For many businesses, especially those still finding their feet, branding can seem like an overpriced and unnecessary expense. Without a tangible or physical return for your money, such as a new computer or updated machinery, it’s sometimes forgotten that branding can be a major asset to your business. If taken seriously and properly invested in, a quality brand will continue to give back to your company for many years to come.

Branding is more than just a logo or business card. Establishing a quality brand with a personality, a story and a professional design will help your business look established and professional, help you better connect with your customers, expand your audience base and increase your profits.

What’s your plan?

Before starting a business, the first thing you need is a business plan. The same goes for branding. You need to have an idea of the values, aims, and purposes of your brand before you can start creating an image for yourself. It’s worth investing time to establish a clear brand strategy as it will shape the way your brand is portrayed to your audience for years to come.

Ask yourself;

What is my brand’s purpose?

What do I want my brand’s reputation to be?

How do I want my brand to look and feel?

What is my promise to my customers?

What are my brand’s values and hopes for the future?

By thoughtfully answering questions about the overall agenda of your brand, you will start to get an idea of what your brand could look like from the outside.

What’s your story?

Every business has a story of how it came to be and of where it’s heading next. Maybe this includes a family history, a good cause or an innovative idea. Make your story a part of your brand. Share your story with your customers and include them in your future plans. By sharing your journey your customers will feel more connected to your brand and become fiercely loyal to your products.

What’s your personality?

In order to find your niche spot in the marketplace, your business needs to have a strong brand personality. This will help customers recognise the style of products and services you provide and will assist you in crafting the visual elements of your brand.

The personality of your business will go a long way in determining the way your customers, your employees, and your investors interact with your brand, so it’s important to create a personality that is applicable to your business.

If you’re having trouble defining this, maybe start by finding a personality archetype that best suits your business. Maybe you want to be the hero, the creator, the explorer or the rebel. Whoever your business is, make sure it’s consistently reflected throughout your branding.

What’s your style?

The visual elements of your brand are often the first interaction customers have with your business. It’s worth making sure these interactions are positive ones. Customers will instantly associate the quality of your branding with the quality of your services and products, whether they are reflective of each other or not.

If you’re happy to settle for generic and cheap designs from free to use websites, this will reflect on the professionalism of your business. It’s worth seeking out a professional graphic designer to create your visual elements for you. Designers will make your brand look established and experienced, whilst throwing elements of your branding plan, story and personality into the mix as well.

However, the style of your brand is not just in the images. It’s important to create a style guide that covers everything from typography and colouring, to brand messaging and which hashtags to use on social media. By creating a guide that can be referenced, you’re ensuring everyone who is associated with your business keeps your branding consistent.

Branding can seem like a big job and an unessential expense. But spending the time and money on creating a brand that truly reflects the goals and values of your company will help keep your business on track, and improve your customer engagement. Only a well-established brand will turn into a well-known brand.