Creating brand identify is fun! The creativity that a designer can bring to your company is exhilarating. Logos, websites, stationery… seeing how these all come together makes a business owner feel alive. This is true the first time you brand and every single time a company goes through a re-branding. What many people don’t realize is that there is homework before getting started. We rush to the fun stuff… but wait! What is your mission statement?
I asked our branding specialists what a business owner should define at the onset of a branding project. Below find 10 areas you should work on to define your company’s brand. Spend some time working on each of these and you’ll have a brand people talk about.
10 Factors Which Define Your Branding
1 – Mission Statement
The business should have a solid idea of what their mission is and who their target audience is. It’s not reasonable to successfully start branding your company in a certain direction if you’re not completely sure what it is you’re hoping to accomplish or whom it is you’re hoping to attract. (This is another reason a business plan is so valuable!)
– Whitney Speir, Brown Sugar Design Studio
2 – Niche
Tell us about what makes your company unlike anyone else out there. What makes you the BEST fish in the pond? What are your strengths, weaknesses, and something only YOU can provide? Why should they obviously choose you? Also, what drives this passion you have?
– Cathy Olson, Love-Inspired
3 – Ideal Client
Define your target audience. You can’t target everyone and anyone. Define your ideal client. Be specific. Yes, not all clients might fit all of these characteristics, but the goal is to create a brand that truly connects with your target audience.
– Heidi Bartlett, Idieh Design
4 – Creative Objective
Describe the feelings your brand should elicit about your organization as a whole. A list of adjectives is often extremely helpful.
– Kari Becker Beard, Sugar B Studio
5 – Other Favorite Brands
Do your research. Earmark a few companies (both within and outside of your industry) whose brands you admire, and identify the specific elements you like about them. Do they have a captivating, colorful logo or a witty, educational blog? Perhaps they excel at engaging their customers on Facebook or Twitter in a unique way. Think about what draws you to the companies you’ve identified and consider how best to incorporate those attractive qualities into your new brand.
– Sarah Kate Snyder, Studio Snyder
6 – Your Preferences
Be able to articulate your preferences. I’m interested in hearing what you like, but I’m especially interested in hearing what you DO NOT like. It’s difficult to work with clients who can’t clearly identify the look they’re going for.
– Kelly Ashworth, Kelly Ashworth Design
7 – Your Personality
Ask your closest friends and family to describe you (and your business) in three words…take note of these words and share them with your designer. Your personality should shine through in your branding.
– Nikki Nukkols, Doodledog Advertising
8 – Your Style
It is helpful to bring along examples of logos, marketing pieces that they like and don’t like. This helps a designer get to know your style and brand and what you are expecting the end result to look like. I always ask my clients to bring their own marketing material and we talk about what is working and what needs to be changed. I think the most important is an open mind and knowing who they are. Their company brand is all about their core values. (Yes – see #10!)
– Carla David, Carla David Design
9 – Public Perception
How do you want your prospective client to see you? Tell us about the perspective/view you want your company to have. Are you a crafty and artistic type of company? Are you sophisticated and glamorous? Are you well-established with an amazing record and word-of-mouth? Look at your company from the outside looking in. How do you want them to feel about you and your talents?
– Cathy Olson, Love-Inspired
And last but not least…
10 – Your Values
I’m adding in this last one because it has been extremely helpful for me in my business. Write down 5-10 values that you pride yourself on, that you feel are integral to the way you do business. I keep this list close to me. I review it whenever I’m about to have an important meeting with a client. I refer to it whenever I’m going to make changes to my branding or marketing. It keeps me grounded and focused.
Want a great read on how values helped shape a company’s brand and culture? I can’t say enough good things about the book Delivery Happiness, written by Zappos CEO Tony Hseih.