By: Tom Ogg
Your business brand will go a long way to build your specific niche and establish your expertise. Since you have already decided on your business concept, created a business plan, decided on what type of ownership you will take, chosen a business name and crafted your UVP, it is time to establish your business brand.
There is a lot of hype in our industry about branding, but it is really very simple. Remember the old western movies where they used to brand their cattle so that they would know who owned the cattle on the open range? The rancher with the three pine trees by the entrance to his ranch may have used an image of three pine trees. The rancher with the big “W” hanging over his ranch entrance may have use a big “W” as his brand.
Your brand is indicative of who you are and what you do. As an example, if you sell African safaris your brand should shout that in every way. Your branding effort should ripple throughout your marketing efforts so that it becomes so familiar to clients that the instant they see “your brand” they know it is you and what to expect. So let’s take a look at how to properly set your branding in motion.
Your Logo: You should put a good deal of time considering your logo for your business. While at first it may seem like a lot of effort, it will pay you dividends for the life of your business. There are many considerations, but here are some of the top ones.
Your UVP: Your logo should SHOUT your UVP! Avoid trendy logotypes that are used by large companies in favor of an image that pretty much says it all regarding your niche. If you specialize in selling SCUBA adventures to the Caribbean, your logo should speak to that niche in a way that the image would tell the story by itself. Once you add your business name and UPV tagline to the image, there will be no question what it is that you do.
Scalability: Since your logo may be used in many types of media, it should look just as good small, as it does large. Avoid using type in the logo itself, as it may not be readable when the logo is quite small. Avoid too much detail in your logo in favor of expressing the exact message that you want to deliver, whether the logo is small or large.
Color: Remember that you will be using your logo in many types of media, so don’t make the mistake of using colors that might be difficult to recreate. Stay with web-safe colors and make sure that your logo also looks good in a black and white state. Avoid pinks, beiges and pastels as they are very difficult for those with color blindness to see. Also avoid using too many colors in your logo. Sure, they look great large and on paper, but how difficult are they going to be to read when in other media?
Fonts: If you sell safaris, as an example, avoid the temptation to use that really cool safari font. Stay with strong and bold fonts that are easy to read even when they are small. Never use an artsy font with halftones for your logo and avoid using fonts that are shaded or shadowed. The whole point about using text is so that people can read it it. Remember this when selecting the font for your logotype.
Simple is Better: Think about some of the most memorable logos that come to mind. Nike’s logo couldn’t be more basic. It is simply a shape and that shape is recognized by everyone that sees it. It is unlikely that you will ever get that kind of penetration with your logo, but it should speak to clients of interest and be memorable.
Your Stationery: Now that you have your logo and UVP tagline, it is time to create your stationery. Again, you should engage a professional to layout your presentation. Your stationery should also include your capabilities brochure. Everything that is designed should shout the theme of your logo and UVP tagline. Make sure that it is readable by your intended client and avoid anything that is trendy and popular at the time, as it will date your marketing efforts when trends change. Stay unique to your UVP.
Your Website and Blog: Your Logo, UPV tagline, stationery and capabilities brochure all shout your business brand. You should have your website and / or blog custom designed to continue with this branding. Avoid using a packaged theme and simply dropping your logo into it. Your website is your opportunity to show how unique your UVP is and should add to solidify your brand.
Social Media Pages: Again, a professionally designed page presenting your unique brand is the way to go. When folks visit your social media page it should replicate your unique brand so that there is no question what it is that you represent and your UVP is strongly stated.
Personal Appearance: Nothing can promote your unique brand faster than your personal appearance. I know a cruise agent that always wears a Captain’s hat, a Hawaii agent that is always tan and wears aloha shirts exclusively. Think about how you might take advantage of your unique brand by dressing, or expressing a unique look to compliment your brand. The more you reinforce your unique brand the more credibility and acceptance you will gain from potential clients.