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What is a brand though?
For many of us, the word brand calls to mind two things: a name and a logo.
In fact though, these are not what is most important about your brand and neither is what you need to consider first when you set out to create your brand.
So what is most important?
That would be your ‘mission statement’. This is the single most important part of your branding and once you’ve worked this out, everything else should follow out from there simply.
Let’s start there then!
Creating Your Mission Statement
A mission statement is simply a short sentence or two that clearly defines what you do and why you do it.
Perhaps the best way to illustrate this is to look at some of the more famous examples…
Who may this Mission Statement be from?:
Our mission is: To refresh the world in mind, body and spirit. To inspire moments of optimism and happiness through our brands and actions.
… a tip C-C.
To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.
It’s our goal to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything online.
Google’s mission is to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
What do these statements all have in common? All of them are rather grand, all of them are rather vague and all of them are inspiring. They tend to focus on the ‘why’ and then the ‘how’ instead of the ‘what’.
So let’s say that you have a company that makes socks. Sure, you could call yourself ‘Socks Ltd’ and be done with it, but if you wanted to create something a bit more inspiring, then you would begin with your mission statement.
Your mission statement is not to make socks.
Your mission statement is to warm people’s feet.
And in doing so? Maybe it’s to help them feel cosy and happy in their own bodies.
So maybe you change your company name to ‘WarmSocks’ and your mission statement would be as follows:
To warm people’s feet and help them feel comfortable in their bodies throughout the day.
Now you have a real promise that people can get behind, you have something much more exciting and you have something far more marketable. This can motivate your staff and it can help you to envision ideas for future products and marketing campaigns. You see the difference?
So spend some time reflecting on your own brand and your own business. What was it that drew you to this industry in the first place? What is it that you find so exciting about it? How can you inspire others to feel the same way you do?
Use this to create your one or two sentence mission statement and from there you’ll be able to start coming up with the other aspects of your brand.
The purpose of your logo is basically to give your business a visual identity. If you choose your logo well, then it should be instantly identifiable and people should know to associate anything with that image on it with your brand and your business.
Once again, you also need to be a bit creative and somewhat pragmatic with your logo creation.
How to Create Your Logo
Consider the following criteria for your logo creation. Your logo should be…
So straight away you want to avoid anything that is going to be clichéd or derivative. Forget anything that includes a globe, a lightbulb or a tick – they’ve been done to death.
Simple is better because you need to come up with something that people can copy (remember what we said about kids drawing Nike ticks onto their homework diaries?). This also makes your logo more versatile which means that you’ll be able to use it in more places.
Think about it this way: your logo isn’t just going to be used on your website or on your own products. Sometimes, it’s going to need to be on a banner on someone else’s website. Sometimes it might be on packaging. In this case, it’s going to need to be a different size or it might even have to be black and white. You might need to use a ‘silhouette’ of your logo.
So ask yourself: does the logo look just as good when you use it as a silhouette? Much smaller? In black and white?
Finally, make sure that your logo expresses everything you want to say about your business. That means not only communicating the niche, the industry and the kinds of products and services you’ll be selling – but also the mission statement and the emotion. This is why you need to come up with your mission statement before your logo.
So what process can you use to get here?
Once again, a great option is to create a kind of mind map. This time it will be using images though, so it will be a ‘mood board’. This is basically a collection of images, words and ideas that all relate to your brand and you can create them nicely using Pinterest (Pinterest.com).
From here, you can now try combining the individual elements of your image and this will allow you to create something unique from those constituent parts. Try playing with the word too and using different fonts. Once again, it’s worth making multiple different logos and then showing them to friends or even customers to get an idea of which is the most popular.
Tools and Resources
You can also use a number of tools in this process.
One particularly good one is Brandrr which makes the process of creating a logo incredibly simple. Simply put, this allows you to input your company name and to select an industry, and from here you can then generate a large number of different, unique concepts for logos. From there, you’ll also be able to edit and customize your logo to make it look exactly how you want it – and then you just download the file. You can edit anything from the colors to the fonts to the precise positions and this can not only be a great way to get some initial inspiration but also an excellent tool to create a professional looking file.
If you opt against this tool, then your other options are to make a logo yourself from scratch – in which case you’ll probably use something like Adobe Illustrator or you’ll have to outsource it.
When creating a logo, it’s very important not to create a JPG or a PNG. These are what as known as ‘raster files’ and the result will be something that looks grainy when zoomed in and that’s very difficult to edit. Instead, you need to create a ‘vector file’ such as an AI file. This will ensure that your image never loses definition and that it is highly versatile and customizable.
If you choose to outsource this process, you can try a website like Fiverr (fiverr.com), UpWork (upwork.com), Elance (elance.com) or a forum like Warrior Forum (warriorforum.com). Perhaps a simpler and more efficient method though would be to ‘crowdsource’ your design on 99Designs. This way, you invite as many designers as are interested to submit ideas for your design – you then just select the one that you’re happiest with.
