Okay, we’ve explored the fact that as a small businessperson you are your brand. Regardless of whether you sell widgets or some sort of service, it’s you the customer trusts or mistrusts. No why of getting around it. It goes with the small business owner territory. To further your brand you must train your staff to be on the same page as your brand. In other words you have to brand yourself from the inside out, walk the walk as well as talk the talk. This means the janitor must reflect the brand as much as your top salesperson. Your organization must live an breath your brand.
Now to begin addressing the nuts and bolts of brand identity. I would like to start with the identity part of branding. Some consider this the ONLY part of branding, others don’t see any importance in it at all. My philosophy is somewhere in the middle.
Ninety-nine per cent of large corporations are very protective of their brand’s identity. Yet many small businesses are very casual about their identity. They don’t pay attention or don’t have the time to “police” their identity system IF they have one. Most don’t. Most small businesses don’t even have an “official” logo. They allow their company’s name to be treated in a variety of ways leaving it to the designer of the moment to make them look good.
Rule Number One: Establish a professional looking identity and then stick with it. Hire a competent skilled designer to design your identity system. Don’t use a friend or relative that plays around in Photoshop as a hobby. Choose an educated and trained designer to go through the process of exploration to come up with a solid logo or mark that reflects the spirit of your business. Trusting this to anyone less is asking for big problems down the road.lag screw hole size
Rule Number Two: Once you’ve established the look and feel of the identity system don’t deviate from the rules. Every identity system should have a set of rules. Some larger company’s can have hundreds of pages guiding the use of their identity. Small business’ could be a few pages. Regardless you must have rules. Then you must strictly abide by them. You don’t see a major cola producer’s red logo in purple, never have, never will. There’s a reason.
Rule Number Three: By using your identity consistently across all mediums you set up identity recognition among your customer’s. Displaying your logo in a consistent manner builds trust in your brand by letting the customer know that no matter what your logo will always be the same (I’ll address rebranding, the why’s and where for’s, at another time.) Think of the many brands out there. Some have had the same logo for decades. How does that make you feel about them? Isn’t that the same feeling you want your customers to feel about your brand?
Next time: Just what is involved in developing a good logo and identity program?