Saturday, June 27, 2009

Business Identity

What is Branding?
A brand is a symbolic embodiment of all the information connected to a company, product or service, including an explicit logo, fonts, color schemes, symbols, jingles, ideas, and even personality. For example, you are able to recognize a Pepsi product without reading the label because you have learned their logo; they consistently use it in all their marketing. The same thing is true with the Alka-Seltzer jingle – “Alka-Seltzer to the rescue.”

Branding Steps
When I started in the professional design industry in 2000, one of the first questions I was asked "is how do you develop a brand?" The first step is to decide on a company name and a slogan/tag line and then, hire a professional designer to create your logo and color palette.

Once the logo and colors are chosen your designer can present concepts for business cards, letterhead, and envelopes (also known as corporate id). Not all businesses need letterhead and envelopes, but you will definitely need a business card. The first rule of thumb with a business card is don't go cheap. I understand that start-up budgets are tight, but your card says a lot about you and your company. If you have a business card that you printed yourself on perforated template paper, your potential clients will know. I often times get solicitations and if anyone hands me a homemade card it goes immediately into the recycle bin. Like many others, I want to make sure I'm doing business with a "real" company. If they cut corners with one of the most cost-effective pieces of the business identity process, then I wonder what else they will cut corners with - maybe the service I need done around my house.

After the corporate id is completed, I suggest starting on the web site. The web site gives your web designer a large canvas to grow the business brand. The colors and logo used in the beginning stages now get to come to life with stock photos or custom photos, fonts, content and icons. Creating a web site that helps promote your business identity is key because you want people to understand what you do and if you are the right company for them. Every small business should have a web site, even if it doesn't contain that much information. A Web site helps validate your business and gives prospects an opportunity to check you out a little more. You don't want to lose the sale, your business needs a web site.

Postcards, brochures, print advertisements, die-cuts (a super fancy speciality cut brochure), and flyers are next. These printed business identity pieces are very important in advertising your product or service; the general look and feel should match your business cards and web site. The ads should use similar photos, fonts, icons and the color palette to help tie-in the overall brand. You want people to recognize the visuals in your ad before they read the text, you want them to remember they've seen that ad somewhere else. I believe the more times buyers are exposed to a brand, the more likely they are to remember it when they need your product or service.

There are so many item that go in to creating a business identity and it can be overwhelming, but with proper guidance from a seasoned designer the process can be mush easier. For more information about developing your business brand, please visit