The Branding Guide Every Startup Needs

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If you’ve decided to take the plunge and set up a registered company or business, there are a few things you need to do first. Selecting a company name is just one of the challenges you’ll face. There are thousands of active registered companies and thousands more that are now inactive. Choosing a name that is unique and relevant to your ethos or business type is only one part of the challenge. You also need to name your product or service offering. This is where branding comes in.

Your brand name or trademarks also need to be unique to you. It is important the name is carefully considered for several reasons:

It should be an image, word or words that your target market can feel is relevant to their lifestyle

It should look, feel, or read like it has a personality of its own

You need to remember that this is the face of your product and will represent that ongoing.

Once you’ve decided the name of it, you will need to find a professional designer to illustrate it. This might just involve selecting a particular font in a particular color. Or you might want a logo that is easily recognizable and clearly defines the product. Think of the Nike Swoosh. Nike has also used the caption or tagline “Just Do It, ” and this too is Trademarked, stylized in uppercase letters. You will need to go through the trademark registration process yourself with whatever brand marks, icons, or logos you want to protect.

Now you’ve designed your brand, you need to start setting up some brand guidelines or a style guide. Your marketing team and third parties can follow it. This ensures absolute brand consistency across all your campaigns. When you start to set up your social media accounts, it’s important to set up brand pages that feature those logos and tags. Remember, a brand is the face and personality of your company. Don’t speak in the third person on your social media posts. Speak to your audience, in their tone of voice, and build that character up.

Some Points To Consider

If you’re not certain about your designs, develop a focus group to discuss their feelings about it. If they’re not connecting with it either, chances are you need to go back to the drawing board.

As your brand starts to gain recognition, consider assembling other focus groups from time to time. Check the design is still current and connecting with your target market. Trends, tastes, and fashions do change quickly.

You’ll probably want your brand (product) to have its own website. This is where your brand name will be put to the test. The last thing you want is a difficult to read, remember, or spell URL (web address) so write it down, type it out, and check it’s OK.

Do spot checks on the internet. You need to be certain your trademarked assets are not being used or changed inappropriately anywhere. Once you have put in all the time and effort to create this brand, you don’t want it ripped off or abused. Protect it!

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