Marketing a starter business

When it comes to creating a decent brand, there's a lot to consider. In our opinion, anything less than this is a liability. From your brand's history and mission to the specific guidelines for logo usage, color palette, and fonts, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. But don't worry, we've got you covered.

Brand's History, Mission, Values, and Vision

Before diving into the nitty-gritty details of brand guidelines, it's important to establish the foundation of your brand. This includes understanding your brand's history, mission, values, and vision. Your brand's history helps to tell the story of how your company came to be, while your mission, values, and vision provide direction for the future. These elements are crucial in creating a consistent and authentic brand.

1. Logo and Visual Identity

As we move forward in branding your small business, we'll now focus on the design aspect. Building an aesthetically pleasing logo that doesn't correlate with the brand strategy won't cut it. That's why we'll use the insights we gained from the brand strategy phase to shape your visual identity.

Your visual identity is what represents your brand at a glance - from your logo, website design, typography, social media graphics, photography style, and brand colors. The process of creating a compelling visual identity involves thorough research, visual mood boarding, and brainstorming with your team to identify the right logo, typeface, color, design elements, and visual brand attributes.

It may seem like a lot to consider, but your branding agency should always keep the customer in mind when designing your visual identity. Consistency is key, especially on your website and across your social media platforms. A simple logo, a converting website, and a solid marketing strategy are great starting points for small businesses not quite ready for a full branding overhaul.

At the end of the visual identity process, a branding agency worth its salt should provide you with a set of branding guidelines. These guidelines will serve as a blueprint for maintaining consistency and synchronicity when creating social graphics and advertising posters for your business.

2. Websites

I strongly recommend that small businesses establish a solid platform that anchors their industry leadership. It all starts with a modern, marketing-oriented, and up-to-date website, which should be developed after you have established your brand strategy in phase one.

While standard website building tools like Squarespace and WordPress may be a good place to start, it is crucial to ensure that your website is built to convert. A simple website may not be enough to achieve that goal, and investing in website branding is essential. Oftentimes these platforms will do the trick, but if you're still stuck on these solely because of "preferences", the simple fact is that they are dinosaurs, and so are you. Web development has transcended into its final form while you're still stuck 20 years in the past and wowed by a simple transitioning carousel gallery. More advanced design features are encouraged for those who are more creative-centric in their products or services. Platforms like Webflow and Framer are my personal go-tos.

A website is crucial for your brand to attract and retain loyal customers worldwide. Verisign conducted a study which found that 88% of U.S. small businesses agreed that a website has made it easier for customers to find their business.

Your website is a badge of credibility, which social media accounts alone cannot provide. Social media platforms limit your control over design, technology, and other aspects. A website is a platform that allows you to express your authenticity in a way that aligns with your brand strategy while providing more flexibility and control.

A survey conducted in the U.S. showed that 84% of consumers consider a business with a website to be more credible than one that only has social media pages.

"...it is crucial to ensure that your website is built to convert."

4. Tone of Voice and Grammar Rules

These factors play a crucial role in branding, contributing to the accurate representation of a business and shaping its communication style. Research has shown that language and linguistic cues can significantly impact brand perception and consumer engagement. For example, Smith et al. (2018) conducted a study examining the effects of different tones of voice on brand trust and found that a consistent and authentic tone positively influenced consumer trust and loyalty.

Grammar rules also hold significance in branding as they affect clarity, professionalism, and overall brand credibility. Jones and Lee (2019) explored the impact of grammar errors in brand communications and found that grammatically correct content enhanced brand perception and customer confidence. In contrast, grammatical mistakes were associated with a decrease in perceived brand quality and trustworthiness.

To ensure effective tone of voice and adherence to grammar rules in branding, several strategies have been identified. Research by Johnson and Davis (2020) highlights the importance of understanding the target audience and tailoring the tone of voice to resonate with their preferences and values. Additionally, implementing comprehensive brand guidelines that outline specific grammar rules and style preferences can maintain consistency and professionalism across various brand communications.

It is crucial for businesses to conduct regular brand audits to assess the effectiveness of their tone of voice and grammar usage. This can involve analyzing customer feedback, monitoring social media interactions, and conducting surveys to gather insights into consumer perceptions and preferences. Implementing user-centered design principles, as suggested by Brown and Williams (2021), can further support the development of a tone of voice that aligns with the target audience and fosters brand loyalty.

The takeaway here is that tone of voice and grammar rules significantly impact branding, influencing consumer trust, perception, and brand loyalty. By conducting thorough research, understanding the target audience, and implementing effective strategies, businesses can ensure their tone of voice and grammar usage accurately represent their brand, resulting in increased engagement, credibility, and customer satisfaction.


5. Design Elements and type of imagery

Design Elements and the type of imagery employed in branding play a pivotal role in shaping brand perception and effectively representing a business. Scholarly research provides valuable insights into the impact of various factors on design choices and their influence on consumer behavior. For instance, a study by Roberts and Smith (2017) investigated the effects of color in branding and found that color choices can evoke specific emotions and influence brand associations. Consequently, selecting appropriate colors based on the desired brand personality and target audience can enhance brand recognition and customer engagement.

Furthermore, the type of imagery used in branding materials significantly impacts brand perception and message delivery. Research conducted by Johnson et al. (2019) examined the influence of visual imagery on consumer responses and revealed that using authentic, relatable visuals resonated more with audiences and fostered a sense of trust and authenticity in the brand. On the other hand, generic or stock imagery was found to undermine brand credibility and fail to create a lasting impression.

To mitigate the potential negative effects and maximize the impact of design elements and imagery in branding, several strategies have been identified. One such approach is conducting thorough market research and audience analysis to gain a deep understanding of the target demographic's preferences and cultural sensitivities. This enables businesses to select design elements and imagery that align with their audience's expectations and effectively communicate the brand's values.

Moreover, collaborating with skilled designers and incorporating user-centered design principles can enhance the effectiveness of design elements and imagery in branding. By involving users throughout the design process, businesses can gather valuable feedback and insights that inform the selection of appropriate visual elements, ensuring they resonate with the target audience and accurately represent the brand.

Based on this data, we know that design elements and the type of imagery employed in branding significantly influence brand perception and consumer responses. By considering the impact of color, selecting authentic imagery, and incorporating user-centered design principles, businesses can create visually compelling brand experiences that foster positive associations, trust, and customer engagement.



References:

Brown, S., & Williams, B. (2021). User-centered design: A systematic approach to improving the user experience. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI), 28(1), 1-44.

Johnson, R. B., & Davis, C. H. (2020). The role of brand personality and brand voice in advertisement effectiveness: A review. Journal of Advertising Research, 60(3), 307-321.

Jones, L. H., & Lee, Y. H. (2019). Grammar matters: The role of grammatical errors in enhancing consumer persuasion. Journal of Advertising, 48(2), 180-196.

Smith, J. D., Bassellier, G., De Groote, X., & Piccoli, G. (2018). Mind your tone! Exploring the effects of conversational voice assistants on consumer trust. In Proceedings of the 39th International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS) (p. 1).

Johnson, M. A., Thompson, N., & Bernritter, S. F. (2019). Visual imagery in advertising: The effects of imagery authenticity and relatability on approach and avoidance behaviors. Journal of Business Research, 94, 345-355.

Roberts, K., & Smith, A. J. (2017). The effect of color in consumer branding: A comprehensive literature review. Color Research & Application, 42(3), 385-394.