I love branding an idea. Lots of people do. It’s that moment where you get to create the feeling that people will associate with a new product or service. Can you imagine being present when some of the greats started putting together the brands for their companies?
But of course brands don’t just develop out of a 2 hour brainstorming session, they evolve with the life of the business. What can you do at the start though that makes an awesome brand for your company.
I’m not the most qualified person for this, allow me to introduce Melissa
I stumbled onto my love for branding by accident. I’m not precisely sure when or how it started, but as I began my design career, I found myself explaining more and more to people the importance of a great brand and the art of creating one.
Perhaps it has something to do with my OCD – or as I like to call it “extreme meticulousness”. I would look at a page and instantly spot a pixelated icon, or a word with a different font type or size. Instantly, the page looked sloppy. It was as though someone had dressed up for a big presentation in a smart suit, but had buttoned his shirt up wrongly. Sloppy.
First impressions count. In such a fast-moving and competitive world, consumers are flooded with choices, bombarded with flashy ads and fancy words one after another. We’ve been spoilt by instant gratification. Simply put, we have lost the ability to be patient – we’re not going to take the time to discover why we should use your product. A decision can be made in half a second. Click. Page loads. Unimpressive. Close. Next.
Damn, consumer’s gone before you’ve even gotten your chance to say “Wait, let me tell you why I’m aweso…”
Your company is essentially a playing in the dating game, you want to woo your potential customers into agreeing to go out with you on a date so they can find out how amazing you are. Are you going to have a better chance getting that date if you were a) dressed well and eloquent, or b) dressed like a hobo and inarticulate?
I don’t claim to be any sort of expert, but here are the branding basics every company should cover:
1. Who are you?
Before any sort of branding can even begin, you and your team need to know who you are – don’t mistake this for what you are selling. I don’t believe that companies and corporations should be soulless, in fact, they should be the opposite. This is very much akin to doing what you love and the money will follow, as opposed to chasing after dollar signs. If you know what you stand for and what you want as a team, you’ll have a solid foundation to build your brand on.
2. Who are they?
Now you know who you are, it’s time to figure out who your consumers are. Understand who they are, and you’ll understand how you can reach them, what you should say, and how you should say it to sway them.
Demographics, psychographics, trends and behaviors, these are all absolutely crucial. If you want to reach a mature audience, you’re not going to do it through Facebook, and you’re certainly not going to say ‘Whassup dawg?’ (although I maintain you should never say that to anyone).
3. Tell them “why you?” in one sentence
Figure out what you want your consumers to know. This is not a list of features and new developments. This is the ONE sentence that tells potential consumers why they should give you a go. No one wants to hear ‘we’ve implemented a blah-blah-tech-jargon that will increase the blah-blah-speed to an astounding blah-blah-blah’. Tell them instead ‘we’ve got a network that will kick your current network’s ass’.
4. Cohesion & consistency
A big part of branding is presenting a cohesive and united front. Similar to how you wouldn’t wear a tutu with a tie, shirt and jacket, you wouldn’t write tough manly copy and pair it with girly design.
This extends to more than copy and design, it should show throughout everything you do. For instance, if you’re selling ‘simplicity and convenience’, you’re contradicting yourself by putting out a convoluted and messy website.
5. The little details
The little things count! Spelling errors, pixelated image, unaligned objects are big no-no’s. If you take pride in what you do, it should carry across every aspect of your business. Shipping out a MVP (minimum viable product) is great, but that isn’t an excuse for carelessness.
If you don’t have an eye for detail, ask someone who does to point out bits of your site that can be improved on and fix them
6. Personal touches
Another thing I like to do is to include little personal touches; something that not everyone will see or notice, but if they do, it’s a tiny bonus.
For instance, I put a lot thought into creating my personal portfolio. I created a custom 404 page (http://www.melewi.net/error-error-ohmygawd-error) for the rare occasion someone stumbles onto a page that doesn’t exist. Or another example would be the contact form (http://www.melewi.net/contact.php). When you send me a message, a sent confirmation pop-up will appear. Hover over the ‘Awesome!’ button, and you will see an effect over the title. Perhaps one out of 100 people will see it, but when they do, they see the effort put in. Go ahead and try sending me a message!