Start that business- The Branding Process
COVID-19 really showed just how important it is to have a back-up plan or a side hustle. Now, whether you already have an active side hustle or are just now beginning to think about a business, then this article is for you. The “Start that Business” blog series will explore the multiple phases needed to start a successful business from scratch. In this article I will be starting at step 1, branding. But this isn’t a regular “how-to” blog, I really want to make you think about your business in a different light and teach good business knowledge. Now, shall we begin…
What will you sell?
I know, it seems like a pretty stupid straight forward question, but this actually stumps my private clients when I ask this. Say you’re a hair stylist and I pose this question to you, this first thing you’d probably say is “hair, duh!”. But what if we dig a little deeper into your potential. Of course, you can go the more travelled road and sell hair, but honestly that’s getting played out at this point. Let’s really dig deep and touch something that most people aren’t doing- create a hair care or wig care line! Your brand will only be successful if you’re selling something unique or offering services that nobody is right now.
That’s why this question usually stumps my clients because they are already willing to go the more travelled route, but I challenge you to come up with something new and different to add to your brand. In a saturated market, it’s crucial to have a product line or service unique enough to catch people’s attention. Don’t give into what everyone else is doing, use this step to start the process of creating a unique brand!
Naming your brand
The name of your brand is one of, if not the most, important step in starting your business. Think of it like naming your baby, you don’t want your child named just anything, right…. No seriously. People have a habit of naming businesses after something trendy or a name similar to a successful competitor's business. That to me is the number 1 NO-NO! You never want to be named after something that is considered a passing phase or trend. Say you think of the name Savage Periodt, that’s cute in 2021, but what about 2025 when a new catch phrase comes along?
Your name needs to convey longevity, let them know you’re not just a phase business. Another major issue I find is people wanting to copy the competition. The successful competitors name is Bad & Boujee Bundles, and here you come naming your hair brand Bougie Bundles. You can drop a word and change the spelling all day long, but people will still think you were trying to bite their style! The main issues I have with copycats is this, you’ll fade into your competition’s shadow real quick, and then you’ll also have to wait for them to drop something new that you can copy again. Don’t fade into someone else’s limelight while you’re trying to create your own.
Name your brand after something powerful to you, after all it is your brand. Let the name bring something uplifting and positive to your future audience. But most importantly, bring something unique to the industry you’re getting into!
Your logo is your business’s crown! This is the first thing people really notice and remember about your business, so it must be eye catching. To be eye catching doesn’t mean that it needs to gaudy or in your face, but it needs to be appealing to your target audience. In logo design you’ll usually have the choice of a simple text based (typography) logo or a logo with art included in some way (art-infused). These logo styles should coincide with your brand's style. If you have a simple brand name that leans towards a more mature crowd, then look into an elegant cursive typography logo with a timeless color scheme. On the other hand, if you have a brand targeted towards the younger crowd you may want to look into getting an art-infused logo with cartoon drawings and vibrant colors.
Wherever you get your logo designed at, be sure to come to the table with your own vision and ideas. Don’t let your logo turn into your graphic designer’s vision only. Speaking as a graphic designer that is one of the hardest things to design at times when the client doesn’t have a clear vision. We don’t want to take over your brand, but sometimes we have to make design decisions when you don’t give us direction. So be sure to get inspiration from other logos, learn your likes and dislikes ahead of time, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask your graphic designer if you can discuss your branding vision before they start designing if you need help solidifying your vision.
Now this is where my clients get nervous at! Trust me bosses, colors are fun and easy to match together, and they don’t all have to be PINK! Ok, let me reel it back in. The colors of your business actually tell a story about your brand. Take Bossy for example, I use pink to symbolize girl power and female bosses. That’s my target audience and I let that be known by using pink in all my branding materials. I can convey my message without having to actually say it in every post or video, you just start to understand my brand message after a while just from my color scheme. If you have a brand that has to do with royal luxury then I can imagine you would use very royal colors, deep purple, royal blue, and gold accents. But if you have a brand based around natural products then I probably envision you using more earthy and nude colors so your products ingredients can be conveyed simply with a color scheme.
You want to keep your branding colors to about 2-3 colors. Anything more than that and people won’t be able to quickly associated those colors with your brand. Keeping this in mind, that’s why it’s important to have a semi-unique color scheme. I know there’s only but so many colors in the color wheel, but you can still put together a unique and dope color scheme that’s all your own!
Stay tune for next Friday's blog entry when we discuss websites!