Top 5 tips to creating a solid brand identity
Launching a business is no easy feat. You've got the next big thing right there in front of you, the market research and study groups have shown it's potential, but getting it out there in front of your target audience is a completely different ball game, there's a reason the FTSE 500 invest hundreds of thousands of pounds a year on creating a brand people can trust.
We know, you've not got the capital of a FTSE 500 company, that's why South Coast Design are happy to share their top 5 tips to establishing a brand from the get-go that people can rely on and see you as the expert in your business sector.
1) Future-proof your brand - This means getting a design team on board that will be able to create a brand identity that safeguards you from all expansion possibilities. It's fine having a fun, welcoming, informal logo for your business when you're starting out, trying to seem different and quirky. But what happens when you want to franchise your business or approach larger supply chains to take on bulk orders of your product? That cute, half-serious logo isn't so much of a useful tool now is it? You need to hit a happy medium with your company logo. A logo that not only portrays a message to your customers and clients but also keeps you looking professional for years to come, saving you on costly re-brands over the next valuable years of your companies lifespan.
2) Find what makes you different - In the vast majority of business start ups, your great idea has already been done by 20 other entrepreneurs already. Sorry to say it, or at least a variation of your business model has been attempted. Whether they succeeded before you or not is somewhat irrelevant as long as you can identify what makes you different and why customers and clients should choose you over the next sliced bread. Find out and make that your USP, keep it as the mantra of your daily marketing strategy and exploit it. You'd be surprised how many companies approach us asking us how they should market their product and while we're happy to look at their competition and find potential niches that are currently untapped. As a business owner you should really go into business knowing that your product/service is going to sell itself based on the merits that it's the first of it's kind. Otherwise you're constantly going to be following in a more successful competitors footsteps.
3) Surround yourself with inspiration - As a business owner it's hard to loose sight of the fact that you have overheads to cater for, staff to pay and invoices to manage, but that doesn't mean that you have to stop searching for inspiration to drive your brand forward. What gave you your initial drive to start your own business? Do you remember? Isolate yourself around those conditions and keep renewing your drive towards your business. Constantly remind yourself why you're where you are in the first place and keep that mantra evident in all of your quarterly marketing meetings. This will help you build a brand that is constantly being refreshed by your own self determination, which is far stronger than a brand built from the latest market trends and viral marketing fads.
4) Hire staff who know better than you - Let's face it... no one on this planet is the best at everything and at some point in a business owners mind they have to realise that. Sure, you came up with the product or niche in the market. But that's not going to translate to unarguable, solid annual revenue that ultimately keeps your business dreams alive. You need to learn that building a brand is about building a team from within and investing in the people that build up it's foundations. "You can't run an empire from the ground floor" - something I live by today. You have to be able to look at your business like a game of chess, looking down on your pieces and assessing which move is going to be the best in the current game that you're playing, against any opposition. You need to hire the Knights, Rooks, Bishops, Kings and Queens and stop opting for the Pawns if you can. They're the more valuable pieces and are going to allow you to gain more market share, acquire new clients and sell more products.
5) Invest in your brand - Your brand is the best, it is! That's why you have to invest in it. Now this doesn't loosely equate to frivolously spending on un-targeted advertising, this means taking the time to respect the niche that you're in, understand it's target market and push your brand where your potential clients are going to be looking. Sometimes this means going right to the head of the snake and purchasing adverts for a higher premium than you might be comfortable with but it will be worth it. The big players don't mess around with little fish, if you know 80% of your core market are visiting a certain website then ask for rates to advertise there. Create engaging copy that will give your viewers valuable information that they can't get from anywhere else. It's better to spend £1,000 advertising on a high traffic, quality website over a period of 1-3 months than to spend £1,000 advertising on a low traffic inferior website over a period of 12 months.
We hope you found these top 5 tips to building your brand useful. They have been carefully thought out by the guys over at South Coast Design, an award winning design agency specialising on corporate branding and advertising.
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