The Graphic Vine - Business Identity

Starting up? Your brand idea.

It is said that your brand is the identity of your company. And while that is true, there is more to it than meets the eye.

Your brand is as unique as you are.  When you start thinking about your business, your brand idea can determine various factors in the business.  Your brand idea is really a description of what your brand stands for, and once that has been determined, can be the deciding factor when making decisions about your business and your brand.

Says Julie Cottineau of Brand Twist, “A Brand Idea is a succinct and motivating summary of what your brand stands for. It should be aspirational (maybe even a bit lofty) and should help guide every single decision you make in developing and managing your business.”

Your brand development then has a foundation, because every thought, idea and vision for the brand leads to the question, “Does it fit in with my brand idea?” Does your logo, your corporate identity fit in with your brand idea?

How does this help you?

Your business starts off with the right building blocks because your identity is already defined, and this can give you an immense amount of vision and direction.

Determining your target market becomes that much easier, because you know who you are.

You can attract the right investors, the right customers, and potentially the right employees, all leading to the growth of your business.

So do it! Even if your business is not in the start-up phase, write your brand idea down.  If your brand needs to change, go for it!

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Developing your brand: mistakes to avoid

Your brand is your business, so make sure that you do the best that you can for your brand.  Here are some mistakes to avoid making when developing your brand into something memorable.

Say what?? Your name must be easy to remember, and easy to pronounce – and this goes for your domain name too. You might think your name is great, but if it’s hard for someone else to say it or spell it, you are already losing potential customers.  I find that people are quick to put contact numbers on their marketing material, but the chances are that people will remember an email address before they remember a phone number.

DIY!  Don’t design your own logo (if you aren’t a designer!)  Your logo is your most visible part of your brand.  Make sure that it’s done by a professional who has the skill and eye for an amazing logo that you can live with for a long time.  A logo that you’ve put together in MS Word is not going to cut it if you’re in this for the long haul.  Spend the money now- your brand is worth it!

Social media is great – but check yourself.  I think a lot of businesses have endured steep learning curves when it comes to using social media and having it work for them.  Make sure you have a strategy before you embark on any great social media adventures for your brand. It’s not as easy as you think to get a “like”, but when you’ve irritated your social media audience with too much information, incorrect information or no real information at all, they will “unlike” you in a flash. Have a plan.

Consistency in your message is vital.  What do I mean?  Your logo is only the start of the story that is your brand.  You have this great logo developed, but when you send an email, does your logo get dumped at the end of it? Or does your email signature tell more of your brand’s story? What about gmail?  Are you still using a gmail account for email?  Many small (and not so small) businesses have not spent a small amount of money registering a domain and email addresses that tell more of your brand’s story.  Every aspect and element of your brand should be consistent it telling your story. Be professional, be consistent.

It can take years to establish your business in the market.  Don’t lose the ground you’ve gained by making mistakes that could easily have been avoided.

Talk to us.  We’d love to assist you in building your brand into something great!

Reference:  Scott Mickelson

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You and Your Designer

Design is such an important aspect to building your business – it’s one of the building blocks that is often overlooked, and yet it’s fundamentally the signature of your business.

Choosing a company or graphic designer to create or recreate your identity can be tricky – they could hold the identity of your business in the palm of their hand.  So how do you choose the right designer?  Here are a few questions to ask, preferably in person:

 What is your design process?

Yes, design is a process.  It’s not an “airy, fairy, creatives only” art form. There are specific requirements and objectives, and therefore a process is required to manage the project from beginning to end to ensure that these objectives are met. This process will be malleable in that every business will have different objectives and require different outcomes.

Can I see your portfolio?

This gives you an opportunity to get a feel for the designer, and to see the variety and diversity in their design.  It also gives you an idea of the kind of work they are able to do, and to see who some of their clients are.

Will you be doing my design?

The person you are dealing with might very well not be the person doing the work. You want to have direct access to the designer.  This process is about you and your business, and you are an integral part of the process. Be involved, and be honest.

So be selective about who handles your business’s identity.  Talk about it and get referrals from colleagues.  In Afrikaans there is a saying: “Goedkoop is duurkoop”.  Good design does not come cheap.  There are lots of ways to cut costs, but when developing and enhancing your business’s identity, the cost is worth it.

Reference: Lisa Guillot of Step Brightly