The visual element of your brand doesn’t stop at your logo though!
Once you have your logo, you should have a colorscheme and you should have a ‘feel’ for what things are going to look like. You now need to ensure that this is consistent and cohesive across everything you do.
That will start with your website, which should subtly borrow colors and elements from your logo. For instance, you might want to use the color-picker tool in your image editor to get the precise color code of your logo. You can then utilize this throughout the color palette on your website. Even if this isn’t your ‘base color’, it might serve as your accent color. Take a look at the websites for Virgin Media or Virgin Active and what do you see: lots of red!
You may also want to create your own font or typeface, or choose one from a site like Font Squirrel (fontsquirrel.com) and then just use it throughout all of your materials and creations.
When you think of any large company, its brand is most likely the first thing to come to mind. As a matter of fact, there are very few successful businesses that don’t have a prominent brand and it’s difficult to imagine how a company could become big and successful without investing in its image and creating an identity for itself.
Despite this, many small businesses and internet businesses don’t take the necessary time to create a strong brand and a strong identity that they can use to drive their organization forward. Why? Often it comes down a lack of understanding. Not only do many businesses and entrepreneurs not understand how branding works; many also don’t understand just how important branding is.
Companies With No Identity
It’s not hard to find companies that lack brands when you look online – or that haven’t invested the right time or effort into their branding. These are the websites that look horribly bland and generic: probably with dark blue and black writing on a white background. Their company name is something like ‘Johnson and Smith Co’ and their logo is probably some dull blue writing spelling out that company name. Oh and it’s probably a low res JPEG image too.
It doesn’t exactly scream excitement and it calls to mind an image of a couple of burly blokes who put together an uninspired business with no aims of growing. They provide their service, no bells attached and then they move onto the next client.
It’s actually kind of depressing…
Companies With LOTS of Identity
Now think about the companies that have become international house-hold names. These companies have exciting names like ‘Apple’, ‘Adidas’, ‘Nike’, ‘Microsoft’, ‘Disney’, ‘Nintendo’, ‘Red Bull’, ‘Starbucks’ and they have interesting and unique logos. Many of these logos have gone on to become almost cultural symbols and are now emblazoned on t-shirts and scrawled onto homework diaries around the world.
The websites are in-keeping with this, so are the adverts and even the products conform to an identity. People look for these brands now as a sign of quality and because they know what to expect. Some people even consider themselves ‘fans’ of these brands and get behind them 100%. People just don’t feel that way about companies like ‘Johnson and Smith Co’.
Brands make you recognizable, they make it far easier to monetize and they give your business a cohesive vision that will drive you forward and that will win you fans. This is the power of branding and this is what we’re going to learn how to do for your own business.
All huge brands are acknowledged by their logos. Companies such as Apple, McDonald’s, Adidas, Nike and Vodafone are identified more by their logos than their actual names.
You require an excellent logo from a logo designer that stands apart if you want to get your brand a better acknowledgment. A logo must not have a complex design including graphics and text. It can be very simple and yet work. Discover exactly what makes a terrific logo.
Make an Impact
The effect of a logo is among its highlights. It ought to be captivating and grab the interest of viewers. Think of the Apple logo – it is a visual apple having an elegant bite which shows its appeal and the passion of consumers to obtain a piece of its products. The logo offers it an instant identity with clients and an immediate acknowledgment.
Focus on Brand Identity
The logo needs to also be carefully relevant with your company. It ought to produce an instantaneous identity for your business, and not keep an eye out of place for your brand. Think of the Facebook logo, which is typically a thumb indication that symbolizes the idea of? Like? which is intrinsic to the business and its operations.
Ask any logo design business, and the designers will inform you how important it is to have actually a definitely designed logo. Having a logo which is rather comparable to another one from some other brand will prove to be a costly and humiliating mistake.
The logo must likewise be expert enough, and the state of mind ought to be reflective of your business. If you wish to represent a serious image, your choice of logo should be professional. A wayward or humorous logo will not represent professionalism, and not be taken seriously by consumers.
Keep it simple and short
The logo must also be short enough, and be able to copy well. Ask your graphic design business to keep your logo as efficient as possible, so that it can be utilized for large as well as small scale usage.
If you want to get your brand a much better recognition, you need a fantastic logo from a logo designer that stands apart. Find out exactly what makes a great logo.
Ask any logo design company, and the designers will tell you how vital it is to have a distinctly created logo. Having a logo which is quite comparable to another one from some other brand will prove to be a awkward and pricey mistake.
Ask your graphic designer to keep your logo as effective as possible, so that it can be made for large as well as small scale usage.