The importance of branding for a new business startup
Earlier this year I was approached by a young entrepreneur to enquire about the possibility of providing branding for a new business startup. After an initial discussion it was decided that as well as requiring branding for the new business startup he would also require help with the marketing plan too. Here’s what I produced for him.
Starting a new business is both exciting and worrying at the same time. I know, I left my last full time Senior Art Director job in an advertising agency and went self-employed as a freelance Art Director over thirty years ago, with my business becoming limited in 2009. So I’ve been there, seen it and done it to coin a phrase.
One of the things I’ve learned is that you only get one chance to make a first impression. Now that might be a cliche but its true. And that’s why I think one of the things that sets businesses apart is a professionally developed and implemented brand. I like to look at is as going for an interview. If you are smartly dressed, well prepared, confident and polite, then you stand a better chance of success than somebody who isn’t. So think of the branding for for a new business to be that smart outfit, being confident and well prepared.
First creating a name, a brand identity, a web presence and more
Creating a name for an electronic design service new business startup
The first stage in the process started with a series of questions. What would the business actually do? Was this business different from others offering a similar service or products? Did the business have any USPs (unique selling points)? There were plenty more questions but essentially the key points were identified and a ‘point of difference’ established.
The next stage was finding a unique name for the business that an affordable web address could be purchased for. I also wanted to explore the potential for the name to become a verb as well as a noun. There will be more on this as the brand communications are produced and rolled out.
A number of options were explored and Circuithinking was chosen.
Branding and logo initial designs and ideas
Shown above are some of the initial designs for the Circuithinking name. In the top example I explored the copper trace circuit design elements used in printed circuit boards. The second design featured more of the creative thinking aspect of the design service. The third design featured the ‘C’ and ‘T’ combined in the name to form a very clean and efficient ‘light bulb idea’ graphic symbol.
Developing the chosen design
Refining the design
After presenting my initial ideas and thoughts along with the marketing strategy to differentiate the business, the next stage was to refine the design.
This involved the colours, typography and enhancement of the graphic symbol. The ‘CT’ graphic icon was re-proportioned and different line weights explored. This was to make sure that the design would work at all sizes and in different media types. Other potential options were produced to see how the logo would work reversed out of a darker background for instance.
Typography and colours
Once the logo structure was refined and approved, the next phase was based around typography and colours. Initially the logo had been shown with an electric blue and as an alternative a bright yellow.
The electric blue version worked well against a grey background and looked clean on white. The bright yellow option which better suited the ‘lightbulb’ idea symbol was also selected as a secondary option. It was decided the electric blue version would always be the primary choice.
Shown below is the font in proposed weights along with colour swatches for the primary and secondary palette.
Rolling out the design
Next in the process was to produce the stationery and supporting documentation. This is so much easier once a set of guidelines are produced.
The agreed colour combinations for the new brand identity
Once the logo colours and typography were approved the next stage was to produce a collection of digital files that covered all the required options. Having access to these early on makes it more efficient to be able to access exactly what is required for preparing reports, artwork and any other marketing activity.
Having worked very closely with the client at every stage in the creative process we now started to see the whole project come to life.
designs were approved for stationery and business cards as well as support documentation. The choice of font and access to logo files meant that any communications, reports or presentations produced by the business personnel would also be ‘on brand’.
The website design for Circuithinking
Arguably one of, if not the most important elements of any branding project is a website. You can visit the Circuithing website here.
A huge part of the marketing side of this project was identifying what was different about this new business and how that difference could be promoted. In a further article I’ll explain how we went about this process and the thinking behind it.
The website was planned out thoroughly in terms of SEO (search engine optimisation), page content and website structure. Once all this was completed individual page designs were produced so that the client could see exactly how the site would work on different devices (the site is fully responsive).
Shown above are just a small selection of the page designs. The site was built using WordPress which allows the client to add, modify and update content as required.
Starting as you mean to go on
The key to this whole project’s success was establishing the brand early on. In the same way that a business plan identifies the early stages of development (and chances of success), a well designed brand identity will help a new business maintain a consistent look that grows with the business.
Initial business startup costs can be prohibitively expensive depending on the sector, but I do think a professional consistent brand identity does help make that first impression a good one, so its worth investing in. And in most cases the confidence that comes with making a good first impression will help a business win more opportunities and open more doors.