Effective branding is fundamental to any leading business, whether it be large or small. But many ‘start-up’ businesses overlook the importance of developing a brand, as it can seem costly and time consuming. Covering the following branding basics will ensure you are able to start marketing and promoting your business from the word go with confidence and professionalism - and without breaking the bank.
Before you begin branding your business:
It is vital that you have defined your vision statement, key messages, point of difference and target market. Your brand should be a visual representation of these ideas to ensure you target the right customers.
1 - A logo
Your logo forms the base of your brand, to which you will add other elements to market your business. A logo has the power to create instant credibility and give your business a sense of professionalism. When developing your logo, it may help to think about your business as a person. If your business were a person, how would it to be perceived? Corporate? Relaxed? Stylish? Your answers will help define the ‘visual face’ for your business.
2 - Business card
It’s amazing how many people in business that I have come across that don’t have a professionally designed business card. In my opinion, a business card is the single most important marketing tool you will ever use. It instantly tells me all I need to know about your business and how to get in touch with you. Business cards can be simple and clear or extravagant and costly, but remember to match it visually to your logo and how you want people to perceive the personality of the business.
3 - A simple website
Your website is typically the first place your potential customers will go to learn more about your business. Prospects will visit your website with a goal in mind, whether it be to buy or to research a future purchase. Remember to keep it simple and make it easy to navigate for your potential customers - if they can’t find the information they are looking for, they will go elsewhere.
When you develop your website, make sure you also set up an email address with the same domain name as your website. Nothing will diminish your newly established professionalism and credibility as quickly as having an email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org!
4 – A simple brochure or flyer
A simple brochure is useful for mailing out to your database or to mail to potential customers with a sales letter. Keep it eye-catching, simple and focused on the benefit for the customer.
When I started my business over 6 years ago, I had a simple DL card printed that featured some images of work, information about my services and contact details that I could easily hand out to people with my business card at networking events. It was colourful and engaging – and because it was bigger than a business card it always stood out amongst a stack of other boring cards!
Your brochure doesn’t have to be costly, but people may for judgments about the quality of your business on the quality of this brochure so factor this as a cost into your start-up budget.