Build your brand part 1 - define yourself
by Victoria Keyworth / 01 March 2016
When you think of a brand, you probably think of Coca Cola, Nike, Apple - big companies, big names, big budgets. But even the smallest business needs good branding.
Whether you realise it or not, if you have a business you have a brand but it’s really entirely up to you what you do with it.
From the name you give yourself to the way you talk to your customers, every choice you make becomes part of your brand. It really is all about the perception you want to give whether that's friendly, edgy or anything inbetween!
So if on a basic level it’s about creating the right impression, there are a few questions you might want to consider:
- What do you want to be?
When you first started out, all starry eyed with big dreams, what did you want your business to be? Envision exactly that and then think about where you are now.
- How can you get there?
Think big picture. You know what you want, but what or who do you need in order to achieve your goals. It's strategy time!
- What can you offer?
How is your brand different from everyone else? You have to be able to offer something fresh, even if it’s just a new spin – people won’t sit up and take notice of a tired idea.
- Do people need that from you?
So you have a great new idea, you’re gaining visibility and people are paying attention to what you have to say. But why do they need you? You have to be confident that they really need what you’re peddling, or at least have a really clever way of making them think they do!
The old adage about building your house on solid foundations is still as true today as it ever was, the idea behind your brand is what makes it, so you have to really be confident of just what that is. We're talking Helen Mirren levels of confidence here! It's good to take some time to really flesh out your brand guidelines, they're great to fall back on if your confidence ever wavers.
Something to remember is that personality is key when it comes to branding, consumers respond to humans not corporations so let that come across. Carve out your own identity and decide ‘who’ you want your brand to be.
There has never been quite so much competition out there, this means it’s more important than ever to be distinctive & stand out from the crowd. Never ever be afraid of offending someone because chances are, you already have and that's no bad thing. You want your followers to be brand loyal so anyone who doesn't respond to your personality aka branding, isn't going to be giving anything back to your business anyway. Again, this is a good thing and I'll talk more about why in part 2 - 'spreading the word'.
Be careful to make sure the brand identity that you create filters down through every channel of your business, even your staff. Now we're not saying cloning is the way to go, but make sure they know how you expect them to behave. Opening a quaint coffee shop, maybe nix the risque chat on social, but opening a club & that kind of interaction could help!
smoothies, they branded their bottles from the beginning with a funny take on being honest about the innocent ingredients inside. This instantly set them apart from the numerous other smoothie brands out there when they launched.
They’ve kept that playful branding throughout, even after selling the majority share to Coca-Cola a few years ago, the honest approach remains, it just works.
Handily I can use Innocent to segue into my next point, the amazing start-up story.
For Innocent it started with three university friends selling smoothies at a music festival in London, they had spent £500 on fruit and 6 months working on recipes. Customers were asked to put their empty bottles in a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ bin to indicate whether or not they thought the friends should quit their high flying jobs to make smoothies. At the end of the festival the ‘yes’ bin was full, the ‘no’ bin only had three cups. They went into their respective jobs the next day and resigned like true heroes.
Have you got a great start-up story? Use it. People love to hear stories of success, especially if they can help you get there.
It might not seem like it when you stare at your computer screen but you’re talking to hundreds, thousands and one day, hopefully millions of people online, so let them get to know you! It’s this basis that will help you onto step 2 - ‘spreading the word’
We specialise in brand development whether that's through design and strategy or our interactive workshops and brainstorming sessions. Trying not to sound too corny here but helping you create a brand you can really be proud of is something we'll never stop being passionate about. We just love the satisfaction. Can't get enough of it.
If you have a business, you have a brand and if you’d like a helping hand, pop in for a chat! We don't want to brag but we've just bought a fancy new coffee machine...