Starting a business is an exciting prospect, but have you considered all the elements? All too often people come up with a great idea, and yet they fall at the first hurdle as they have not considered how best to tell the customer. The answer lies in corporate identity, which is the very basis of how your business will stand in the market.
What your business stands for should be easy to glean from the basic identity of the company; considerations include all the visual tricks you use – your logo and colours, your marketing material, even your website – which should all be consistent and enable the viewer to link to each other. It cannot be understated how important the consistency of your brand image is.
Here, we have a look at some of the most important factors in establishing your brand.
Your Company Logo
You may have a great idea for a logo; be careful, for this is the one element that may stick in people’s minds. One important point: let the professionals do it, as homemade logos are not often successful.
Of course, it is your company, and you will have your ideas, but listen to those that know. Logo design is about getting a message across as much as it is about a pretty image that you want to be recognized by. Don’t make it time-specific, makes sure it grabs attention, and most of all, it needs to be appropriate to the business. Also, you need to consider its application in many areas: company stationery, website, blogs, and much more.
Colours and fonts also need careful consideration; again, you need to make sure they will be equally successful on screen and in print. Consider the possibilities for other marketing purposes, too; where else will this logo look great? The key areas are your brand identity, and that the logo makes an impression on the viewer.
We may be firmly in the digital age, but standard business stationery is far from defunct. You definitely need a business card, and it should incorporate your company identity as well as all the information you need to get across.
A business card is there to make an impression; it is a vital tool for start-up businesses and can make or break a deal. Keep it simple, but make sure you check out the latest trends. For example, there is a current move towards smaller than standard business cards, which are neat and effective.
Your logo must be a central part of not only your business card, but also your business stationery and website. Indeed, any presence in the market place needs to be consistent in using the logo in the correct and memorable manner. Choose the colours and fonts carefully; remember, some colours appeal to some people more than others, and modern, clean fonts are less stuffy than some of the older, more traditional ones.
The Importance of your Website
This is the 21st century, and every company needs a website. Website design is not a simple choice, and again you need to use professionals to get it right. The same people who do your logo and other design work should be able to offer you a deal. This can increase consistency.
The following aspects need to be considered when choosing a web design deal:
- The site needs to be W3C compliant and up to standard
- SEO needs to be attended to
- The design needs to reflect your corporate identity
- You needs a hosting and maintenance package
- After sales support should be offered
When it comes to website design, you really do get what you pay for; however, it is strongly advised that, as this is such a vital part of modern business, you buy the best you can. Consider your budget carefully, and allocate a good proportion to web design – you will not regret having a professionally devised, quality website.
Make sure you communicate your needs clearly to the chosen designer; tell them what you are aiming for, what you need the site to say, and who it is aimed at. If the company has handled your logo and branding they will likely be up to speed on mist of this. If not, let them have the logo and all other images pertaining to your company identity, in order that they can incorporate them correctly and effectively in the website. Remember, consistency is the key – your customers need to know the website is from the same place as the business card and so on.
Promoting Your Business
Things don’t stop when you launch your website; in the first instance, nobody knows it is there but you. You need to market it, and there are many areas in which you can do so. Use social media outlets such as Facebook, as they are very much in vogue at the moment, as well as traditional methods such as leaflets and other printed material. Make sure that, in all of these, the consistency of your brand identity is continued.
Professionalism is conveyed by consistent brand promotion – you may wish to have your workforce wear a uniform, for example – and your customers will know who they are dealing with whichever portal they use. The visual aspects of your business cannot be underestimated.
Remember, take time to consider all the above, and make sure you are happy with the logo and branding before committing; changing your identity in the future may not be helpful to your business.