STARTING A NEW BUSINESS
We started from scratch and know exactly what is entailed, getting your business started on the right foot has never been more important. In a world where it feels as if almost everyone is competing for the same customers and unique and original ideas are seemingly impossible to find, making the right impression is more important than ever.
Having a strong brand image, high quality collateral, advertising and assets, a top-notch website and comprehensive and established design standards, is crucial if a young, fledgling business is to survive.
LOOKING THE PART - THE IMPORTANCE OF BRANDING
Today’s world is one of aesthetics, visual images and first impressions, and if your start-up looks unprofessional, it is going to be difficult to obtain the support and traction that your business will need if it is to survive. Having an iconic and simple logo, quality collateral and consistent, professional design standards, is vitally important.
First off, logos are the staple of your brand; the recognisable label that people can remember and support. To have a simple, clean and eye-catching logo is something that many larger businesses and mega-brands recognise as essential to becoming a successful and recognisable brand. Simplicity is golden in branding - an iconic symbol is key.
THE SIX MAJOR BENEFITS OF HAVING SUCH A LOGO
Easy Recall: A logo is a staple symbol of your brand, and the easier it is to remember, the easier it is to retain and encourage your customer base. Aristotle once said that ‘the soul cannot think without an image’, and if that image is overcomplicated, the soul will have a lot of thinking to do. Don’t make it difficult for the customers you are trying to cultivate, to follow you.
Instantly Recognisable: If your logo is instantly recognisable, it is so much better - simple as that. To be recognised in a large market place, both online and in the physical world, due to your unique and iconic logo, is crucial for both marketing and advertising success. Getting you one step closer to conquering your market, and taking over the world.
Clarity of the Brand Message: The brand message is almost as important as the logo, it is basically the personality of your business, the ethos and character that a consumer subscribes to when buying from or using your business. Therefore, easy manifestation of this message is key in the logo; the clearer the better.
Completely Scalable: To have a useful, effective and practical logo, it needs to scale properly, and be able to be used in any size or medium without too much hassle. It needs to be created in a professional design application as an .eps vector format graphic. Not bitmap. Anything but bitmap! The difference here is that a vector file is smaller, made of objects not pixels and does not lose quality if resized. This makes it better for branding and print.
Keep it Simple: If you are thinking about having a complicated logo, just remember to be kind to yourself and your designer; if your logo consists of 101 layers, 42 shapes and nine colours, branding is going to be difficult. Resizing the logo is going to troublesome, without it becoming a multicoloured, indistinguishable blot on the bottom of the page, and every other piece of information on your website is going to become secondary to the monster logo in the corner. It needs to be eye-catching, not blinding. Logos are key, crucial, vital, and any other synonym of important. They make the brand, but they can also break the brand. Keep it simple, keep it scalable. Keep it recognisable, make it iconic.
Collateral is all the things a business uses to spread the word in a more subtle way; where advertising shouts the word, collateral reinforces the brand in the mind of the user. To be clear, collateral is stationary, brochures, print items, and merchandise - like mugs and t-shirts. While they use your notepads, receive your business cards and see people wandering around in your tshirts, your customers are becoming more aware and familiar with your brand. Quality collateral is important.
Isn’t it incredibly satisfying when everything coming from a company is of a similar design, similarly branded and of a set colour palette? What makes this possible are a company’s design standards. They keep everything consistent, on-brand and recognisable to the consumer. This helps expand your brand, showing your customer that it is set and established, that you have a consistent colour palette and design brief. This not only makes them more familiar with your design, but also makes them more confident in your abilities; if your branding is consistent, and high quality, they are more likely to feel confident in the consistency of quality in your products or services.
THE IMPORTANCE OF ADVERTISING AND MARKETING
Who starts a business without the intention for people to see and use them? Surely you want your company name lodged in the public psyche, recognised around the world and unforgettable in your market? This is achieved by advertising, marketing and good old fashioned ‘blowing your own trumpet’.
Advertising is simply spreading the word; telling the world that you exist. Advertising is crucial if a start-up is to succeed. According to CB Insights - a company that analyses data so businesses can ‘guess less and win more’ - in analysis of 101 Startup Post-Mortems, 14% of these 101 deceased start-ups failed because of poor marketing and advertising. This highlights how important effective advertising is. Consistent, high-quality, professional design is essential to succeed in advertising.
DON’T FALL FOR ‘WE’LL DESIGN IT FOR FREE’
While Janet Jackson and Luther Vandross once sang that ‘the best things in life are free’, in the case of design, they are not. If you agree for the advertisement/web company to design your site/advert, without setting design standards or giving them guidelines, you can expect to see a poorly designed site and campaign created by the office intern with nothing better to do. While this may not always be the case, it is highly likely. Be careful when using free design, it rarely ends well.
THE IMPORTANCE OF OUTSTANDING WEB DESIGN
In a world in which there are almost 3 billion active social media users, it may seem obvious for a business to have a website. Then, it may strike you as almost inconceivable that about 55% of small businesses do not have a site. This is according to data-analysts, Formstack. It is vitally important for a company to have a website; it is a place where your customers can find you, learn about you and purchase from you. Websites are key for business survival, and a high quality website even more so.
A website needs to look good. If a website looks like a compilation of random scraps of information and poorly chosen images, it will distract and confuse, rather than inform, it will aggravate and discourage, rather than build faith in the brand. How good your website looks almost ultimately decides whether a first-time customer will buy from you; if it is of a high quality, consumers will trust your ability and the quality of your business. Just like a logo, usually websites that are simple, clear and easy to understand are just that, and it will greatly help in gaining customers and nurturing your brand in your market.
Performance of a website is usually how fast it loads, reacts and leads to further action from the user. This may include purchasing a product or getting in contact with the company. Performance, like aesthetics, is key, as a slow, unresponsive, un-engaging website will discourage potential customers and help you on your slow demise. Websites like Apple’s, Starbucks’ and BMW’s are all simple, easy to use, and incredibly quick to load. This is crucial in an age of mobile connections and instantaneous gratification. This usually means that they need to be professionally crafted and tested. Try running Google’s PageSpeed Insights on your site for more detail on your website performance.
The balance between having a beautiful website, with pleasing aesthetics, and performance requires skill and experience to achieve, although it may be tempting to use a DIY web builder - consider the importance of your site as a marketing medium and invest in professional design and coding.
Isn't it infuriating when your favourite band or artist doesn't come out with any new music for ages? The same feeling can be felt with a website. If a website doesn't upgrade and update, it can become stagnant, boring and quite frankly, dead. Updates keep people engaged and interested, making them want to come back for more; waiting for the latest update on your website. This drives customer loyalty, retention and interest, helping you expand and grow your brand. With modern CMS (content management systems), updating is rather more simple. But with SEO (search engine optimisation) key nowadays, it would be wise to employ a professional, with skill and experience, to make sure you rank highest on the search engines like Google, Bing and Ecosia.
These days, starting a new business is hard, competition is everywhere and having an outstanding and unique business is absolutely crucial. With the three key methods for success, we hope we have informed you and equipped you for carving your own niche, growing in your target market and reaching your target customers.