We often have new start up clients come to us requesting a ‘brand’ and more often than not what they mean is simply ‘logo’. This isn’t in itself wrong, all companies require a logo – and we’re pretty good at producing them! But it’s important that before a logo is even considered, the new brand identity is clearly developed to ensure that all future communications can work together to produce a cohesive and clear brand message.
Brand is of particular important to an SME as it’s likely that your target market won’t be aware of your company (yet!) so it’s down to your brand to make that all important first impression. SMEs can’t bask in the spotlight that large internationals such as Coca Cola may enjoy; Coca Cola don’t need to advise customers on the features and benefits of their product, they don’t have to fight out a corner of an overcrowded market and they certainly don’t need to build a brand identity from scratch… these are the challenges left to the SME. But don’t forget, even the biggest of brands, even Coca Cola, were SME’s once upon a time.
To help you develop your brand offering, we’ve drawn up 4 simple steps to effective branding:
Step 1 – Consider your target market
Who your target market are will define how your company communicates with its audience. If your target audience are new mothers at home then you’ll need to employ a very different visual language than if you were talking to barristers in their chambers. Think about who you’re talking to and the visual language that currently exists in their daily surroundings.
Step 2 – Clarify your business offering
What your business offers customers shall shape the delivery of your marketing communications, do you offer a service or a product? Do you tailor your offering to each customer individually? Or service a mass market? Think about what you offer and how it’s presented as this shall also effect the visual communication you employ.
Step 3 – Identify your brand values
A brand is essentially a promise to the customer; for example when you purchase Heinz tomato sauce you do so because you believe it’ll taste better than the supermarket own brand, the Heinz brand on the label gives you assurance that there is a quality product inside.
So how do you go about selecting your brand ‘promises’? Do you promise your customers that you’ll be professional, hygienic, safe, caring, intelligent, punctual, cost-effective, premium quality, efficient or even fragrant? Of course, you may well be many of those things, but your brand promises must be tailored to your customer’s needs. For example a cleaning firm may want to promise cleanliness and honesty whereas a courier service may want to be punctual and secure. These ‘promises’ are your brand values.
Set 4 – Roll it out
So now that you know who your brand is talking to, what your key brand offerings are and have identified your brand values! These key steps will not only help you produce the right logo for your company, but also make it easier to keep all your communications cohesive and on brand.
For example if a new vet’s practice has worked through the three above steps, they may have identified:
- That they’re talking to local, adult pet owners who will be at home when choosing which practice service to use
- The service is provided is professional pet care
- Their brand values are caring, friendly and committed to delivering the best medical care for animals
These brand values not only aid in the selection of a suitable logo, but can also help to deliver adverts with suitable copy, select relevant social media, identify the right tone of voice for email communications and even choose uniforms for staff, safely in the knowledge that all these items have been selected with the brand values in mind to deliver cohesive and integrated communications.
Want to learn more about how our graphic design services could benefit your business?
Let’s get together and explore the potential.
Contact us on +44 (0)20 8360 8244