branding-goes-beyond-logoSo you have come up with your business idea, you have a business plan, you have designed your logo (or have a designer create you a logo) to go with your slogan – and you have even created your marketing materials. Great job, but have you really done your branding?

Before you can start developing all your marketing materials and logo, you need to have established what your company identity will be. This means doing your market research and developing a marketing plan, so you can see what the market expects from you. Big business does this on a constant basis, and they have a budget for branding that far exceeds your small business. So your job is to get it right the first time.

When you are looking to create your brand, your logo and your slogan, it may be best to find a local branding company and get them to help you before you create the wrong image for your small business. You want to make sure that your branding is targeting the right audience for your product or service, otherwise your marketing strategies might be useless.

The first step in considering your branding is to create a “vision” of what product or service you are looking to sell and why. Next, determine what makes your offering unique, then decide how you want to operate and how you want your audience to perceive you. This may sound simple, but if your brand is going to truly succeed, you need to do the preliminary work to determine this.

Have a genuine understanding of who your target market is; don’t just assume that everyone is a potential customer. Have a clear understanding of what a prospective client’s mindset is, the challenges they face, and how your products or services will fulfill their needs. What will make your offering stand out over that of potential competitors?

You have to develop a message that will differentiate you from your competition. So create a clear branding message that makes you stand out, as well as an engaging message that will get immediate interest from potential customers. This brand positioning message will be the core of your marketing materials. It has to be a message that will carry through all the media that you intend to use to reach your target market.

Before working with a web designer, graphic designer or other branding professionals, make sure they have experience in your type of business model or product or category. You want them to be able to understand you company and your brand fully. You also want to make sure that they know the needs and expectations of the other parties involved in your business.