Monday, March 22, 2010

Identity: What is it good for?


Last week we touched on why business cards are so important. This week I want to talk about "brand building". I understand that it takes time and money to build a brand as easily recognizable as McDonald's or Google. But small businesses usually do not have the resources or the money in their "advertising budget". Lets face it, most small businesses don't need to go over and above to build a strong brand. All you really need are the essentials that will create a strong brand identity during your first steps to growing your business. You can accomplish this by spending only the necessary funds to get your business off the ground.

We need to recognize that there are still some rules that we must follow in order to establish the image and brand for your company using the most inexpensive way as possible. Im going to provide 5 simple steps to achieving a better brand. If you have been in business and are already established, these steps will only help boost your business and improve on the existing brand.

One of the elements to making this work is to understand that consistency is key! Keep your branded elements the same and try to avoid changing your look over and over. Keep all your business materials the same, so the business cards match the letterhead that match the envelopes etc. Constant change costs money. Pick a design and stick to it! This will also help create a solid identity and brand. This is why it is important to develop the look and feel of your business before you bring your business public. Theme colour and logo all have an effect on your brand.

1. LOGO CREATION

The first step to establish your business and brand is to create a logo. Get a logo as soon as possible. If your company name is associated with a logo, the easier it will be to recognize your brand and incorporate your logo into all of your stationary. There are many resources out there to help you create a great logo. You may also want to check out Logopond andBrands of the World to get some inspiration for your identity. If you do not have access to a design program use Prontolites stock templates to brand your business. Or use Xara Xtreme 5.0 which is a free logo designer.



2. BUSINESS CARDS

Last week I talked all about business cards and how they are the first as well as the lasting impression of you. Go through our templates at Prontolite or upload your own design. I can't stress this enough that your most powerful tool has to be a great business card!

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3. COLOUR & FONT STYLE

It is also very important to consider font and colours. A font that is easy to read is critical when portraying a professional business. It will also reproduce easily and must match with your logo. You also want to use a font that is available to you on your own computer. This way if you need to make new documents you can match everything together. Consistency is key to branding your business! Pick colours that go well with what you do. There is really no limit to what colour you can use.

4. STATIONARY!

Repetition works! When people see the same logo and consistency in your design, they will easily identify with it and this is how your brand is born. Whatever design, font and colours you choose for your logo and business cards, make sure it is consistent on your letterheads, envelopes, labels and any other material you require. Prontolite will help with all your printing needs on a budget too!


5. SOCIAL MEDIA + WEBSITE = SALES

Social networking is another way to build your brand. The best part about it is that it's FREE! Use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to drive interest in your business. These networks are very easy to setup and are widely accepted. Create a profile and start connecting with colleagues and people you know. Start a bio and have people you know give you recommendations on your profile.

A website is something relatively easy to set up. There are companies like Go Daddy that help you host and create your website. It will also help you create a brand identity and give you clients something to look at online. This helps reassure you have a consistent brand and helps boost the perception of being an established business.

Follows these steps and use Prontolite to help create all your printed materials. Good Luck!

 
 
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