Ever get handed a business card or leaflet, and you just feel it looks a bit boring? Or find yourself ignoring a product on the shelf because something about the packaging doesn’t look quite right?
It’s incredible how important a role branding can play, whether we’re looking at a company logo, packaging, website, or humble business card. A common belief that good branding is down to one thing; spending a lot of money on branding.
This couldn’t be further from the truth if you know what to look out for and how to brand a business better. That is precisely what I’m going to be discussing in this short post. Hopefully, you’ll come away with a few ideas you can apply to your business or website to help improve how you brand your business. It all starts with knowing that you need to look unique and not like a knock-off.
Ways to better brand your business:
- Don’t be a copycat
- Understand how branding work
- Know how to get your idea across
- See which language works
- Figure out what relationship you’re going to have
- Make sure things look the same
Don’t be a copycat
At the time of writing this article, everyone has gone crazy for the Netflix series Tiger King. In one of the episodes, a character figures out that one way to hurt their competitor’s image is by literally copying their name and branding. In a case like this, imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery
If you see a business branding themselves in a way you like the look of, don’t copy it. You’ll only come off as looking like a cheaper version of something good. You see it all the time when grocery shopping and notice that store versions of name brand products (ketchup, cola, cleaning products) will look eerily similar in a way that will prevent you from wanting to buy them.
The only time it can really work in your favour is when your branding has to copy something for a reason. An example of this would be a comic book store with branding similar to Marvel or Star Wars.
Understand how branding works
You don’t have to spend a lot of money meeting with branding companies to get an idea of how they design a company’s look. Many will happily showcase the way they brand up clients. Take, for example, London based brand design agency Pearlfisher.
Their website shows how they come up with ideas for packaging and why branding something like a Starbucks coffee cup is entirely different from a carton of milk. If there’s a product you like the look of, do a little research online to see who designed it, and you’ll usually find information about the thought process that the designer had to get there.
You can then apply those techniques yourself, or (as the next tip suggests) enable yourself to express your ideas.
Know how to get your idea across
You can go online, and for quite a low price, find a designer who can knock up a logo and full branding in a few hours. The convenience afforded is incredible, but it can be frustrating if the finished product you’re provided doesn’t match what you had in mind at all.
Designers will want as much information as possible to create something you’re happy with; otherwise, they’ll go off and design something they think works best.
If you’re trying to get branding work done online and will only communicate with a designer this way, let them know:
- Examples of branding you like (reminding them you don’t want a knock-off)
- Examples of branding you hate
- You want to see examples of their work to see if there are ideas in there you like
- Colors and themes to avoid
- How you want to use the branding they design
These act as KPIs for a designer to get the full picture and design something you’ll be happy with.
See which language works
Your brand identity needs to have a language.
An accountant and a baker don’t communicate with their customers in the same style of language. Understand when your branding needs to be professional, and if you can afford to be “laid back” in any parts.
For example, if you were communicating with a bank and they said something like “Hiya/Howdy” in correspondence, it would raise alarm bells in your head. As long as you avoid mixed messages and know that everyone in your company is working off the same hymn sheet (or style sheet in this case), your language should stay the same.
Figure out what relationship you’re going to have
When you hand over a lovely new business card or a flyer, what kind of connection are you trying to make?
There has to be some form of emotion attached to your branding as that helps build a foundation. Examples of this would be a bank’s branding looking secure (again, working alongside language). At the same time, a nursery wants to appear secure when communicating in an entirely different way to the end-user.
Make sure things look the same
Finally, an underrated aspect of branding that most small businesses trip upon. Have a consistent theme and styling online and offline. When you hand someone a business card, make sure it looks as much as possible, like your website. You want your literature to all look the same, or else you’re leaving yourself open to being quickly forgotten.
And make sure you’re happy with it
If you’re not happy with your branding, you won’t feel confident showing it off. Always think of your brand image like the foundations of your business. If you feel they’re strong, then you won’t have to worry about the impression you leave.