Some people think that when they start a business, they just need a simple logo, a half decent website, and customers will come in droves. However, there’s so much more to it than that – these days, competition between businesses is sharp, and in order to stand out, and to succeed, your branding needs to be strong.
Since starting the Severn Agency, I’ve seen my fair share of branding, and in fact, when I’ve had the opportunity to work with new businesses in creating their branding as a whole, that’s when I’ve been able to create some of my best work. I talked about this a bit in my last article, where I told you about how I came to create the branding for a local wine bar.
So, let’s think about this in a slightly wider sense – how, as a small business, or a start-up, do you begin with creating a brand?
What branding isn’t
People often mistake the logo for a brand. They believe that by designing a simple logo, choosing some pretty colours and an image that vaguely represents what they’re about, their work is done, and they can sit back and wait for the customers to come.
Sorry to say, that won’t cut it. Your logo is just one tiny element in the whole branding process – and even that is so easy to get wrong.
I’ve seen so many mistakes made by companies who have put their logo on the top of a website, their social media outlets, and their printed material, and then have failed to recognise that the rest of their image is so shoddy and inconsistent that it just ends up falling flat – and when it does, any potential customers are turned off and take their money elsewhere.
Branding takes thought. It needs to reflect who you are, what you do, and what you stand for. And all of those things need to be apparent to anyone who reads your content online, sees your social media posts, or receives an email or brochure from you. If they visit your premises, they should immediately know where they are, because they recognise your branding.
What branding is
If I had to sum up what branding is in one word: consistency. Your brand should be instantly recognisable, whether you’re seen online, in print, or on the high street.
As a branding agency, I consider the whole business. What do I mean by that? Well, I mean that learning about the personality of the business, who you are, and what you represent, is always my first priority. Because without that, I can’t imagine what your brand will be.
I need to know the essence of what your company is, and only then can I start to put together what your branding should look like.
So, what do I mean by branding? The logo, although it’s an element, is not necessarily where I begin. Branding encapsulates the entire image – and that includes many elements, from the colours that you use, the fonts and image styles, the tone and voice portrayed in all of your content. It’s all of the visual elements, the corporate style, even the materials you use for your printed content.
Branding and design
Design is more than just an image – it’s the ambassador of your brand. As such, your branding should communicate your message, and that’s really where a branding designer comes in.
A good branding agency will be able to establish your brand personality, and pull everything together to make it visually beautiful, appealing, and most importantly, consistent.
And in doing so, no matter what medium your customers choose to find you, it will be immediately obvious by your branding who you are.