Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, says that “reputation is what people say about you when you leave the room”. Great. But how do you influence that? The answer is branding. Branding is about building a reputation so that, even when you are not able to speak directly to your customer, face-to-face, you are able to influence what they think of you so that they will come back time and again for your product or service (what we call creating demand).
Great brands stand for something very clear and simple. Ask most people to think about what Nike, Apple or Coca Cola stand for and you will see consistency in their answers. These companies have built brands that everyone understands. They do it through a clear and concise focus on knowing who they are, who their target market is, what they stand for and how they look, think and speak.
If you are just starting out, the easiest way to define your brand is to imagine it as a person. Write down who that person is, how someone else would describe them, what tone of voice they speak in, how they dress and what their key values are in life. This is your brand personality. Once you have defined it, stick to it. If something doesn’t fit your brand, however good an idea, reconsider. Great brands always have one thing going for them… ruthless adherence to their brand values and personality.
From a technical point of view, here are the things to think about:
- Brand name – this should be “registerable” as a trademark (or, at a minimum not infringe anyone else’s trademark). More information on registering trademarks in the UK can be found at the UK Patent Office: https://www.gov.uk/topic/intellectual-property/trade-marks. If you business is to have a website, you will also need to find an available url. Go Daddy and register.com, amongst others, can help you find a url. If your brand name on its own is not available, try adding a descriptive word (e.g. if “delicious” were not available you could try “deliciouscafe” or “delicisionrestaurant”. These days most businesses can get away with not having a .com domain name (unless you are planning a truly global business) and there are lots of cool suffixes available so you try .company, .club or .space, for example.
- Logo – this should be a unique visual identifier of your business and consist of just your name in a distinctive font or your name with a symbol that is uniquely yours. Make sure that whatever you use as your logo does not infringe anyone else’s intellectual property. You cannot use something you find on Google as your logo. It must be a unique design.
- Brand imagery – if you are building a website or designing an ad, you cannot use imagery that you find for free on Google. This is someone else’s intellectual property. That is one of the reasons we have created Adzy, to help small business owners to find effective advertising that they can use.