In last Friday’s post, we talked about the importance of maintaining consistency across the elements that make up your brand. But what are those elements, anyway? Today we’re going to talk about the elements you will need to consider creating to support your small business brand.
Before creating these elements, start with a brainstorming exercise about what you think, feel, and believe about your business. Write a brief narrative about your business. Think about other brands you admire (and those you don’t). Write down all the words that you associate with your business or product. This is the best way to start to ensure that other people (your potential customers) will perceive those same values about your brand that you do.
8 Brand Elements To Consider
1. Business Name
If you’re reading this blog, you’ve likely already started your small business and have probably come up with a name for it. But if you have not, or if you’re considering re-naming it, here is a handy infographic about naming your small business.
Using the nouns and adjectives you came up with in your brainstorming exercise, begin creating some sketches of the mark that will represent your business. Should it be professional, or playful? Vintage or modern? Colorful or subdued? In addition to the style of your logo, you’ll need to decide on the type of mark. Types include icons and symbols, logotypes and wordmarks, and combination marks. Check out this post for more details on creating a small business logo.
If you feel like a signature color is appropriate for your business, establish this early on. This might come from your logo, or you might know in advance and create your logo with that color or colors in mind. Not all brands use a signature color, but those that do it well get a lot of mileage from them. Think Tiffany blue, Sprint yellow, or Target red.
4. Tagline or Slogan
Not every business has one, but a tagline can be an effective way for new businesses that are not already well known to verbalize their unique selling proposition. Also if your logo is an icon or symbol, it might be a good idea to use a slogan for awhile until your brand is more easily recognized. Here is some advice for creating a small business slogan.
Typfaces have an incredible power to convey brand values. So whether you’re choosing fonts to use on your website, in your logo, or in your printed materials, choose wisely. If you sell handmade children’s clothes, go for something playful. But if you are an HVAC expert, you want to convey a more professional and reliable tone.
While may seem a little odd to talk about the voice of your business, this is a crucial part of your brand. And it’s important to establish early on, especially as you start to bring in other professionals who will ‘speak’ for your brand as you grow. This will largely be determined by finding your target audience. Should you project an irreverent tone like Geico Insurance, or a more sincere tone like Wells Fargo Bank? Define this for yourself, and then make sure that you and others use it consistently across your digital and printed materials.
This one is less common, especially among small businesses. But if you plan to do a podcast or to be a major brand someday with a budget for radio and television ads, it’s never to early to start thinking of a sound that the public can learn to identify with your business. Depending on what your product or service is, this could be a signature like the NBC chimes, or something the user will experience like the sound an iPhone makes when you press the button to call up Siri.
Okay, this one is not for everybody. But there are plenty of small businesses out there that actually would benefit from having an appropriate smell that customers could come to associate with their brand. When you walk by a Subway restaurant, there’s a very distinct smell of baking bread that seems to always be the same no matter where you go. Anthropologie clothing stores also sell a lot of homegoods and candles and they have a very specific smell profile in their stores. You might not think about it at the time, but when you smell that distinct smell in another context and the first thing you think of is the associated brand name, you understand the power of olfactory branding!
The 8 items above are the major elements you’ll want to consider when planning for the life of your brand. There are plenty of other attributes, which we’ll discuss over the next few weeks, that go into branding your small business over time. What are some brands that you think use their elements really well? Tell us in the comments below!