your business style. Are you king of emojis or the professional, informative type? Think about what your customers would react best to and use that as a starting point. Nothing has to be permanent, but start somewhere.
- Stay true to yourself (and your brand)
It’s so easy to fall into the routine of being like everyone else and doing things their way, the usual way. Albeit easier said than done but don’t be scared to use your brand to stand out. With over 5.15 million micro-businesses in the UK alone, how much difference can you really make by being like everyone else? As we say at Becks Digital, you’ll turn out ordinary if you’re not careful.