It's time to start your business's brand. First rule: don't panic!
Stack Strategies is here to guide you through this process thinking out all the details. We always start out these pieces of advice with coffee, a notebook, and a goals book. We highly recommend that you follow along in this same way for best results.
The first step in your brand is a business. To be quite honest with you, we have never had anyone ask for a business name but we would be honored to name or rename anyone's business.
Edit: it finally happened. Someone let me help come up with their business name!!
When choosing a name, here are the best naming convention tips we can give you...
Short or able to be shortened or abbreviated
Say it out loud
Spell it out loud; how was it?
Imagine it as a website domain
Double-check the domain is available for purchase (If it's not call SS so we can help you!)
Imagine it as your email address
Say your email out loud - you'll be doing this a lot for clients!
Once you have a name selected, we will need to start identifying the audience and concepts for the brand. The audience is important because that is who we are hoping to appeal to! The brand concepts create the ideas that come to mind when a consumer thinks (maybe even subconsciously thinks) about the brand.
Maybe you haven't sold anything yet, but that's okay. That means we will be working from scratch on these ideas which may be better in the long run.
Your audience is made up of both the people you know and the people you want to attract. These may be two different audiences but it's our job to build a bridge between the two concepts. We must get there somehow! The "somehow" is by appealing to both groups of people.
Please get out a blank piece of printer paper or two. You will need this to brainstorm. Fold the sheet of paper in half.
Let's think more about the types of people you know right now and how you know them. To do so, let's think about the places you go to every day.
For example, let's imagine a random busy day for me. Who do I come into contact with? Remember, I solely work from home! I pass by other people in my building/neighborhood. I meet contacts at Starbucks, local coffee shops, or smoothie places if I grab something there. I connect with others at meetings, networking events, and social parties. I'm a regular at certain grocery stores and restaurants nearby.
Other people may be regulars at gyms and churches. Some business owners have other job roles where they have coworkers. And for those of you who have children in school, think CHA-CHING for all those school, parent/teacher, and kid class connections.
With those people in mind, please write "People I Know Right Now" and underline it on the top of one of the paper halves. Under it, we are going to write a variety of scatterbrained words all over. I want you to write [always kind and respectful] words that come to mind about the different people you know according to these brainstorm prompts...
Family status? Answers could be single, couples, married, young families, families with kids, families with adult kids, or multi-generational families.
Work status? Answers are self-explanatory here.
Locations? Do these people move often? Are they all in a certain region?
By understanding who you will initially see and support your brand, we can better understand who we are talking about our business to.
On the other side of your paper, please write "My Future Clients" and underline it. Let's think more about who you want to work with in the future. Sometimes our best clients are people we haven't met yet. But through strategic marketing and planning, we are going to find them!
Under this section, please write [always kind and respectful] words that come to mind when you think about these brainstorm prompts...
Professions that could use your specialty product or service?
Family status that could use your specialty product or service?
Generations or age ranges that you want to appeal to?
Locations you could meet these people?
Advertisement places you could promote yourself in.
Now that we have thought about who we know now and who we want to know, please flip the page over. Or if you used the whole sheet, grab a new one. It's time to switch it up.
In the middle of this sheet of paper write your business name. Here, please write every image concept that could relate to your brand.
For example, marketing is a tough business to be in because the image concepts are tough to think of, but here are my examples. For digital marketing, I could say computers, phones, emails, mail, and social media icons. In relation to business, I think of buildings, cities, and architecture. Personally, I am a bright and bold person, so I use bright and bold colors, so I would write that on my paper! The designer in me really loves balanced, simple designs.
On this single sheet of paper, I have defined almost every aspect of my brand. Furthermore, I just gave you all the elements I use in my marketing plan! Check out my Instagram. You'll see my brand recipe put to work.
Let's look at this sheet of paper of yours. Looking at your concepts, circle anything that you would be interested in possibly using as a logo design concept. By that I mean to potentially actually use in your logo. Some things may still be left to use in your brand's concepts - like for posts and topic talking points. Be sure to cross out anything here that you wouldn't include in your brand at all. Things that aren't relative or could be misconstrued.
Let's put this all together...
You know who will be looking at your brand at first
We know who we want to like our brand in the future
We know what subjects and objects relate to you and your business
That's a move right there.
This is when a designer steps in. Telling these things to an artist brings your brand to life.
Here's what happens next. We take these things to a creative type - cough, cough - Stack Strategies, LLC.
Stack Strategies takes your brainstorming a bit further. By really studying this information, we can gather what colors, fonts, and keywords are important. We shape these ideas into brand options.
We'll showcase different variations of logos, layouts, business names, fonts, and taglines. Then spell out the brand through a style guide. A style guide outlines your brand so anyone who needs to create marketing items for your brand can follow it exactly to code.
Brands must also be launched very strategically. Stack Strategies advises our clients to be sure to follow through with the starting branding elements. These elements are business cards, rack cards, email signatures, profile pics, cover photos, and sometimes even social media posts. We create brand packages such as this almost every time we build a brand or expand a brand for a client because their value is incomparable. A brand wouldn't be successful without a proper foundation built through a launch.
We hope this has helped you learn more about branding. You can use these tips to expand your brand or start a new one! To build your brand with Stack Strategies, schedule a consultation through our website!
Until next time, happy marketing!