(Re-)Branding your creative business is a big feat. Not only does it mean you’ve come up with an awesome business idea, but you’ve also got the guts to follow through with it. I applaud you!!!
Whether you’re a startup project, an established business, building a portfolio brand, or you’re flying solo on the freelance wagon, there are a bunch of factors you have to consider when developing your brand before things will be up-and-running. But if you take action on the following points, you’ll save yourself time, money and the headaches in the long run and you’ll be well on your way to focusing on the fun stuff. Whatever you do, don’t give up on that idea!
1. Get clear on your “Why?”
Your business is unique because of you and your personal values. What are you truly passionate about? What does your business stand for? What experience do you want to create for your customers? Getting clarity on why you are pursuing your business will help refine your processes and attract your ideal clients.
- Before any designing takes place, it’s extremely important to understand who your ideal customers/clients are and what their needs are. Without them, there is no business, so make sure you are aligning your brand with the right values.
- It will also help you through times when you’re feeling stuck. If you ever have a moment where you’re wondering what the hell you are doing with your life, go back to your “Why?” to be reminded why you pursued this kickass idea in the first place.
2. What’s in a name?
Everything is in a name! The name is a very important part of your brand. It should define your business and represent what you do.
- Using your own name is great for independent businesses, especially in creative industries where you are the brand. However, this concept comes a bit unstuck if you have quite a common name or one liking to a famous/infamous person. In that case, I would suggest coming up with something a bit more unique.
- If you’re aiming for growth in your business down the track, or simply want a more unique brand name, pick a name that says something about your niche/industry; a name that’s suits your business and that your customers can easily search.
- Don’t pick something hard to pronounce or spell. Being too clever can sometimes come back and bite you on the butt.
3. Don’t get attached just yet
Do your research! I once started a small apparel line as a passion project and had my heart set on a name, only to discover the domain I wanted was already taken. It resulted in having to make a variation to my brand name and although it still worked, it just wasn’t quite the same.
- Typing a few variations of your desired business name into Google will usually give you a good indication if the name is already taken.
- Search for your desired domain to see if it’s available. Typing your brand name into any domain website will bring up all of the variations and tell you if they’re available or not. (FYI: Paying to be on waitlist for a domain is a complete waste of time and money in my experience.) Also, try to keep it simple; dots, dashes and underscores often get overlooked and you don’t want your potential customers landing on some other site or simply giving up because too hard!
- Take it one step further and look up your country’s business registrar to see if there are any records of a similar business name in your region. If you think you might be cutting it fine and stepping on someone else’s toes, then you probably are. If you are going to invest time and money into your brand and business, you better make sure it’s legit first.
4. Good designs aren’t cheap and cheap designs aren’t good
People often cringe at the idea of handing over money for creative services, but what you’re actually getting from a professional designer is thousands of hours of experience and study, honing their skills and the principles of design. Contrary to popular belief, an effective logo isn’t whipped up in an hour and an efficient website can’t be built in a day.
- Having some ideas on how your brand should look is great, this clarity will actually assist the designer in helping you achieve your desired outcome. A great way to start visualising your brand is by putting together a mood board on Pinterest of colours, fonts, and inspiration. A good designer will ask for any references in the initial contact to make sure your project is within their design style and capability.
- Brand identity matters! If you’re serious about branding a successful business or have faith your passion project has the potential to grow into something awesome, then investing in your brand identity and hiring a professional designer to collaborate with you on your project will not only help you reach that goal but also let you keep doing what you do best… your job.
- Hiring a creative designer to help solidify your brand is invaluable in building trust with your clients. A successful brand identity is one that ties together your logo, website, and social media pages so your customers can easily identify you and trust you’re the right person for the job.
5. You need more than just a logo
Go all out! If you are taking the time and money to invest in your business, don’t just settle for half of a brand. Whether you believe it or not, you need more than a logo. Make sure you choose a package where you get every little thing you need. This includes a brand style guide, logo, sub-marks, branded collateral, promotional material, social media templates, and of course a website. A lot of designers have defined packages to accommodate different budgets, but most will also provide a custom quote if your needs differ. It’s all in the detail!
6. Plan your rollout
Working towards a deadline is a great motivator for reaching milestones in your project and getting shit done! Your designer will take care of getting all of your brand elements together but there’s still work you need to do along the way to make sure the project runs smoothly. The quicker you approve a concept or email that image the designer requested, the better the chance the project will meet your deadline.
7. Build anticipation for your launch
Here comes the fun part, your brand launch! The time to implement all of your new, fancy design elements and have your customers banging down your door wanting your products/services!
- Rather than bombarding the internet in one day, start posting little hints and sneak peeks of your new brand design over a week or two to build anticipation. No matter how many followers you have, getting people excited will help with your business launch.
- Make sure you are posting on multiple platforms. There are many different ways customers can stumble across your business so make sure you tap into all of them by posting on different social media channels. Hashtag like it’s going out of fashion, and don’t forget to drop into relevant Facebook groups!