How long does it take to build a brand? There is a Chinese proverb which says: “the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is today.” The sooner you begin, the better, but don’t rush. There is nothing worse than an ill-conceived concept and design. Any creative person will tell you good design takes time. Your brand has to be thought through, planned and executed strategically. It may only take 6 months to design a brand, but you should always be maintaining, developing and evolving your brand. Good brands are well-designed and planned, great brands are constantly evolving, growing and developing. Here are some usefull tips to help you along the way:
I can’t stress enough: you must check your proposed brand name is not currently being used or under copyright. It’s best to use a name which is not currently used by any other business and is not the name of a book, film or location as this will make getting to the top of Google harder. You need to use a name which can be found with a quick Google search of itself.
Break the Rules
A lot of business strategists will say you should use a name that describes what a business does or evokes its values – Apple? Amazon? Some of the biggest brands in the world don’t go by this rule. I would argue it’s easier to use a word or phrase out of context which has little or no associations, which will allow you to build a brand easier. Moby Dick’s Coffee would always make people think of the book/film/white whale, but Starbuck’s coffee (Starbuck is a character from Moby Dick) is a nod to the book without the associated baggage.
What are your core values and services?
They might be: quality, customer service, green credentials, non-profit, family, speed, ease of use… this list goes on. What does your business care about? What does your business offer? Who are your customers? When do you sell, what do you sell? What’s the added value? How do you want to be perceived? Where are your customers?
Once you have all your businesses elements, start working out what links them all together; from this you can develop your concept/theme to build your brand on.
Use a Brand Designer to build a brand
A good brand designer will add value 100-fold. They know how to knit the threads of your brand together in a beautifully creative way. They will also be able to design the brand, creating your visual language, and style guide to ensure all elements of your brand moving forward follow the same artistic guidelines. You may want to hire a brand designer on a retainer, ensuring your brand is evolving and progressing as your business grows, or you may want to consult on an hourly basis for advice and guidance. Either way a study by the UK design council says that for every £1 invested in design, a business can expect to receive an additional £20 in revenue.
Use Colour & Typography
Colour and Typography are the most important elements of your brand from a design point of view. With the right combination you can evoke emotions from light-hearted and whimsical, dark and macabre and everything in-between. It instantly sets the tone showing your customers what sort of business you are before they even read the first word. Get this right and everything should fall into place. It is worth researching your industry standards and deciding whether you would be pest placed to fit in, or break the mould.
Be your best business
The best way to build your brand is to keep producing the best of what you do. Whether that means being the best customer services, the best value, the highest quality, the most expertise. Foster a reputation and let the word spread. Your customers are your best sales people, and they will promote your brand for you; if you deliver for them – give them something to tell their friends, and make sure it’s a good thing.
Keep It real
Does what it says on the tin. Just be honest. Demonstrate your strengths and expertise. Don’t try to be something you’re not because it will come back to bite you, doing irreparable damage to your brand in the process.