The Importance of Creating A Brand
So, you've named your company and want a logo. Now, how are you going to create a brand? I know what you're thinking - aren't they the same thing? The answer is no, they aren't. Creating a brand goes way beyond a professionally designed logo. Branding is about message and image. It's about the impression you make upon your customers. Your logo and company name are part of the branding process - but only part. And keep this in mind: branding is a process, an ongoing, evolving and living thing. But you need to lay out the ground rules in advance.
Initially, most of my clients think that branding is for large companies, the guys with big advertising budgets and glossy ads in magazines. This isn't so. All companies - even individuals - benefit from branding. Branding is about the image and persona your company projects. Regardless of the size of your company, a strong and recognizable brand is a huge benefit.
Developing your brand starts with a few simple exercises. Understanding your business and where you intend to place yourself within the industry and market are important. Write out a mission statement. It doesn't have to be formal to start. Sitting in a coffee shop talking with a few key allies can help focus and define who you are (or want to be) as a company. There is more than one company that grew up to become a major player or big influence in its industry that started as a few notes scribbled on a napkin. Defining your goals and illuminating your strengths enables you to stay focussed as you grow.
If you do this, you are now thinking beyond your logo. Now, when you sit down with your graphic designer of choice, you will be able to communicate in a concrete manner the things you would like to promote visually. This is a great aid to the designer and a good designer will be able to focus his / her efforts in a more precise manner. To the designer, your company - even though it may be new - has a personality, an image.
Once you've gotten this far the most important factor in developing your brand is consistency of message. Consistency comes on several levels. Work with the designer to set standards for the usage of your logo. If you are advertising by sending out brochures and placing an ad in the local paper make certain you have standards to work by. Both forms of advertising require different applications of your logo. A newspaper ad is likely to be in black and white. Make sure you have developed a logo just for this purpose and require this version be used for all one-color ads.
Consistency is also important in the message you send. If you develop a tag line or slogan use it the same way in all of your marketing materials. Use a similar style advertisement and look for an entire season. Repetition and consistency communicate through developing familiarity. Familiarity breeds recognition and over time helps develop your brand. Individuals and companies that fail to develop a brand end up working from job to job. Brands have people waiting to find out what's next, they have people asking "what else can you do?" And brands get referrals based on reputation.
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