Whether you’re just starting a business, or you’re working on improvements to an existing business, establishing a successful business identity is crucial. An “identity” includes everything from graphic images (i.e. a logo) and colors, to your tag line or slogan, and even a photograph of you, depending on your industry. One will become associated with the other, and vice versa.
Ideally, before you open up shop, you will have established your identity, so that you’re ready to greet the world and they will know who you are. If this is one of the areas you missed, it’s not too late to establish it now and build on that identity and set yourself apart from the other soon-to-be lesser knowns.
As I mentioned, there are several components to the identity of a business, and several items that need to be established before deciding exactly what that identity will be.
- Who’s your target? Will you be marketing to 20 something’s or grandparents?
- Know your value –
- What skills do you offer that others don’t?
- How will you benefit your potential customers?
- Do your services fit your intended market?
- Are you stressing the value you provide over your competitors?
In other words, get a clear picture about what it is you do, how you do it, who you do it for and what you ultimately want your company to be.
How will you develop your brand?
A logo is the symbol that will represent you, your company and what it is you do and stand for. Hire a professional graphic designer that can help you make the most of this. If done well, you can be known just by the symbol, without even the name of your company being present. We all know Nike’s logo, don’t we?
Colors can play a role in an effective brand strategy as well. Keep your color scheme consistent throughout your branding efforts. From your website to business cards to printed materials, the color scheme and aesthetics should be consistent so that your brand will be easily recognized and identified.
If you choose to use a photograph to help market yourself and your firm, choose that photo wisely. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a professional portrait, however if you can afford it, do it. The photo should be pleasant, without distracting surroundings, and you should be dressed appropriately to your business. Eventually your photo will be as recognizable as your logo, so use the same photo in all your marketing materials, including your social media marketing.
Write an elevator pitch. This is a short and sweet version of what it is that you do….short enough that you could say it in the time it takes to ride an elevator. This can then be shortened to use as a tag line or a slogan in conjunction with your logo.
Have business cards and a brochure professionally designed. Use your logo, your slogan, your colors and tie it all together, showing who you and your company are. The brochure can take this a step further and portray your photo, as well as photos of your work, your store or business location and a detailed explanation of what you do and how you will help your clients. Use your logo and slogan to have letterhead, folders and other printed materials made as well. The idea here is to put your logo and your business name in front of people as often as possible.
Build a website or a blog. In this day and age, a business without an effective website won’t be in business for very long. Again, be consistent with your theme, your color scheme, your logo and photos. Have your site professionally designed, and use a copywriter if necessary to put content on your landing pages that will compel your visitor to contact you and buy from you. A website is also the place to put client testimonials, surveys, portfolios, services, free product offers (such as e-books or reports), newsletters, video, audio and more.
Building a successful brand isn’t rocket science, but it is necessary. Be sure to make this a priority and build your own brand, before you’re out there in the world and others are branding you.