Launching a new business is hard work. Each day your tasks include landing new customers, clients or investors, answering the flood of emails and phone calls and managing clients and contractors — all the while having cash-flow-related panic attacks.

With all these daily tasks continually eating up your precious time, it leaves little room for focusing on developing your brand strategy, brand identity and your vision. At Straydog we see this predicament on a daily basis — here’s a brief overview of the process for new business branding…

The most successful strategy for developing a brand is to do it prior to launching your new business. This doesn’t always happen, but it’s not too late! If your business aims to last and grow at a healthy pace, you need to make time for developing a defined brand and identity. The branding process is fairly straightforward in itself, but includes difficult and complex discussions about who you are, what you want to achieve followed by how to express that through language, interactions and graphic design.

Who are you?

The majority of entrepreneurs have a clear idea of what they’re aiming to accomplish, however, when asked what their new company does, most entrepreneurs will respond with a confused garble of abstractions, conceptual solutions and often a little tech jargon thrown in for good measure. …That’s not a good thing when you have only a moment to capture the interest of a prospective client. The language of your brand must be refined, or you are dead in the water.

The key to successful brand communications is a blend of brevity, clarity and consistency.

When we at Straydog talk about brand language, we attempt to avoid lofty super-pretentious proclamations, and rather define a simple honest truth about what you do and how you do it. Simplicity is king. Distilling everything down to one sentence is incredibly hard and takes hours upon hours of word picking, white board discussions and fine-tuning. Certainly that one sentence is not going to tell the whole brand story, but that’s not our intention. We teach you how to discipline yourself to achieve brevity and clarity while communicating your brand. Doing this will provoke your target audience to ask how and why.

Let’s differentiate your Brand.

The ultimate goal of any brand effort is differentiation. Setting your product or service apart from its competitors is an essential first step toward creating preference and loyalty.

Carefully choosing the most powerful benefits you will communicate will not only result in brand preference, but brand insistence. Meaning, the brand will be perceived to be the only viable solution for the customer’s need, and customers would rather temporarily go without than choose another brand. If you don’t believe brand differentiation goes beyond price, you’re wrong, take bottled water for example.

Let’s design your Visual Identity

Once you’ve organized the more existential facets of your brand, now comes the visual identity: logo, graphic elements, website, fonts, colours and stationery. The great thing about graphic design is that if applied correctly it can make your business instantly emit the values you want to communicate, such as; innovation, fun, quirkiness, luxury whatever your brand essence is. However, creating design that reflects the essence of your brand is not an easy thing, you must seek a professional graphic design firm with the experience and skill.

Brand Anxiety is normal

Developing a brand requires spending an unhealthy amount of brain capacity strategizing, brainstorming, and planning. This is the essential brand building phase, where you look at your brand from every angle and continually polish your idea. All of this intense work means sometimes you lose all judgement of what exactly you are trying to achieve. You question if it make sense, if everyone else will see the value as you do and sometimes, if you’re crazy!

Don’t worry, this brand anxiety is normal. If you’ve hired a professional branding and graphic design firm, you should trust their work and take a breather. Try expressing your brand essence in the established language on a few random people, show them your brand identity design and see how they react. Doing this will bring back a sense of perspective and ease.

Learn More about Straydog’s Vancouver Branding Studio [+]

Rob-Barnett-Straydog-Branding-Vancouver-Managing-Director-Brand-StrategistArticle by Rob Barnett
President, Brand Strategist at Straydog