What is branding and why should you care?
Branding is creating an image for your company, its products or services. The branding of your company is a reflect of you, the company owner. This is especially important for new and small business owners to understand. When you are starting up your business, you want to stand out from the crowd and you want a branding image that is easily recognizable by your customers. Good branding follows the same rules of good design; simple design, be consistent, and make it memorable. All good designers follow these basic elements to help you to create your brand.
Key Elements to Good Branding
Simplicity in branding and logo design entails keeping your logo and brand name clean and simple. Real world examples are Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Apple, Nike, Levi, Tim Hortons and Ford to name a few. All of these brands have these things in common; an incredibly simple brand/logo that is consistent across all their products and services and an image that consumers remember and associate with the company products and services! As a new small business owner, you might think its quaint and homey to use your nephews hand drawn picture of his favourite car for the logo of your new auto service store. But does this reflect how you want your customers to see you? If your aim is to serve only your neighbourhood, family and friends then by all means, use that cute refrigerator artwork. Branding also entails your company name. Fred’s Friendly Auto Service Centre might be a nice tagline but it’s not a name that consumers will remember consistently. Another aspect of your branding to keep in mind is to try to limit the number of colours in your logo to a maximum of three, with two being preferable. The reasons for this are again, maintaining simplicity and reducing your costs when you decide to have signs, shirts, uniforms, hats and many other advertising products printed. Silk-screeners, embroiders and sign-makers will charge you extra for the additional colours you use in your logo.
Consistency in branding is key for global and small businesses. Once you decide on your logo, its two or three colours and your catchy and memorable company name; DON’T CHANGE IT! Use the same branding on everything, your business cards, flyers, web site; everywhere that you want to advertise your business to your customers. Even small changes such as colour can confuse consumers and your business is no longer memorable.
For example: The Ford Oval
The first Ford Oval trademark was introduced in 1907. While there have been a few small changes to the logo, essentially the Ford branding has not changed in more than a century. Ford and its products are recognizable world-wide.
Another great example of branding consistency is Coca-Cola:
Frank Mason Robinson created the Coca–Cola logo in 1885. Today the logo remains virtually unchanged since the inception of the brand. Another great example of a product and brand that is recognizable world-wide.
Make it Memorable
Lastly, your branding should be memorable. This quality is sure to follow if you paid attention to keeping it simple and consistent. An easy to remember company name along with a bold, simple logo that remains consistent in every bit of publication you produce for your company will work towards creating a brand that is memorable by your customers. If you see the name Tim Hortons, immediately you think of coffee and donuts. Levis is jeans. Ford is cars and trucks. There is no confusion and the brand becomes a part of the urban vernacular.
So just how do you achieve all of this? As a new business owner, its hard to give up responsibilities to outside sources. Its your “baby” afterall, and as a proud parent, you want to be central to its development and growth, right? You don’t need to give up the ownership of your ideas, but if you find yourself going round and round, spending sleepless nights and harried days thinking about your company, what to call it and what your logo should look like; why not put your trust into a graphic designer? Present your passionate ideas and ideals for your “baby” to a designer. Then when your designer returns to you with a few ideas they created fueled by your passion, you can then move forward and onwards to more important things; like growing your business.