Tatiana Jadgal is a CEO of marketing communication and branding agency, Uniqa Consulting.
What makes your brand truly unique? Setting up a new business, there are so many things to consider, and you may not find the opportunity to sit down and think about your brand, what it offers, what are its values, and how do you expect your customers to connect with it. However, please try and make time.
Your brand is the face of your business, and it is vital that you get it right from the beginning – branding mistakes are costly and often very difficult to fix. Here are the three rules that would help you to establish your brand in the early days.
Rule 1: Keep it simple. If you are creating a logo that would have to come with a 10-page essay explaining what it means, you are on the wrong track. When planning the visual identity of your brand, avoid associations with irrelevant things, no matter how dear to your heart they might be. If you are providing food delivery, naming your business after your favourite pet is unlikely to help your brand. Here are a few examples of simple and effective brand names: Apple, Nike, GoDaddy, Innocent Drinks – learn from the best in business.
Rule 2: Establish your values. How does your brand differ from your competitors? What do you offer that would make your customers’ lives easier? What does your business stand for? It is very hard to make sure your values shine through your brand, so use a tagline to help get the message across. Again, keep your tagline simple. One of my absolute favourite is Google’s “Don’t be evil”. Or very simple and to the point, Nokia’s “Connecting People”.
Rule 3: Be consistent. This is one of the most important pieces of advice on your branding strategy that you would ever get. Set up your rules and stick to them. As a small business, you probably would have to be your own branding police, and it’s not easy.
However, inconsistency in branding can lead to your brand dilution and devaluation, so don’t take it lightly. In terms of visual identity, your brand should look consistent across all of your marketing materials – business cards, letterheads, compliment slips, etc. Do order all your printed materials from the same place – that way you will avoid potential deviation in colour or paper quality. The New Business Starter Pack from printed.com is a great way to start.
Ensure that the same consistent rules apply to your online presence as well, not just visually, but in terms of content as well. If social media channels are part of your strategy, avoid so called “machine gun” approach – when you turn up at one particular channel once a month and post multiple comments and articles on every topic and then disappear again – this is not the best way to connect with your customers. Be consistent – regular updates are much better strategy.
These three rules can help you get your brand going, but don’t forget to evaluate your brand and the way you follow the rules regularly – it will help your brand and your business grow.
For the views of nearly 1,000 creative professionals on small business branding, check out the branding infographic from printed.com and Creativepool.