I know…I know. As a new small business, you are ALL over the place with your brand basics.  You get one thing cleaned up and another mess falls on your plate.  If you start organization from the beginning, though…you’ll be way ahead of the rest!

Creating a one stop cheat sheet for your business brand basics is a great first step!  It will keep the core of your business in front of you should at all times.  It will keep your work branded, cohesive and built for your perfect customer.

Your Homework, Should You Choose to Do It:

I recommend answering all of the below questions on one data sheet that you can print out and hang above your desk…or even better, a file you can save on your desktop. This should become one of the most referenced files you’ll create.

Here we go!

1. 5 ADJECTIVES TO DESCRIBE YOUR BUSINESS

You can’t (shouldn’t) design anything until you have a basic understanding for the feelings which your business brand will evoke.  Understanding how your customers will react to your products are the key to selling in any business. Take a a few minutes and write down 5 adjectives that describe what you want them to feel. Should they feel relief when they see that you can solve their problems? Are you a playful brand that gears your work towards kids? Are you an expensive, high end brand or a brand for the masses?

2. TARGET GROUPS

If you haven’t heard the word yet…let me be the first to welcome you to the wonderful world of the Avatar.  😀  No…not the aliens, you weirdo.  Your avatar is a mental image of what you want your ideal customer to be.  We are going to do a simple/vague version of the avatar for this exercise.  Quickly, write down your target market.  What age are they?  Are the female or male? Why are they coming to you for your product?

3. COMPETITORS

Yes…you are unique.  You are striking out on your own and IF you have competitors (I’ll go into this later…but not having competitors can be a symptom of a weak business focus), you’ll want to know who they are, what they are doing well, and where they are getting there name out on on the internet.  Check websites like YelpFacebook and Google. You are looking for product similarities, good reviews, bad reviews and immediate physical approximation if you are a brick and mortar store. You can create a second sheet with a more detailed analysis, but for this over the desk visual just write down your top 3-5 competitors and their URL’s.  Then,watch them like a hawk!  Subscribe to their newsletters and feeds.  Be the ninja Gnome I know you are.

4. COLOR PALLET

Finally!  Branding!  This is the fun part. 🙂  Now that you have a better idea of how your brand should FEEL…let’s make it LOOK that way! Your color pallet should consist of 3-4 colors. Your 2 primary colors will be used in your logo and design elements of your website, while the remaining 3 should be used for text in blog posts, business cards, etc.  If you get stuck on color pallets, one of my FAVORITE resources (I’m a recovering color pallet addict) is Colourlovers.  You can pull inspiration from already created pallets as well as patterns and pictures

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5. LOGO/SOCIAL MEDIA HEADERS

Along with the above color pallet, this is great to keep on your desktop for a quick drag and drop scenario. Save your logo in both a PNG format (with the background set to invisible) as well as a JPG with a neutral background like white or black.  If you don’t use Photoshop, I recommend getting someone to help you do this on a website like Fiverr.

Fiverr is a great place to get your logo designed from the beginning…especially if you are a new business!  You’re logo and branding will evolve and change over the years…so I don’t recommend dropping $700 on them until you’ve hashed out the basics above. Once you are ready for some serious designage, you can tackle a website like 99designs.  You’ll pay more, but you’ll your branding will be tailored to exactly what you are looking for.

6. TAGLINE

Last, but most definitely not least, I recommend adding your Tagline to this page.  It should be a one sentence statement that tells your customers (and reminds you) of what your business does.  Think of some of the more famous taglines.

Toys R Us – “Where a Kid Can Be a Kid”
Apple – “Think Different”
Verizon – “Can You Hear Me Now? Good.”
Milk – “Got milk?”

Although the slogans don’t say exactly what the product is, they tell us WHO the product is FOR.  Kids. Innovators. Cell phone users. And…well…milk was a bit obvious.

Tell your customer why THEY want your product; why THEY would be perfect for YOUR company.

So to sum it all up, your Brand Basics should be easily findable both physically and digitally.  You want every one of these aspects to become second nature to your workday.

Have questions or want to share your brand progress?  Head over to the Facebook group!!  We would love to see what you are working on!