So you’re ready to get serious about your branding?
You’re at the tipping point of your business. To grow you need to establish yourself more professionally and provide a positioning framework for promoting yourself to attract new clients. Or else, your business has changed so much since you started that you hardly recognise your existing brand in any of your marketing material.
But where to from here?
Your brand, your new logo, your new colours, your new positioning statement will be a flagship for your business. It can be daunting to establish yourself as a brand and communicate a clear message about who you are, what you’re selling and why customers should do business with you.
For a start, you need to be able to communicate who you are and what you can offer in a concise way to a brand agency or designer.
As a brand strategist and graphic designer, I’ve worked with enough clients to know that sometimes they find it very difficult to explain their business to me. How do they describe their USP, their brand promise, their why? Even understanding this terminology can be daunting for them.
Well, here’s another way of looking at it. Let’s talk about clothes. Every morning you choose something from your wardrobe to wear and usually by the time you’re walking out the door you have a look that projects to the world your sense of style and personality. You might seem professional or more casual, or your clothes may be formal or flamboyant. It was probably easy to choose your clothes without focusing on who you are and how you appear. But if I asked you to tell me why you chose them or what kind of personality you were hoping to communicate by wearing them, you’d probably find that very difficult, and that’s because I’m asking you to tell me about your own personal brand.
It can be the same with your business. After immersing yourself in establishing your business and being caught up in day-to-day operations, there hasn’t been much time for you to take a step back and identify who you are to your customers and how you want the world to look at your product or service.
I noticed many of my clients had difficulty with this process, so I established a range of branding and design packages to suit different business sizes, and within these packages, I established a briefing procedure that I now use as the first step towards every brand we develop. The discussion during this process gives us a foundation and direction for our design.
So, what should you think about before picking up the phone and briefing an agency?
What is the personality of your business? Are you solid, quirky, respectable, responsible, reliable, friendly or choose from a range of other personality traits.
Why should a customer choose you rather than your competitor? Do you offer a more competitive price, better service, a higher quality product, to name a few?
What makes you or your product unique? Do you have a patented design, use unique materials, are your staff more highly qualified?
Who is your customer? Where do you find them, what do they look like, why do they need your product or service?
What do you want from your marketing material? To establish yourself, sell a particular product or service, educate current clients?
What do you LOVE about your business? Really think about this, because it makes it easier to demonstrate to your clients why they should love your business too!
Why do you do what you do? Answering this question makes you dig a little deeper to find out your motivation for everything you do.
With this knowledge, you can establish a brand that will drive the design across every marketing channel. I want my clients to stand proudly behind their brand. I want their brand to communicate their values and their offer so clearly that it’s not only successful in promoting their business, it motivates them to maintain the business practices that support it.
When you communicate your brand clearly to your audience, not only will you have a vibrant and successful marketing platform, you’ll attract the right type of customers. If even before the first sale your potential customers feel an affinity for who you are and why you’re in business, you’ve taken the first step toward establishing a solid client relationship.
Jo O'Connor was born and bred in the Hunter Valley. She has worked locally and in London and, during her career, worked as a graphic designer, art director, in management, business analytics, workflow consultation and software training. Jo is the Managing Director of the successful brand and design studio Ronnoco based in Newcastle, NSW. In 2016 Jo noticed start-ups and small businesses were gravitating to her for help and advice. She created Ask Jo to offer easy to understand branding and design packages that help businesses connect with their audience.