Getting to the core of your business
So you're fancying a brand refresh, or are wanting to kickstart your new venture with a shiny new logo - but have you done your homework?
That sounds really boring, but I promise it's not.
Delving deep into the values and mission of your new or growing business is actually really exciting, and something I always recommend to brand design clients before we get started.
Why should you bother doing this extra work?
It's not just for your designer's benefit, I swear. It's actually kinda important for you and your business too...
- Define your 'guiding light' missions and goals to work towards in your business strategy and day-to-day activities
- Make your marketing efforts more efficient by better understanding your target audience and competitors
- Create consistency and professionalism in everything you do
But yes, other than that it really does help your designer. It means we can:
- Better understand the goals of your new brand/logo design
- Choose a colour palette and typography set to fit with your business' personality
- Optimise your brand/logo design for its intended use and target audience
I've put together a few questions that you can ask yourself to help you prepare for a new brand or logo design. I include all these questions in my 'Client Questionnaire'; a worksheet I get each of my design clients to fill out before we get started, but it can be helpful if the client has already thought through each of these areas beforehand.
Q: What is the story/meaning behind the name?
Not just the name; what is the reason you do what you do? How did it all start?
Part of the charm of small businesses is the personal element, and the romanticism of a story or journey behind the business, so take advantage of that!
Q: What are your values/mission statement?
This may take a little more thought and research, but it's absolutely worth doing. One of my favourite starting points for this is developing an 'Onliness Statement' - a statement that combines what makes you truly unique with your overall mission.
Q: What is your unique selling point (USP)?
As well as creating an Onliness Statement, it's important to define your unique selling point (or point of difference) for yourself separately too.
Your USP could be to do with your product or services, your location, your target customer niche, or other factors.
Q: Who are your main competitors?
Do your research and find your top 5 competitors, and do some in-depth analysis.
What are their USPs? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Write it all down in a worksheet like this one and leave it. Constantly checking up on your competition will inevitably lead to 'Death by Comparison', so don't do it - analyse once, and leave.*
*Excuse me trying to dog train you :)
Q: Who are your ideal customers?
I've written in depth before about customer profiling, so I won't say too much. I will however say that this is one of the most important things on this list!
Q: If your business were a person, what would they be like?
Would they be the friendly, approachable guy that everyone goes to for advice, or the stylish fashionista with an expensive luxury taste?
Don't stop at profiling your customers - profile your business! Create a character for your business and keep that in your mind when working on any design or copywriting projects.
Q: WHO ARE YOU INSPIRED BY?
Keeping some inspiration in mind is always a good thing. Whether it's an influencer your aspire to be like, or a company you adore the branding of, this is your ambition and motivation for what you do!
Grab the questionnaire worksheet!
That shouldn't seem like too much to handle - it is your business (aka your baby) we're talking about after all. It is so important to have these core details defined in your mind in order to promote and explain your offering to others.