You rarely get a second chance to make a first impression, so figuring out how to brand your business is something you want to “get right” the first time. Your brand, from your name to your logo to your mission statement, lets consumers know who you are and what you represent. Here are some things for you to consider.
Tips for How to Brand Your Business
Name: Who Are You?
Choosing a name for your business is almost like naming a child! Your business or brand is an extension of yourself, and you want to choose wisely. Start by keeping a notebook, dry erase board, chalkboard, or cork board where you can add name ideas as they come to you. Try not to edit yourself yet and just let the ideas come forward.
Once you have a list of ideas, go through the list a few times to eliminate names that you no longer like. You might be surprised how what seemed like a great business name last week doesn’t work anymore. Once you have shortened the list to your top 5-6 favorite options, check to see which names are available online. If you plan to trademark your brand, search the US Patent and Trademark Office’s database for the name.
You will also want to consider how your name translates into an url. Even if you don’t think you need an online presence, you may change your mind in the future. First, see if the name you chose is registered already. Second, keep in mind that shorter is better. For example, if you decide to call your brand by your name, use your initials to make a shorter, easier to remember url. Morena’s Corner Jewelry could be MCjewels.com, which is short, memorable, and still describes the brand.
Mission Statement: What Do You Do?
Most businesses are not unique. In the craft world, there is a lot of competition. An important part of knowing how to brand your business it to make yourself stand out from the rest by having a clear signature. It might be your personality, your customer service, or some other unique quality that you can use to describe your brand.
Start by asking yourself, what service do I provide? If you sell products, ask yourself what is it and what does it do? The idea is to define your brand in one sentence. Start with a longer idea, and then whittle it down to a concise summary. If you are struggling with this, ask a friend to describe you or your product. Seeing yourself through someone else’s perspective often helps.
Once you have your one sentence statement, let’s add your signature to it. What is it about your brand that makes you different? Maybe you use all organic products, or maybe you have a reputation for being reliable. Fit this into your mission statement. Let’s look at Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream mission statement as an example: “To make, distribute & sell the finest quality all natural ice cream & euphoric concoctions with a continued commitment to incorporating wholesome, natural ingredients and promoting business practices that respect the Earth and the Environment.” This mission statement not only describes their product, it also shows that they are a cause-related company.
Brand Guidelines: How Do You Present Yourself?
Once you have a name for your brand and a mission statement, you can use that information to develop the public facing aspect of your brand. Some things to consider include:
- Brand colors
- Tone of voice
- Characters and spokespeople
How do you want to project yourself to the public? Is your brand fun or serious? Neon or pastel? Retro, techy, shabby chic, or something else? These will all influence your decision making. For example, I love all things retro, and it influences my work and the way I present myself. For my business site I opted for a retro look to match my style. I chose a 50s color palette, a typewriter font, and retro imaging. Clarifying all of this information made the process simpler when I went to a designer to have my logo made.
For brand color ideas, check out a site like Design Seeds. They create color palettes that help take the guess work out of choosing colors. For fonts that will be used in your messaging (not just the website, but business cards, advertising, etc.) there are sites like Fonts.com where you can see thousands of different options for text presentation.
Next Steps: Where Do You Go From Here?
Attracting a loyal following means providing consistency with your service or product. Having a strong mission statement and an identifiable brand identity go a long way toward making a great first impression with customers. Now that you know the basics of how to brand your business, you can learn about how to run a business from home.