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Essential Branding Advice

A good visual identity shows competence and a professional pride in your business, Carl Reader says Essential Branding Advice

Although a marketer at heart with a passion for developing brands, I’m a strong believer that a brand has to be fit for purpose for the business to which it relates.

You’ve no doubt heard about the extraordinary fees some branding agencies charge, which are quite frankly inappropriate for all but certain types of businesses. There is, however, a good reason to engage the right level of branding and design support for your business, especially when you’re setting out.

Building trust

From building trust in your business to making you stick in customers’ minds, a good visual identity shows competence and a professional pride in your business.

A poorly executed logo and branding conveys a lack of ability, so unless you’re a graphic designer by trade, I’d strongly recommend enlisting the help of a designer to produce your marketing material, as it will help you present a professional image to the outside world.

Good design can make you stand out from your competitors, portray your business as a professional entity and convey key messages.

To decide on your budget for your brand, you need to consider how essential a strong visual identity is to your business.

The promotion of an internet business is dependent on the brand name and domain. Both need to be catchy and memorable. However, if your intention is to be a small local business, a super flashy logo and website might not be top of your priority list.

That said, first impressions are key and a good, professional logo and brand is never a waste - and doesn’t need to cost a fortune.

Logos can range from £50- £50,000, yet there’s not always a need to spend huge amounts of money to have one designed. In fact, the strongest brand image I have cost me less than £300, including a full brand guideline document and predesigned template for all stationery and corporate communications.

Budgets and costs

Small design and branding agencies can be budget friendly goldmines for start-ups. Make sure you see copies of the designer’s work before proceeding and that you have the ability to make revisions to their proposals.

Establish budgets and costs in advance and clarify exactly what’s covered by the fees. Be fair on both of you - it’s important to get value for money, but also to remember their creative expertise is valuable too.

Communication is key, so make sure your designer is willing to discuss your brief with you in depth to get a clear understanding of your requirements and ideas. This way, you can establish together exactly what you’re looking for and create a solution that suits you and your needs.

Be prepared to be clear, but also open-minded, as sometimes the best ideas are the most unexpected.

About the author

Carl Reader is author of The Startup Coach and The Franchising Handbook and is a director of d&t, TaxGo and The Bear Group. More information can be found at www.carlreader.com. Read more like this

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