So you're starting your own socially responsible company, or own one already. Congrats! But also: may the force be with you. As we know all too well from experience, it’s no walk in the park. Countless factors to consider, steps to take, people and projects to manage … the list is endless. Amidst all the chaos and overwhelm, it’s easy for branding to inadvertently take a back seat. Here, we’ll explain why you should make every effort to place it centre stage.
Here are some things to consider when designing (or redesigning) your brand:
1. Be authentic.
This point is most important. As Larina Kase explains in her book Clients, Client and More Clients, when people experience your brand, they literally have a psychological reaction. And one of the first things they should feel is that you're genuine. Make sure to avoid impersonating you're competitors' vibe. And don’t think you have to exhibit professionalism to the point of being stuffy or boring! Play up your strengths and let your personality shine (be that witty, dorky, sassy, or whatever). In the wise words of Dr. Seuss, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
2. Be memorable.
Go with a strong and unique name; one that’s not as likely to slip off the tip of peoples’ tongues. For example, So Ripe Social uses alliteration—a literary stylistic device referring to the commencement of two or more words with the same letter—in order to grab and sustain people’s attention. Same goes for your logo, typography, and other graphics too—develop a style that speaks to your company’s uniqueness. Consider brands like Koodo, Quaker Oats, and Aunt Jemima. People tend to remember these brands because their mascot-type characters bring them to life.
3. Do your research.
We can’t stress enough how important research is, especially in the early phases of building a business (but also on a continual basis, as you evolve). Thoroughly research your industry and the local or international markets where you’ll be positioned, along with your competitors, and any visual imagery that will inspire the look and feel of your brand.
4. Get to know your target market.
This is a form of research as well, but it’s important enough to have it’s own point. Establishing your brand without understanding your target market is like being a tour guide in a city you’re unfamiliar with. Start small by talking to family and friends about your ideas. Then move on to joining niche-specific online communities in order to get better acquainted with "your people.” Take it a step further by using survey platforms like Typeform to create free surveys to gather even more information.
5. Be consistent.
This one’s pretty straightforward. Your brand should be designed so it's easily represented across all platforms (including your website, social media pages, and email marketing). If your main colour is green, follow through with that! Don’t randomly just make your Twitter page purple. Keep your look consistent by extending font parameters too. For example, if you use a certain font for headings on your website, you should probably use the same one for your headings in print.
Properly crafting a killer brand identity from the get-go is crucial. It helps better convey your company’s core values and more effectively speak to the souls of your audience. In the vast majority of cases, doing this right means working with people who specialize in brand building and graphic design (like us). Invest in this assistance is so the way to go, and usually pays off in spades.
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