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Brilliant branding: Top tips for start-ups

January 28, 2013

Your brand is your identity and in a tough market place it can be the thing that separates you from the competition and grabs the attention of potential new customers.

Remember you’ve only got a very short space of time to capture the attention of new customers, so whether it’s the design of your business cards and marketing collateral, your website or even the name of your company, these things really make a difference when it comes to winning business.

If you’re looking to get your new business noticed take a look at these top tips for better branding and see how you can apply them to your own business model.

Spend a little time and effort developing your brand identity

Don’t rush the initial ideas stage! If you’ve got a brilliant business proposition, don’t spoil it by overlooking things like your logo, company colours and messaging.

Try to develop a corporate identity which will evolve with you as a business. Spend time getting it right at an early stage will mean you won’t need to spend money on an expensive re-brand once your business starts to grow.

Consider colour schemes and fonts

Consider your colour schemes carefully. Do they send out the right message?

Colours can make a huge difference because as human beings we naturally associate different colours with all sorts of different emotions. So think hard about what you want people to feel about your brand and choose your colours accordingly.

And if you’re thinking of working in overseas markets remember that colours can have different meanings in different countries, so consider the impact your brand colours could have abroad.

The fonts that you use need to be thought about too – consider your target audience and make sure your messaging is attractive, clearly visible and understandable for them.

Be likeable

People are loyal to brands they like, so consider this in everything you do from your social media interactions through to the way you describe your business in promotional literature and brochures.

Don’t make your offering or your pricing difficult to understand but don’t patronise your customers either.

Live up to your promises

Don’t let your branding make promises your business can’t keep. Make sure you can produce the results you say you can.

Nothing is more likely to frustrate a new customer than being let down or disappointed by your services. And an unhappy customer can cause a lot of damage.

Be consistent and check everything

It’s important that you are consistent with the way you communicate your brand. Frequently changing colours, fonts or the ‘voice’ that you use in your communications will confuse potential customers and undermine your branding efforts.

Check everything carefully. A grammatical or spelling mistake on your branding will not help you appear professional, neither will a poorly printed brochure or business card, so make sure your checks are thorough.

If you don’t do this, how can you expect new customers to trust that your services are thorough, or that your products have been properly checked?

Review the competition

Don’t forget to check out your competition – who else is trying to reach your target audience? Look at how they’re doing it and ask yourself how could you do it better?

Compare your branding and think about why your target audience should pick you over anyone else.

Listen to feedback

Once you’ve created your first set of branding materials, don’t forget to test them out on members of your target audience for an objective opinion. Remember these are the people you’re trying to reach, so take on board all feedback, good and bad and look to address any issues.

So ask yourself, is your brand likeable? Have you tested your branding out on your target audience and not just family and friends?

What do your brand colours say about you – have these conversations now at the start-up stage to ensure you’ve got clear direction and strong brand presence for the road ahead as you never know how quickly your business could grow.

About the author

This guide was written for ByteStart by Gregg Corbett, Marketing Director at Avery Office & Consumer Products

More on branding, marketing and promoting your small business

You will find a host of guides to help you market your start-up or small business on ByteStart. Try these for starters;