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Fundamentals of Building Your Business Brand

The logo is the  cog in the wheel of your business from which all print + web media pivot. It’s the visual voice of the company brand. Does it speak well of you?

The first step involves getting clarity about what you’re branding. Look at your business goals to determine if this brand will be a one-and-only or will it be linked to other products and services immediately or down the road. Then plot, plan and decide on the relationship between your business and your brand.
Analyze your offer and the market from which it will compete. This is known as the Discovery phase, comprising of two steps:
1. Research your customers – who they are and what motivates their buying decisions. Then analyze the market to discover what already exists and how is the offer you’re branding is different and how you are better.
2. How are you unique? How does your product or service answer your customer’s needs?
Determine the market position. Positioning refers to how you’ll differentiate your brand in order to determine where your business will be placed in the market. You’ll convince the market to buy from you only if you can convince them in a split second that you’ll provide unique solutions to your problems or needs that aren’t already being addressed.
1. Be sure your unique selling feature is communicated clearly.
2. Perform so well that no competitor can compete. The mantra: “Leave your clients ecstatic with the end result” will encourage a loyal following and begin a conversation about your service as customers share what they like (or dislike) with their friends and family .
Your brand definition describes your offer, why you offer it, how your offering is meaningfully different and better, the unique benefits of your business and the promise(s) you make to all who work with and buy from you.

The brand definition can be broken down into the external and the internal face.

The external face is your name, logo, website, ads, packaging, promotions and marketing messages understood by everyone in your network.

The internal face is the substance of what your brand is a stand for. It includes your services, productions, culture, mission, vision and values as well as leadership, management and structure of the larger brand base that lies outside the customer’s view.

This is where branding gets exciting. When your brand comes to life with a name and face – the logo – residents, staff and the general public can start to buy into it.
1. Name – the key that unlocks the brand image in the consumer’s mind. The right name conveys your brand promise and contributes to brand value.
2. Logo – the mark or symbol that is the face of your brand that is placed on signage, stationery, websites, ads, promotional material, etc.
3. Tagline – the key phrase that provides customers with a quick indication of your brand position and promise. It acts to further elaborate the brand essence and brand position.
Your brand launch happens in two phases and in this order;
1. Internal Launch: before launching to the public, the brand needs to be introduced to the people behind the business, from stakeholders, managers and employees to key partners.
2. External Launch: this is when your brand goes public, revealing your identity and the story behind the making of it.
Consistency is key for success at this stage. This is where the brand guidebook plays a key role in maintaining clarity in the overall look and feel of the brand. This is essential to proper brand management by providing the basis to maintain the brand to consistent high standards in the look, message, tone, colour and quality throughout all channels.
Brand realignment. Many entrepreneurs start their business without taking the time to invest in their brand for financial reasons or due to time constraints. A weak brand has a negative effect on public perception. After a few years, the business is often in a financial position to implement a rebranding of the business. At this point, the business owner knows their business and realigns or refreshes the brand promise to reflect their place in their market as well as reflect the changing market needs or trends. Brand realignment is also vital when the brand has outgrown it’s place in the market.

It’s important to stay in touch in your ever changing market in order to keep the brand esteem healthy by realigning and refreshing your brand personality to match the market’s evolving needs. Be sure to find a designer that has their finger on the pulse and who has your best interest in mind with how you are represented in the market.

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