Branding Your Business

Of course I don’t mean a searing hot cattle prod but rather the importance of projecting a professional, consistent business image. Visual recall of your company colors and logo combined with a memorable tag line are imperative to any business. It’s not just for large corporations and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Even a business run by "me, myself and I” can have a polished business image. The first step usually involves distilling your business down to three primary things: color, logo and tag line. Ask yourself this: what image am I conveying now and how do I want my business to be seen? Once you develop a good brand, be consistent. Don’t spend time and money raising people’s awareness of your company only to create confusion by changing your logo or company name.

Pick the right colors. Color is nonverbal communication and your client’s gender, age and culture can deeply impact how they react to colors and shades. For example, children respond to vibrant primary colors. Red has been shown to have the physical reaction of increasing blood pressure. Greens and blues are calming. White symbolizes weddings, purity, the "other world” or death depending on the culture. If your profession is financial, you want to project trust, confidence and wealth. You may want to include gold embossing in your logo and you might want to use dark blues, greens, white or rich reds. If you build handcrafted wood furniture, you may want to use earth tones or forest greens and use a thick textured paper for print media. Shapes and images also have the power to communicate. Research the symbolism of shapes. For example: elk denotes pride, power, and majesty.

Your logo will be with you for a long time. Have it developed or re-created digitally by a graphic artist. Ask for a high quality vector image of your logo. Vector images are based on curves (math) and bitmap images are based on pixels. Vector images are scaleable to any size with perfect resolution. You can then have a huge sign created or a tiny business card and the logo looks great with no ‘fuzziness’.

Develop a killer tag line. You should be able to catch clients’ attention, describe your business and be memorable all within 10 seconds! We have some great local examples of effective tag lines. From Dr. Thomas, a Chiropractor – "It’s never too late to get your head on straight” – short, catchy, meaningful and memorable! ”People Before Profits” – this tag line from a local Credit Union evokes the feelings of trust and client importance. Then there’s the Watts Electrical tag line: "We’ll remove your shorts” – a play on words that’s funny and memorable. If it sticks in your head, it has promise. Make sure you try out tag lines on unbiased people before you commit to it.

Once you decide on your tag line, logo and colors, make sure they are everywhere! Include them on your business card, stationary, email signature, your vehicle, invoices and on your website. Now I know I’m biased but I truly believe that every business needs a professional online presence these days. Having a website can be as simple as an extension of your business card with the same consistent branding and a LOT more information on it.

Have fun with it and embrace the process. Paint your office, put signs up and advertise on your vehicle. Place radio and print ads. Be noticed and get recognized. Happy Branding!

Marie Boichuk

"Get Online with Coexist Design”