If you’re local to Aberystwyth or Aberaeron – this blog post is our latest feature in the February 2019 EGO’s Digital Marketing column.

Branding is such an important part of any business, but in my experience working in marketing, it’s an aspect of business that sometimes isn’t taken seriously, or given the appreciation it really deserves. Some people will say, “I don’t need a brand”, or “what’s the point of it?” – well, let me tackle that for you.

A strong brand is important because it’s what makes a memorable impression of your business to your potential and current customers. Having a brand improves recognition, so if you’re sharing posts on social media with strong branding, it’s easily recognised and for those loyal customers, more likely engaged with. A strong brand will create trust, it can inspire employees, it supports all of your advertising and most importantly, with a strong brand message, you’ll generate new customers.

Before we delve into how to create a brand for your business, let’s ask the question – what MAKES a good brand?

A good brand will have strong aesthetics, it will evoke trust, have a personality, be easy to understand, be honest and will be innovative – constantly evolving. A brand isn’t just your logo (or even your colour palette and business fonts) – it’s everything else surrounding it. It’s how you market yourself, how you appear to others, it’s your brand personality.

Before we can start creating a brand, you need to have a good think about your business. What are your values? What is your mission? Have you got a vision and goals? What do you think you offer that other businesses in the same field don’t? What sets you apart from everyone else? Answers to these questions will help you shape your brand. If you can, why not ask your customers or work colleagues/family what they think? They might have answers that surprise you.

So we’ve established these key points, which means we can now look at your branding.

Here are the key steps I’d recommend when creating a brand:

  1. Alongside your vision, mission, values and goals – create your mission statement. This is different to a tagline, for example Nike’s mission statement is “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world”, whereas their tagline is “Just Do It”.
  2. Figure out who your target audience are (this makes some of the other steps a little easier, but especially planning your marketing strategy in the future). Target audiences can include things like age, gender, location and occupation.
  3. Check out the other brands in your sector – but never imitate. See what they do well and where they go wrong. You can use this to see how you can make your brand stand out and win customers. You might find that businesses in one sector go for similar looking logos (for example, electricians using light bulbs or lightening bolts), and by researching you can then see what to avoid so that you stand out.
  4. Create a logo and decide on a tagline. You have all of the tools now to start planning a great logo that will have impact for your business, and a strong tagline to go alongside it. Make your tagline punchy, and be proud of it. Nothing sells better than passion, and if you’re proud of your tagline, that passion will ooze through to your customers and through your brand. For a logo choose your fonts and colours wisely. Each has different associations, for example here are some colour associations to consider:
    1. Red: exciting, powerful, youthful, bold, physical, active.
    2. Blue: trust, ambition, strong, dependable, open, modern.
    3. Green: peaceful, balance, healthy, growth, clarity, safety.
    4. Orange: friendly, warmth, confident, optimistic, freedom, motivation.
    5. Purple: creative, deep, wise, royal, individual, fantasy.
    6. Grey: balance, calm, neutral.
  5. Decide on your brand language. This is how you communicate with your customers online and offline, and will come mainly from your values. So if you have honesty or openness as a value, then you might want to consider a more conversational brand voice. A brand voice can be professional, friendly, technical, promotional, information, conversational – even cheeky. Think of your brand as a person and the way that person would talk or come across.
  6. Next, you need a clear brand message and elevator pitch. This is for when people ask what it is you do. So, define who you are, what you offer and why people should care. Rather than waffling an answer, have a great reply straight from the off that complements your new strong brand!

If you’re still not sure about whether you should have a brand (or even a rebrand), check out the competition and decide how strong you think your brand is. If it’s weak, it’s likely forgettable. If you take away only one thing from this article, then take away my motto for 2019: Be More You.