Business branding is the process of giving life to your brand. Whether you’re selling skincare or fashion, run a hotel or a restaurant, branding is an essential part of positioning yourself on the market, standing out and attracting clients. Branding is simply a way of identifying your business – and creating a pretty logo or a cool website isn’t nearly enough. In this post, I’m sharing my top 3 tips on how you can brand your business better from the start.
Wait, what’s the difference between branding and marketing?
Marketing is the tools and strategies you use to promote your business and products. Branding is the practice of shaping your business into a brand. It’s about defining who you are. It might sound simple, but many people – including business owners – tend to mix them up.
A marketing expert doesn’t necessarily know anything about good branding – and a branding expert could be clueless when it comes to marketing practices. If you’re hiring someone to help you with either, do your research before-hand. You want to hire the best (wo)man for the job. If you decide to do your own branding, take your time and allow yourself to be completely immersed in the process. Because that’s what it is – a process.
1. Think about how you want to be perceived.
The base of good branding is defining your unique brand voice; what sets you apart from your competitors? How would you like to be perceived by your audience? If you’re a hotel; what do you want your guests to say when checking out after a weekend at your place? How do you want them to feel? E.g.:
- “This is the best service experience I’ve had for a long time!”
- “I felt like staying with friends since the moment I stepped into the lobby! This is truly a home-away-from-home!”
- “I feel completely invigorated and relaxed! I’d come back for the spa anytime!”
Do your field research. Ask you target audience to give you feedback upon interacting with your business in one way or another – that’s the most honest way of collecting important data (and a way for you to improve).
When you know a) how you’d like to be perceived by the world and b) how you’re actually being perceived (these two obviously have to merge in order for your branding to make sense), you can create your brand statement; We offer (product/service) for (target audience) to (value proposition). For example, “We provide honeymooners with unforgettable experiences that will last for a lifetime. Unlike other hotels, we offer all newly wed couples a free spa day”. You get the point, right?
As the founder of Amazon once said;
Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room”.Jeff Bezos
2. Choose the look of your brand.
In my agency, we specialize in high quality branding, and there’s a reason for that. Not only is it super fun to help our hotel and gastronomy clients to stand out with beautiful design; it’s also crucial work that can either make or break a brand. As soon as you have a strong name for your business and you know your target audience and what sets you apart from your competitors, it’s time to dive into the fun part; your brand identity.
How would you like to be visually represented? Choose wisely and stick with it! Cohesiveness is crucial when creating brand visuals, so make sure to always use the same colours, fonts and tone-of-voice whether it’s your business cards, your letterhead, your packaging or your website.
A lot of new businesses don’t pay enough attention to details. They tend to focus more on the actual product they sell, and how they can reach more clients – which is great, but it’s not a very secure plan. At least not if you want to stick around for a long time.
Colours, fonts, smells – they all tap into the senses and make your target audience feel and act in a certain way. So, how do you want them to feel when interacting with your brand?
The picture above shows the feelings and meanings connected to specific colours. Which colours speak to you, and which one(s) would fit your brand? Remember, there are loads of different nuances to choose from, not just the ones listed above. In my own brand, for example, I’m mostly using earthy tones (sand, beige, dark green, gold, grey) because these fit well with my brand mission and audience.
3. Invest in a quality logo
Needless to say, a strong logo is mandatory for all brands, but you’d be surprised of how many that either pays no attention to this part of their brand creation – or pay someone on Fiverr to quickly put something together.
That’s not the way to go.
Your logo is the face of your brand, and it’s going to be visual anywhere and everywhere you sell your products and market your business (website, social media, magazines etc.). You need a logo that matches your product and values (think about your brand statement here) – something that’s unique, identifiable and scalable (to make it look good in all sizes).
There are many ways to build a strong logo. What style do you like the most?
- Emblem (like Starbucks)
- Lettermark (like IBM)
- Icon (Apple)
- Wordmark (Filofax)
- Combination (Burgerking)
Now, there’s nothing wrong with a service like Fiverr, however, you should be very clear on what you want and expect in advance. Many entrepreneurs use a brand agency to help them with the creation of their logo because it gives them a smoother work process with more room for dialogue.
Below are two logos I personally really like: the ones of the hotel chain, Ritz-Carlton and the car brand, Jaguar. Why do I like them? They’re streamlined, elegant and fit their brands very well. Both logos incorporate strong animals – a jaguar and a lion – which obviously stand for a) power, elegance and speed and b) elegance, refinement and noble bearing (a lion also symbolize material wealth). And yes, your logo doesn’t have to be in colours – black and white might also be an option if it fits the rest of the strategy.
You might also like this post:
“How to create a strong hotel content marketing strategy”