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Branding – The basics

Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, whether you’re small  and independent or a large international company, the right brand strategy is vital in giving you an edge in even the most competitive markets. But what is branding? Why is it so important and how does it effect  a business like yours?

Your brand is your identity – it is a promise to your customer. It lets them know what you’re about and what they can expect from you, it tells them who you are, who you want to be and how you want people to perceive you.

To understand your brand, firstly its important to understand where you sit in your marketplace or industry. Are you experienced and reliable, or do you offer a newer, fresher approach? Are you focused on high quality or is value most important to you? All of these factors will help to define your ideal client, and in turn help to define the kind of brand you want to be, attracting the right clients for your business.

The foundation of any brand is its visual communication – looks will have a big impact on how people perceive it. First impressions count so having the visual side of your branding locked down and clear is one of the first things to consider. Your logo is something that will make an appearance across all methods of visual communication, print, web and even packaging. It should sing your brand and help people to understand who you are simply by seeing it.

Consistent branding will help to strengthen your business, adding value to your products and services and allowing you to charge what you are worth and in line with your competitors. An example of this is Coca-Cola Vs a generic brand cola. Coca-Cola has spend many years building a powerful, well established brand that people come back to time after time. This allows it to charge more for its products, customers will pay the higher price because they know what they are paying for.

One of the first steps to take is to define your brand, think of this as a journey of self-discovery, its about being honest and learning about your business, it can take some time and can prove difficult, it may also involve asking previous clients to share their experience of working with you.

The first step we take in the process of rebranding someone is to have them complete a brand Q&A – a comprehensive questionnaire that encourages the client to think about their business, themselves, their clients and their work. We then use the answers to understand the business and build a brand-profile.

Once a brand profile has been created, work can begin on the visual identity of the business, the logo, typography and colour palette all start to build a strong picture of the business and start to speak to people and deliver the message of what the business is all about.

When a brand’s visual identity has been set its important to implement it across all areas of the business, consistency is key here – there’s nothing worse than having a brilliant new logo and all singing all dancing branding and then handing over a business card from 2005 when you first started out. Make a list of everywhere your logo and branding features and then set out implementing changing them over one by one.

Our branding includes a full set of design assets – all of your new branding in every file type you need to get going. As well as design assets we provide a handy brand-guide – a PDF that breaks down each and every element of the new brand making it easy to refer back to and also to pass on to anyone else who works for you. This is important to ensure the correct fonts and colour values are used. Be consistent – create templates for communication and marketing and make sure you use them. Every client should be treated the same.

One of the services we offer is to support business in their branding, social media and marketing. Having someone who knows your brand, and can implement changes and has the attention to detail needed to maximise the use of your new branding can prove vital and also frees you up to be doing what it is within your business that you do best.

So, what have you learned about your brand? Are you attracting the right customers and maximising what you have to offer? Are you challenging brand leaders by offering something unique? If the answer to any of these questions is no then it might just be time for a re-brand.