5 branding considerations you should think about when setting up a company

While your brand will undoubtedly evolve as your business grows, you should be thinking about building a strong brand from the get go. Here’s how…

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There are many things to consider when setting up a company – and one of the most important elements is your brand. It’s fair to say that there are a lot of different ways a brand can work – and it’s actually an ever evolving thing. However there are a lot of considerations for branding in the initial stages of company formation.

Here we examine the top five brand considerations that start-ups should be thinking about – which will hopefully make the process of brand development just a little bit smoother, something that’s very important in the initial stages of a company.

So, let’s begin.

Who is your competition?

One thing that you really need to build a brand is a good awareness of your competition. If you can accurately assess your competition, you can more easily create a reputable and definable brand – because you have a basis from which to differentiate your business.

When you’re assessing the competition, consider the following in order to make your brand more defined:

  • Image – If you see that your competitors all have a similar kind of image or colour scheme, try to differentiate them in a visual sense. This can help you to stand out from the crowd.
  • Message – Messaging is a key way to differentiate your business from others. A unique tone of voice can really change the perception of your brand and make it unique.
  • Values – Try to think what the values of your own business are in comparison to others. If your competitors are ‘Flexible’, ‘Reliable’ and ‘Decisive’ as a business then maybe try to find different or bolder values to help you stand out.

Rather than just seeing them as a threat, your competitors can be a source of inspiration to help guide your brand progression. There is no point in creating a brand that’s not distinct in some way – so make sure you do your research.

What’s your USP?

If you’re starting a business you hopefully have something that makes your company unique and better, or just different, than others in your sector. As a result, you might want to try and define your unique selling point and build your brand around that. This is a great way to find a unique point of view.

Thinking about your unique selling point can be tricky, but identifying it can be easier with the following tips:

  • Services – Is there some aspect of your service that is unusual or otherwise unique? If so, shout about it in your brand! For example, are you a law firm that specialises in a certain practice most don’t? If so, shout about it and make yourself stand out.
  • Pricing – If you have figured out a cheaper way to deliver a quality service, you could build your brand around this. If you’ve developed a tech solution you could easily share that with customers to position yourself more uniquely in your market.
  • Proposition – A business proposition is the explanation of the benefit you give your customers or clients, and how you’re the better company over others. Define what you do in a simple way to make your brand pop. For example, “We clean carpets quicker than anyone else” is a simple proposition that can form a key component of your brand.

Positioning yourself as a unique force is the most important part of defining a brand that stands out – so make sure you make the effort to discover or develop your USP – and incorporate it into your brand.

Do you have a mantra/slogan?

Coming up with a mantra or slogan (even if it’s just an internal one for you or your employees) can give you a way to structure your brand. Corporate slogans or values can really enhance a brand and serve as a guiding force for future business activities.

Google had ‘Don’t Be Evil’, IBM had ‘Think’ and Adidas had ‘Impossible is nothing’ – so you can see how the motto reflects the brand. Try to be bold, but keep it simple. There’s no point in having an overly complex slogan as it makes it much harder to follow.

Are you providing excellent customer service?

Customer service is a very important aspect of brand, as service dramatically affects the reputation of your company. Brand is not just about image – it’s about providing a great product that is associated with the brand – and support is an aspect of your products that you really need to consider.

There are plenty of different types of product – but so long as you support the needs of your customers you can very much enhance your brand for a much more complete brand image. If you’ve got a competitor that is providing better service, you should seek to match that so your brand becomes intertwined with that sense of reputation and caring.

People love it when you care about their needs in business, many people will forgive the occasional mistake or error so long as it is dealt with promptly and correctly.

How much time should you spend on your logo?

Now, it can be a little bit tempting to focus on a logo when it comes to brand. For example a start-up can invest substantial amounts of time and energy into creating the ‘perfect’ logo. But the reality is that you really don’t need to focus so much on a logo – it’s not the be all and end all, and it’s okay to tweak or change it down the line.

Almost every company has a logo that improves and evolves over time – so there are a lot of different ways to go, but consider the following when it comes to logos or design:

  • Time – The most precious commodity for your business is time, so don’t waste it creating a perfect logo or colour scheme. Logos are a small part of the overall marketing or business plan – so make sure you’ve got the balance right.
  • Money – If you’ve got huge amounts of capital, you might be able to outsource your logo design to a high-end designer – but more likely you’re trying to save wherever you can. So, keep an emphasis on the budget and make sure you don’t over commit in the early days.
  • Effort – You should focus on your logo, but make sure you have a balance with the rest of your brand considerations. Brands make the logo, not the other way around.

Logos can be great signifiers for a brand as they do have value which the written word doesn’t deliver – but don’t give them more weighting than they deserve.

Additional considerations

There are of course a lot of different considerations when it comes to branding – the following are some additional points that might make the branding process more efficient for your start-up.

  • Outsourcing Research – If you can’t find a brand niche, but still have a good business idea, you can outsource some research that makes use of focus groups and other techniques that can give you a good sense of what potential customers might want.
  • Market Research – Taking a look at your competitors has been mentioned, but doing broader market research such as examining the local area you intend to do business in can give you broader insights that are useful for brands.
  • International – If you’re a digital business like a web developer, or you’re selling digital products online, you can operate internationally with ease. Keeping an open mind for international considerations is a good idea.

When you put together a business it’s a constant state of building. You’re always making a progression towards a business goal, and it’s understandable that your brand will change or develop as time goes on.

When you’re a young company, branding is important – but remember the strength of your idea is what’s really important.

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