You've got a business idea that kicks butt, and you're bursting at the seams to get cracking. But before you register that business name or go all ‘el cheapo’ on your logo, let's talk about business branding. In particular, why your business needs a bad-ass brand strategy, not just a logo.
A common mistake that new business owners make is thinking that a business name, a website and a logo are all they need to get going. Sure, it's a start. It's a great start. But, without a brand strategy, you'll find it hard to build trust with your ideal customer and difficult to grow your business.
Let’s explore the differences between a logo and a brand in more depth.
What’s a logo?
A logo is a tangible, small design that helps consumers instantly recognise a business, organisation, product or brand. Logo design is typically carried out by professional graphic designers (like me).
A business logo can be:
a graphic mark
a stylised name
It can even be a combination of the above. But having a logo is not the same as having a brand. It’s only one piece of your branding puzzle.
What is branding?
A brand is much more than the way you present your business visually. A brand also communicates your business vision and voice. It’s everything you would love your customers to think, feel, know and experience with your business.
Your brand strategy can be a mixture of these elements:
shape (for products)
graphics or illustrations
Importantly, when all the aspects of your brand are working together, you've got a powerful tool to help your business stand out and outshine your competitors.
Brand strategy benefits
To grow your business, you need to get to know your brand. The biggest benefit of brand strategy is that it helps you to develop trust with your ideal customer. And when your prospects and customers trust you, they’re more likely to buy from you. Sounds good, right?
Let’s dive into six more big branding benefits you should consider.
1. A strong brand strategy lights up your business
When you have a strong brand and a clear purpose, buyers will see the difference between your offering and those of your competitors. It doesn't matter if your product or service isn't unique. A well-developed brand strategy lights up your business and appeals to your ideal customers. People will choose your business because of your brand.
2. Branding builds credibility
When we think about our buying behaviour, most of us place a lot of emphasis on reputation and how we feel about a business. With a cohesive and recognisable brand, your business will start building credibility. In turn, you’ll encourage customers to trust your offerings, put faith in your brand and consistently buy from you.
3. Branding shares your story
A brand strategy helps you share your business story more effectively. Your brand helps to explain who you are, what you do, who you do it for and why you do it. This vital information satisfies people’s need to know more about your business. It’s exactly what ideal customers need so they can decide if you’re the right fit for them.
4. Branding inspires customer loyalty
A brand strategy will build recognition and loyalty for your business. By using your brand to show what your business stands for, you will develop connections with people that have similar values.
Great branding inspires customers to stay with you, to grow as you grow and to share your business with their friends and family.
5. Consistent branding helps you run your business
As a business owner, you want to make running your business as smooth as possible. By developing a strong brand strategy, you can easily keep things consistent and make quicker decisions when it comes to engaging with your ideal customers.
With a go-to ‘brand bible’, you won't have to question what colours or fonts you should use on your website, or what tone of voice to use in your communications. A well communicated brand strategy will also make it easier for your employees to deliver the same level of consistency and uphold your brand values.
6. Business branding will save you money and time
Building a knock-your-socks-off brand strategy from the start of your business will save you time and money in the long run. You'll have a clear picture of how to use your brand to appeal to, and communicate with, your ideal customer.
Don’t make the mistake of starting out with a trial and error approach. Making changes to your logo design, your website or your brand colours will cost you big bucks.
Start building your brand
Now that you know what a brand is, why it’s more than just a logo and how a brand strategy will grow your business, you might be wondering what’s next.
To help you, I’ve created a Brand Strategy Checklist. By using this checklist, not only will you know what to do next, you’ll also have a good understanding of the design assets that you need to build your brand and where to find the right help.