It's a Strategic
My take on ways to brand
your company efficiently
— OCTOBER 10, 2016 —
I love organized strategies so much that I have decided to write this blog post to inform and help business owners brand their company in a very organized and methodical way. Below is my take on an efficient brand strategy that will help guide and mold your company into the business that you envisioned. This brand strategy goes over the marketing materials I highly recommend, the order of how these materials should be designed and understanding how long each design process may take for each marketing material mentioned.
Before jumping in, I always tell clients that the times I give on marketing materials are strictly estimates. Estimates are guidelines for the client and the final time it takes on a task is fully determined by the complexity and needs of the client, which may reduce or increase the estimate provided. So if you are on a budget, be sure to discuss this with your designer beforehand and be conscientious about consolidating revisions; that’s what determines the overall price for those who are working with designers who charge hourly. Now, let's dive in!
1. logo + Overall Look of Your Brand
First things first, a logo is needed for your company. NOT ONE marketing material should be made until you have your logo done. Things to keep in mind about your logo… you should keep your logo simple and the typography used within your logo should be extremely legible.
Think of how your logo might look when printed on a writing pen. Will your logo still be distinguishable when it is super tiny on that pen? Maybe you are dead set on having a logo with a lot of detail and you know it won’t look good when printed very small. A way you could resolve this issue is to develop a sub-mark of that logo. A sub-mark is a less busy version of your logo and is essentially a secondary logo option. Below you will see an example of a main brand's logo versus the brand's sub-mark logo.
Another thing you should keep in mind about your logo is that it should look good in black and white. It's common practice for your designer to design your logo in black and white first then add color when the logo is almost done with development. The main reason for doing this is because your logo may be shown in black in white down the line so you want to be sure it's just as strong in black and white as it is in color.
Once your logo is finalized you should have a general idea of what your brand will look like. Having your designer create a branding guideline for your company is always a really great idea. This guide goes over fonts, colors, picture inspirations, etc.
A logo generally takes a designer anywhere from 6 – 8 hours to design and as mentioned before the time truly depends on the clients needs and/or wants. Keep in mind that the logo creation does take quite some time because you and the designer are literally starting on a blank canvas. Does this mean that future marketing pieces will take this long? No, because during the logo process you are literally setting up the overall look you want for your company as a whole; meaning, you will already have a general idea of what your marketing material will like in the future and it won't take as long to design.
Next, your website should be created. Think about everything you wish to have on your website. For instance, my website consists of a variety of pages that will help inform clients and potential clients about my business. Be sure that your design is consistent with your branding guidelines, your website is user-friendly, and your information is clearly stated and understood. Your website should be your first marketing material that starts to define your brand. Again, I don’t recommend creating any marketing materials until your website is up and running.
If you are working with a developer to design your website then you can expect to put a pretty penny into this project. Not only is a developer trying to design according to your brand's look, but they are also trying to code everything to make your website work. A website is very tedious to build and a basic informative website like mine can take anywhere from two to three weeks to build out. You should expect this to be the most expensive marketing piece for your company.
3. Social Media
Once your website is up, it’s best to create business pages using social media such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, etc. I have talked to numerous clients who refuse to use social media. I think it’s just intimidating for some. But the big reason you should get it is because… IT’S FREE ADVERTISING "sort of"!! How many times have you gone somewhere only to see 20 people looking down at their cellphone? Guess what they are looking at? Most likely Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, etc. If you are not tech savvy ask someone who is to give you a quick crash course on social media. It’s truly the best way to get your company out there. Also, when the business pages are created your developer can link your pages to your website. Now, remember the "sort of" mentioned above? Though advertising may be free, your business will reach more people (not just your friends) if you invest in social media paid advertisement.
Social media platforms are great for advertising. Once your business pages are up, your graphic designer can doctor it up with the necessary informative ads that you want to display. Advertisements for your social media accounts generally take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half to create.
4. Business Cards
Believe it or not, many clients have requested a business card first before creating all the above marketing materials mentioned. Why is this number four on my list? Because you can now put your website and social media informaton on your business card which makes your company look "too legit to quit". You can also add your social media information making it easy for people to follow you and stay up to date with your company. Business cards are an amazing way to quickly give your potential client information on you and your business. Business cards can take anywhere from 2 to 3 hours to design and to set up for print.
Now your are set! Set for future marketing materials such as signs, t-shirts, flyers, booklets... the list goes on. Hopefully, this article gives you the confidence needed to establish an organized and strategic branding plan for you and your business. If this blog post has helped and you are ready to schedule a meeting with your graphic designer check out my blog post, Before Branding Your Business. There you will find great information that will prepare you for the initial branding meeting with your graphic designer.