image of tausif akram By: Amby
20 Sep 2014

Starting a New Business? Here’s 8 Steps to Building A Marketable Brand

Sometime between conceptualization and launch, a startup business needs to establish a brand. This is your identity—it puts you on the field and helps you stand out so no prospects think of you as “like {Competitor X}.” You are your own entity—but you are also working with less capital at this point.

Here’s how you can build your brand on a (pre) startup budget.

  1. Have a brainstorming session with everyone involved, and have each person list 3 adjectives that describe what your business stands for. Even if you are a sole proprietor, you may still have close friends or family members who are able to contribute to describing your business.
  2. Collect images to visually express your brand. Start a light box in a stock photo gallery, such as iStock, choosing pictures that speak to you. Note that relevance is the key here, and it doesn’t have to be literal. For example, if you are a wedding planner then you may choose images expressing romance rather than images of scheduling or the business side of things.
  3. Think of your business as a celebrity. Visualizing a person instead of a concept can help you determine if your brand can be viewed as adventurous and outgoing, solid and reliable, or happy and quirky.
  4. Choose colors that fit. Considering the person-like attributes, adjectives, and stock images you’ve chosen to describe your brand… select the colors that fit. Are you bright and colorful, or more traditional and timeless?
  5. Choose fonts that fit. Explore Google or Adobe fonts to explore the collections. Serif fonts tend to fit the traditional brands, Sans Serif can be more modern.
  6. Design a logo. Hire a design agency or a freelance graphic designer. DIY logos are the worst thing to launch on because they tend to be overly complicated and difficult to use in multimedia purposes. A professional designer can take your concepts and information so far and produce a clean, simple logo that will be the foundation of your brand.
  7. Design a website. Set aside the resources to build a website that is ready to launch your business in the modern world. Many startup businesses have attempted to skip this step, using social media instead or a free DIY site builder. Financially it might be tempting but a professional website is one of the most important investments because it will help your business grow into its’ full potential. Skipping this step can delay the successful launch you expect and deserve.
  8. Market offline too. Everyone is going web-crazy and for good reason, but this means that the “real world” marketing is a less saturated venue. Network, affiliate, distribute brochures or rack cards, always carry business cards on you, etc. If you have the resources, print material should be available prior to launch. If the cost of graphic design and web development exhausts your startup funds then it is okay to wait until the first year before designing brochures/rack cards, and (optional) giveaway items. In this step, invest in professional design and quality paper… it truly does make all the difference!

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