5 Branding Tips Every Business Owner Should Know
Let’s face it: Owning your own business isn’t always easy. Business owners have to work through challenges every day in order to keep their brand growing in today’s competitive environment. Knowing how to brand your business wisely as well as persevere in the face of complications are important qualities in a leader. Fortunately, there are many business owners who have already walked the path and have valuable brand lessons to share. We interviewed several branding experts and successful business leaders to find out what branding tips they think every business owner should know. With this advice in mind, your business is sure to reach new levels of visibility and success.
1. Build Your Foundation First
According to Nela Dunato, Brand Designer at Nela Dunato Art & Design, many business owners fall into the trap of trying to design their brand image before clarifying their core values, vision and target audience. If the fundamental elements of your business are not established, your brand image may be ineffective in conveying your unique offering to the customer.
So what is the best way to build your business foundation before embarking on a design journey? Nela shared the following tips:
“The best way to create a lasting and authentic brand is to gather the key people in the business and ask them to answer the questions: Who are we? What do we stand for? What value do we provide? And who do we work with? While these questions sound simple, the answers are not. When you do get to these answers, everything else in your branding process will unfold easily and naturally. The visuals that correspond to your values and that appeal to your ideal audience will become obvious. But more than anything, you'll feel good about your brand, knowing that it's an accurate representation of the people behind the business.”
2. Know Your Audience and Grow with Them
This advice comes from Crissy Bogusz, highly acclaimed Designer and Motion Graphics Artist at Conde Nast for Vogue International. She encourages business owners to understand that trends and technology change over time and your brand must be willing to evolve. Your brand design should include a combination of familiarity and individuality. She adds:
“The trick in doing this well is to add in just enough individuality that does not distract from that familiarity. Add in an unexpected and atypical design feature or symbol in your logo or brand identity to help to establish what makes you unique. But don't stray too far from your competitors.”
3. Go Beyond Just a Logo: Find Your Visual Identity
Building upon tip number one, which encourages businesses to solidify their brand foundations and strategy before delving into their visual branding elements, Kevin Namaky, Founder at Gurulocity, shares that the visual identity of your brand goes far beyond just a logo:
“Visual identity (of which a logo is one small part) bridges the world between your strategy and all of your executional elements. Visual identity includes logos, typography (fonts), colors, elements, general aesthetic and photo/illustration examples—all the things you need to define your look and create consistency in execution.
But not just any visual identity will do. Your visual identity should communicate and influence customer perception in a very intentional way. It should be more than just a logo and it must be based on your brand positioning strategy.”
Once you are clear about your business strategy and your brand values have been established, you are ready to hire a designer and start developing your brand’s visual identity.
4. Use Your Branding to Set Expectations
Your branding should give an accurate representation of the services you provide. Though certain visual elements may be tempting to use for their trendiness or beauty, if they do serve the purpose and vision of your brand, they should be avoided. Chris Yoko, CEO of YokoCo.com, shares that your brand has to be aligned with who you are, what you do and where you are going:
“If you're old school, lean into that, don't brand yourself as ultra futuristic. If you're hand crafted, don't brand as industrial (and vice versa).
In the hundreds of rebrands we've been a part of, the ones that don't go well are the ones where organizations (and people) attempt to brand themselves as something they aren't (and something they aren't becoming). While I believe your brand should project who you are becoming, it still needs to be an honest and authentic reflection of you.”
5. Stay Consistent and Coherent
This point was emphasized by several of our interviewees, particularly by Thrive Agency and Virtually Empowered. When potential customers and clients are researching your brand, consistency and clarity are encouraging—and often necessary—elements of what they’re looking for. Having different logos for different social media sites or incompatible visual styles across your range of products can be distracting and confusing to the viewer. By staying consistent across your visual branding spectrum, you create repeat impressions that drive customer engagement.
Coherency in your branding means making sure all of your design elements are visually compatible. According to Katie Mattson Craig of Designed for Momentum, this is one of the largest mistakes that business owners make when it comes to branding:
“If brand colors, logos, fonts and design styles are all over the place, clients who are interested in your brand have trouble following you because they don’t realize it’s you! Creating consistency helps you to be recognized, identified and promotes a trust factor as you become more visible.”
Promote Your Brand the Right Way
With the advice of these experts, you can start taking steps to build a better brand image. To make the most of these tips, you’ll want to utilize professionally produced branded products. At Instant Imprints®, we work to understand your visibility goals and help you create a brand image that conveys the qualities of your business. If you have any questions along the way, our Image Experts can assist you in every stage of development. Best of all, production of your branded goods is all done in-house at your local Instant Imprints Center. To start your journey toward a better brand, visit your local Instant Imprints today.