Once you’ve spent time working out if your business idea is viable, and whether people will pay for your product or service, and of course, you’ve nailed your market research and exactly who your customer is, then the very next thing to do is spend a good chunk of time putting together your business online brand, and then testing it out on your target consumers. This will become your businesses identity. Research suggests that the average customer needs to see your brand 8 times before they’ll buy, so we want to make sure that those 8 impressions are persuasive. With that said, there are 3 key things your brand must do:
Convey what your business is all about instantly
While bigger businesses may be able to use obscure logos, feel good tag lines and pictures, a small business relies on its brand to instantly tell the passing consumer what they are all about.
Consider when you’re walking past a shop front, if you can’t tell what the shop is about you’re likely to walk straight past. On the other hand, I drove past this huge sign the other day 2 words and an image and as I drove past I thought about ducking in to check out their light fittings even though I have absolutely no need for light fittings at all.
People generally don’t like surprises in life, they like to know what is coming and they like consistency. If you want them to take a chance on spending 5 minutes or more on your business either walking through your front door, or browsing your website, then you need to be clear and consistent in your messaging and branding so that they know exactly what to expect. Remember, you have only 5 seconds when someone lands on your website or walks past your signage to engage them. If your branding doesn’t explain what it is you’re all about in that time, you’ll likely lose their attention.
There are two main ways that you can be memorable the first is to use your name to describe exactly what you do. In the example above Noosa Lighting is memorable because I know it is in Noosa, and I know they’re a lighting store so I’m likely to remember their name. Simple but effective (this will also have great SEO value!).
The second is to associate with an existing well known phrase or acronym so people can remember by association. For example, I recently went out for coffee at a little place tucked away in Eumundi. Most places I go for coffee I instantly forget the name, but this place was called CIA which stood for coffee intelligence agency. From an aesthetics point of view, I don’t particularly like the name. However, from a marketing point of view it is very clever for one simple reason: it is easy to remember.
There is very little point in having an instantly recognisable, and memorable brand if it doesn’t appeal to your target consumer. This is where your market research needs to take place.
Research different colours and their associations, different fonts, different pictures and then (this is the key part) TEST IT!
You can do this by putting together 3 different variations (as different as possible to start with) and sit down with someone who fits your target consumer profile and get their feedback on how they feel and what they think when they see your different logos. There is a particular online business that I know of who has a really amateur looking logo. Unfortunately, it taints the whole branding of the business, making it look cheap and a bit tacky, and even though I know that they stock good quality products I doubt that they would appeal to their target market.
Once you have these three aspects nailed down the next most important part of your branding is consistency.