Starting your company is always an exciting process; you’ve got a great product or service, a unique selling point that you need to share with the world. But having a great idea and seeing it through is only half the battle. Your product or service needs its own unique identity that distinguishes it from your competitors, many of whom are creating their own recognizable brands. The perception people have of your company is fundamental in your company’s growth, exposure, and development; the importance of branding cannot be understated. There are many factors that go into this, and it can be a little daunting not only coming up with a fresh and slick image for your business but also having to fit all these pieces together. Have no fear though, here are the key branding elements that every business needs for creating the next household name:
The Importance Of A Good Brand Name
Think of some of the biggest, most successful companies in the world: Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, and Nike. What one thing do these companies all have in common? Well, they all provided different services, they have different goals and targets to meet. No, what binds these titans of the industry together is their instantly recognizable punchy names. It’s what people hear when they think of you. McDonald is a fairly common surname, and yet you cannot say McDonald’s without humming the ‘I’m Lovin’ it’ tune in your head.
Of course, the function of your company is key to having a successful and long-lasting business, but one of the key ways of setting yourself apart from the pretenders is by having a unique and distinguishable name.
It can make or break competing companies. What is the first rideshare company you can think of? Lyft? No, it probably would have been Uber. Now compare the two names and what one jumps out of your computer screen and burns itself onto long-term memory. Your business name doesn’t even necessarily have to reflect your USP; other elements of your branding can do most of the work in this department. For instance, Google is a nonsense word, and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t understand the phrase “Google it.”
Why is it so important? Well, it’s the first thing your customers see and recognize about you. It has to create the right tone or message; Google is playful and makes one thing of exploration, Facebook is formal and utilitarian but evocative of what they do, and Twitter a cheeky, almost pun. All three leave a powerful, long-lasting impression, though. Think of the emotion you want to create in your customers, the way you want them to view your company. Typically the most recognizable brand names aren’t too long-winded. Apple is snappy yet elegant and crucially a recognizable symbol. Obviously, it’s easy to get quite esoteric about what goes into a name, but you know what catches your eye when you find a company you’re instantly drawn to. Spend some time carving out your unique take on the industry; for ways on how to come up with a business name, visit the link above.
Finding The Perfect Logo
Branding is all about creating an emotional bond between your customers and your product. It may seem slightly frivolous; of course, your product is the star of the show here; why would you need slick and flashy tricks to get people to love your company. Well, people are wired to form attachments with images and names. It’s why we name everything, even our house plants. Much like finding the perfect name for your business, choosing a logo that best represents the USP of your product or service can be crucial for setting yourself apart from your competitors.
No individual element here defines your ‘brand.’ Your brand is simply the experience and perception your customers have of the company and the emotional associations they have with it. Your logo, your company name, your marketing strategies all work in a sort of harmony to create this very perception/experience. It almost acts as a shorthand for what your company is all about!
Your logo is the Icon of your product, and it will be printed on your products, your business cards, your custom box packaging, your website, and your advertising. It’s what people see when they think of you. An elegant and memorable logo can help make those all-important great first impressions with you and your clients. It builds trust with them and communicates who you are. Think of the letter ‘M,’ now picture it as yellow. What are you thinking of? That powerful bond, that nostalgia that we collectively, as a species, have built up for this particular scene: driving back from somewhere as a child and seeing those golden arches illuminating the car and the smile on your face when your mother or father pulls up into the driveway. I don’t even need to say the name of the product, and you would know exactly what I’m talking about. Now consider how much more trusting you are of a product and its quality when you see the Apple logo on the back of it. It’s almost like a seal of approval.
What makes the Perfect Logo? A logo is typically (but not exclusively) made up of a combination of images and lettering. Usually, it’ll be a singular iconic image with the name of the product styled in a unique way. For some companies like Coca-cola, they simply rely on those bold and recognizable colors along with styling lettering. It really is up to you and what looks best for your business. Either way, you need this visual symbol that represents you and your vision. Oftentimes, choosing something simple but distinct can go a long way into creating the perfect logo. Think about how your product makes you feel and how you would like it to make others feel and channel that into the symbol that best suits you. Spend some time with your graphic designer workshopping ideas and images, and in no time, you’ll be on your way to creating the next Nike Tick!
Do People Still Care About Exceptional Taglines?
Branding and marketing strategies have changed throughout the years: much of advertising takes place over the internet, fewer and fewer people read print media, and attention spans have gotten shorter. However, everyone knows what you’d be talking about if you said ‘Eat Fresh.’ While the idea of a bunch of Mad Men-Esque copywriters plugging away for hours, coming up with the perfect slogan seems fairly outdated, many companies still rely on catchy and powerful taglines that will be ringing in their customers’ ears for life.
Unlike your name or your logo, your tagline is your first real opportunity to clearly state what your business is all about. They promote brand awareness and are a great form of word-of-mouth marketing. A good tagline will hopefully be the first thing your customers think of when they think of you. Great taglines are so ubiquitous and ingrained in the culture that many have slipped into common parlance. Think about all times you may have jokingly turned to someone and said ‘Have It Your Way. That is some powerful stuff at play here.
How do I know I’ve got the slogan that represents me? Your perfect slogan will be memorable and recognizable; it will be just as confident about your product as you are; it will include the key benefit of your product without overstating it, and it will stand out from the rest. Make it funny, make it witty, make it charming, make it nostalgic, but whatever you do above all else make it memorable, ‘Just Do It.’
Hopefully, these pointers have given you some inspiration and clarity for branding your next global sensation. Branding is about building a legacy for you and your company so that, even as your business goes through many iterations and generations, there is only one thing people think of when they think of it.
You’ll know your brand is onto a winner when it has remained as consistent as possible and stood the test of time. Of course, maybe brands, even large brands, have changed and iterated upon themselves over the years, but the best ones don’t need to.
There is certainly a treasure trove more to cover when it comes to the topic of branding, you could probably write an entire dissertation over it, and many people surely have! Branding is such a layered and delicate concept, and you will find yourself only getting better with it over time.
Listen to the counsel of others and listen to feedback from your customers; they are who you are trying to please, after all. But don’t be afraid to stick to your vision or commit to your ideas. If you think you are onto something great, go for it. Only you have the keys to success, and you only need to open the door.