Updated – June 2016. Branding is the heart of your business. Branding is arguably more important for a small business as it is for a big one because your brand needs to work harder and communicate greater meaning. When you don’t have a lot of money to spend on advertising to get your brand out there, your brand needs to cut-through and resonate with people. Successful brands start by having a clear brand strategy – they know what they stand for how they want to be perceived and by whom.
Your brand is your commitment to your customers. It has to reflect what your customers say and what they want to hear. Also, it must differentiate your product(s) or service(s) from your competitors.
But how do you get to that place of having a successful and meaningful brand? Whether you are starting out from scratch or looking to tweak or refresh an existing brand, these tools and tactics will help you.
Ideas for your business/brand name
We recommend that you brainstorm at least 10 names for your business initially and narrow down from there. Here are some techniques you can try when naming your brand:
- Use the founder or inventor’s name (e.g. Peter Lehmann Wines)
- Represent partnership or merger (e.g. Elance-oDesk)
- Describe what you do (e.g. Marketing Angels)
- Use for an acronym (e.g. ANZ)
- Underscore an experience or image (e.g. Boost Juice)
- Combine and shorten (e.g. Telstra for Telecom Australia)
- Take a word out of context (e.g. Apple)
- Make up a word (e.g. Google)
- Create an unusual, totally random yet catchy word (e.g. Lululemon)
Great online branding tools to help with naming
Wordoid – For short and catchy business, product or domain names.
GoDaddy – For your online presence; List of AU domain names
RhymeZone – Work with rhymes, synonyms, definitions and more.
Panabee – Generates domain name, an app name or business name.
Google Translate – A go-to place to test global brand names.
Testing your brand name.
As soon as you’ve selected a name, test it! Make sure:
- It’s not yet taken or too similar to an existing trade name.
- It has a nice ring to it. It should sound good over the phone (For example, when a sales rep calls a prospect).
- It’s not confusing, constantly mispronounced or misspelled.
- It conveys what you need it to convey and doesn’t have negative connotation.
- It has a URL that works with it.
Tools to help you decide on the look and feel of your branding.
To develop the look and feel that will best communicate how great is your brand, we find that the best starting point is a mood board. Try these for inspiration:
Pinterest – Offers a diverse collection of images to draw mood board references from.
Moodstream – This is a giant image bank from Getty Images. It’s a brainstorming tool for new ideas with an assortment of images, footage, and music.
MoodBoard – Develop inspiring boards to share with anyone in just three steps.
a) Start with the search tool to find and save the best media online, including images, videos, sounds, colours and fonts.
b) Create a collaborative mood board.
c) Share your creations and get feedback in real-time with your team or client.
Designing your logo and other graphic requirements
Color is extremely important in branding. When someone looks at a logo, the color is the foremost thing that they remember. Keep in mind that quality is key.
Here are some design services you can explore:
- 99Designs – Is the world’s largest online marketplace for graphic design (both for logo and web). It’s a popular design contest/crowdsourcing model saves you time and money. Be wary though – you will need a lot of time to manage the process and you need to have a very clear brief.
First step is to submit a project brief which includes:
a) The words appearing in the logo, if any.
b) A description of graphics or images that you want to be incorporated
c) The style of the logo
d) Examples of logos you like
Once submitted, a competition becomes open to the thousands of designers which are registered with 99designs. You’ll receive sample designs after a few days. After selecting the design you like, just pay the contest fee. No need to pay anything if you don’t like any of the submitted designs.
- DesignCrowd – Is another crowdsourcing design service Aussie businesses can utilise to outsource their design projects. Simply list a job for a logo or web design and receive over 100 different designs from designers all around the world. A typically logo design project costs between $200 and $400.
- Hire a freelancer – There are a great number of freelance graphic designers in Australia. You can look at Freelancer or ask recommendations from friends and peers.
Keep in mind that “cheap” doesn’t usually equate to quality. Allow ample time for development of your design. You cannot put a clock to inspiration or quality.
- Hire a quality creative designer – Work with your marketing company to develop a strong creative brief, and engage their designer to come up with concepts. Whilst it may cost more, you do get what you pay for when it comes to design. You are less likely to go back and forth with lots of changes and end up with a high quality design that will stand the test of time.
Developing your brand story
Come up with a powerful brand story that builds emotional connections.
“Since discovering Lego at the age of 4 our founder Jo Builder has never stopped being amazed at what can be created through buildings and bricks.”
Sounds so much more engaging than:
“Jo Builder Constructions was established in 2000 and is committed to creating quality constructions on time and on budget”
Your brand story is a perfect catalyst to building brand loyalty and brand value. Engage a writer to help you create your brand language and brand story.
Protect your brand value
To keep your brand’s integrity intact, get a trademark for your business’ logo, name, tag line, etc. Go to IP Australia to get a step-by-step guide.
A well-managed brand can increase in value year after year. To make sure you’re still on the right track, use Google’s Brand Impression Tool to monitor your online branding.
Make your brand an experience. Be focussed with your objectives. Be fearless, but always stay true to your brand’s voice. Remember it takes a lifetime to build a good reputation, but only a minute to lose it.
It takes relentless effort to build a brand. It means constantly putting your brand out there in a consistent way.
For further branding help or advice, get in touch with us!