You will quickly learn that your brand is one of the most important marketing tools your business has. And if you want your startup to gain any momentum, branding is something that you need to think about very early on. Your brand isn’t just your logo and colour scheme – although those are important factors – it’s also about your reputation, your presence in the community, the things you stand for and the things you don’t.
It’s the overall feel of the company and its employees. Whatever you throw out the the public reflects on the business and the people who work There, the same as whatever your employees do or say is directly reflected on the company.
Which is why so many companies check in on your social media, why teachers have to keep their internet presence clear of drunken nights out, and why those nights out should never be somewhere they can run into students.
The beginning of your brand
To start with focus on a mission statement – something that you feel embodies what you want your company to stand for. Are you about a sustainable future? Or do you work to help the community? The actual building and management of your brand can be helped significantly with a third party company who specifically deal with this area of marketing.
Having a consistent brand is everything, so make sure you start off on the right foot. Next look at the cosmetic things, like a logo and colour scheme these again should reflect your company; a sleek and modern app development company should have a sleek and modern logo, where a florists might have a more creative and flourishing logo.
Your brand needs to not only represent you but also be easily recognisable, so keep it simple, but also relatable – a florist sign depicting robots might not be the best, for example. When someone sees that logo for the first time you want them to think ‘flowers’ not be confused by robots.
Growing your brand
The growth process starts gradually. Start by speeding your brand visually with business cards, posters, and merchandise. Slap your name on pens and lanyards and ensure that everyone in your immediate vicinity recognises the logo.
Start helping out community events, either with funding or through mutual promotion. Put together a team of employees for the local charity half-marathon, or sponsor a local school performance. Acts of goodwill go a long way in the business branding world. As does a strong online presence. Start building your followers on social media by posting regularly and being active.
You can start a blog and talk about recent affairs and new projects. Remember that you will lose people over strong opinions, but if it’s important to your company then stick with them: like supporting the protest against animal testing or trophy hunting.
Supporting it all
It’s not enough to get the ball rolling – you have to support what you have put out there. Become an annual sponsor for that school performance, or run the half marathon each year.
Don’t stop handing out merchandise and business yards- you never know who will be your next client and who will one day reach for a pen and think ‘here’s the answer to my problems’ when looking at the logo printed there.