Branding 101: 3 Things you must do before you design your logo
Your branding is so much more than the visual assets that a designer can create for you. It’s the story of your business; what you and your business stand for. Before you get started with creating a visual identity via a logo or a website, you need to ask yourself some tough questions, and dig deep to discover what really matters to you. Here are some of the must-dos before you even start to put pen to paper, or contact a designer about creating a logo for you!
What’s your mission statement? This doesn’t have to be a superbly crafted piece of copy. It can just be a simple statement of what you hope to achieve, and why. For example at Delilah, our mission is to help startups, small businesses and entrepreneurs level up their business through awesome branding and websites. Could we word that a little more tightly? Sure! But it works to explain who we are and who we serve in a way that anyone can understand. You can also think of this as your elevator pitch, or the way you’d explain to your Grandmother what you do. I’m sure you already have this in your head, but it’s good to write it down and get agreement on it if you have co-founders. It’s an important place to start from.
Who is your target customer? This one can be a little controversial when you’re talking to a startup founder, as the temptation if you’re trying to grow your business to a 10X scale is to say, “Everyone!” but be honest, who are you most trying to reach? Who is going to be your early adopter, or make up the bulk of your clientele? If you are following in the footsteps of another brand, who is their audience? Try to drill this audience down to assign some of the following criteria: gender, age range, location, social status, education level, career, etc. Try to get a picture of this person in your head. If you’d like, give them a name, and try to think of what other brands this person might interact with, what they put in their shopping trolley at the supermarket, and what they do in their spare time. The more traits and personality you can assign to your target, the more they will become real to you and you can do better at serving them.
What’s your brand essence? If you could distill your business into just three words or phrases, what would they be? Are you Sophisticated? Bold? Hip? Cutting-edge? Funny? Write down all the adjectives that come to mind which embody your brand in one big brain-dump (it’s great to use post-its for these!), then be brutal and whittle them down to just three. Without being militant about it, this brand essence test can be applied to every product you launch or piece of social media content you create as a litmus test for whether you are staying on-brand enough. Expect that as your business grows and develops, one or two of these words might change or evolve. That’s ok. Your brand is a living, breathing entity and change is likely.
Only once you’ve taken yourself through all the above exercises should you put pen to paper, or feel ready to brief a designer to take on the task of creating a visual identity for your brand. Of course, if you work with Delilah, we’ll guide you through exactly the above (and a lot more!) to get you to a place of crystal clarity about how to kick off your brand’s journey. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about how we can work together.