Good branding is crucial in today’s hyper-aware social media age. Without it, businesses risk being drowned out by all the noise. But how do you go about creating a brand that stands out, especially if you are a small organisation?
I was asked to share the Almighty approach to branding at an event organised by Chichester’s thriving business networking group The Chichester Collective.
I shared the stage with Naomi and Sarah, founders of luxury candle brand Seven Seventeen. The company is a great example of a brand with vision: they knew what they wanted to achieve, understood their audience and had the foresight to build a business that was so much more than the product they sell. For ever candle sold, £1 is donated to mental health charities. In addition, the founders have always been honest and engaging about their start-up journey.
At Almighty, we believe that good branding needs to do exactly that: create something bigger and more evocative than just a fancy logo. It’s about communicating what you stand for and bringing it to life. As Simon Sinek, the author and motivational speaker, said: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
The branding process doesn’t have to be complicated. Yes, you might have to invest in some expertise such as a designer or branding studio, but spending a bit of time thinking about what you are trying to achieve will help you hit the ground running once you do sit down with that expert.
We have simplified this process down to eight key steps to take before you see a designer or branding studio. Follow these and you will be well on your way to creating a brand with purpose that will resonate with your audience.
1. Figure our what your mission is: The reason you started your business is a great place to start. Share your story and be honest. Tell it from the start; be brave, be interesting. This will help your designer capture the passion for what you do.
2. Determine your audience: It’s never a good idea to target ‘everyone’. Try and build a profile of your typical customer. What car they drive, where they shop etc?
3. What is your proposition? Try to describe not only what your product is but why your customer needs it.
4. Establish your core values: A brand’s personality goes a long way. Is yours a brand that is fun, informative, educational or technical? Pick three words to help focus your brand personality. This will help keep all your communications consistent.
5. Who are your competitors? Collect reference material to show what they look like and what they say. Choose three brands you aspire to and figure out what you think they do well.
6. Focus on your product: Consider the practical requirements of your product. How big is the range? How many sizes or formats of packs will you need? If you are not selling a product, think about how your service will be delivered.
7. Don’t forget retail distribution: Your designer will need to know whether this is an online-only brand or where it might be retailed. Independent stores, supermarkets, or high-end department stores? Each will have their own challenges for design.
8. Be yourself: it is important to be mindful of your customer, but above all, be yourself. Authenticity always wins. To help find a brand voice and visual identity that you connect with, build a mood board looking at colour palette, typography, photography and graphics.
We love being part of The Collective community. Abby and Helen have brought together a really creative and diverse range of entrepreneurs and independent local businesses. Judging by the many questions fired at me after my talk, great branding is a key aspect of their growth stories and long may that be so.