Your brand is your identity and in a tough marketplace, 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.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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?
For some great tips on creating great marketing materials read; 7 clever copywriting secrets for business owners.
6. 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.
7. 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.
Finally, watch out for the 5 common branding mistakes you must avoid making with your small business.
This guide was written for ByteStart by Gregg Corbett, Marketing Director at Avery.
Last updated - 11th April, 2016