There are a lot of different components to creating a new business, and a new brand. Assuming that you got the business part covered, what should you have in terms of branding when you first start out?
Businesses are different and so are the relevant industries, but here are the absolute basics that I think every new business should have.
Who exactly are you? Why do you do what you do? How do you want people to feel about your brand?
A logo, stationery (business cards, letterhead etc.), and most importantly your brand guidelines.
You don’t have a website = You do not exist. Which sane person would ever give you their business if you don’t have a website? In today’s world an absolute must!
There is of course a lot more to creating a business but if you have the basics above covered, you’re in a good place. You can start promoting your new sexy brand online and offline, and you’ll know exactly what to tell people when asked about your business and how it came about.
”Fancy logos don’t make businesses successful, an intriguing brand message does!
1. Brand Strategy
This is an absolute must have for every business which, unfortunately, often gets overlooked. People like to skip this step and go straight into creating fancy logos and visuals without really knowing what the look and feel of the brand should be. Fancy logos don’t make businesses successful, an intriguing brand message does! And if you don’t have a message you’ll appear like a company without a real purpose.
Who are you catering to / what’s your ideal audience? What are your main brand attributes and goals? What should people feel when they connect with your brand? What should your brand look like, e.g. luxurious, casual, friendly? What are internal strengths that should be focused on? These and many other questions should be answered before even thinking about the brand visuals. A proper brand strategy will be a roadmap that you can follow in order to cover the necessary touchpoints.
2. Visual Assets
Obviously, there are tons of fancy visuals that you can create but let’s stick to the most basic ones for now. What do people usually see when they first connect with your brand? It’s basic elements such as colours, typography, logo etc. They all trigger a certain reaction in customers and when done right, these elements will help you connect with people on a subconscious level.
During this stage you are laying the foundation for your brand, so it would make a lot of sense to set some basic ground rules and guidelines for what your brand should look like. You are creating a system that will then be applied to everything that you design in the future. Establishing colour codes will ensure that the colours used on your brochure are the same as on your event poster, for example. Setting the minimum sizes of your logo will ensure that your logo is still legible in limited spaces. What fonts should I use on printed materials and which ones do I use in my powerpoint or website? And so on and so forth. Establishing such a system will make your life a lot easier in the future.
3. Online presence
Another must have in today’s business world. Even if it’s a simple website that is based on the visual guidelines that you’ve created earlier and one that is in tune with your brand strategy as well as your visual identity you’ll leave a much stronger impression and people will see you as a legitimately professional business. So if your business URL still reads www.wix.mybusiness.com or you are still using a firstname.lastname@example.org email address for your business, GO GET IT FIXED!
Nowadays there are a lot of quick and affordable solutions to create a beautiful and effective website, e.g. WordPress, Webflow or Shopify for eCommerce sites. With such solutions available to everyone there is really no excuse not to have a professional online presence. What makes a website really successful, however, is the content that people will find on it. So do invest some time into writing interesting and professional copy for your brand, or get a proper copywriter to help you with that.