Business Branding, Notes for Startups & SMEs

Branding takes on different meanings, depending on your status and budget. For example, a very large and established national or international company has to transfer years of identification and goodwill as quickly as possible to the new brand, whereas a small startup local business often pays no attention at all to branding.

Looking at the middle ground, we’ll take a look at the basic foundation for establishing a brand for startup and growth. It’s important to differentiate yourself from your competitors whilst associating your company brand with the industry you are in.

Recently, The BPc was asked to develop basic branding for two companies in the Financial Services sector. One requested only stationery for now; the other was in the throes of developing a strategy to launch a new service early next year, requiring a cohesive look for business cards, presentations, handouts and website. The printer and website developer were in place; our task is to establish the brand and ensure conformity.

Corporate Image: Logo design, colours, fonts.

Case Study 1 came with a brief that required a logo “typical of similar businesses in this sector” and we delivered two ideas that met this brief, neither of which were liked by the MD who issued a different brief of “just go with something classy“. We presented one further design which we really liked, together with a serif and a sans-serif font, and received unanimous approval. The printer was provided with the artwork and pantone colours; the client’s stationery was delivered this week.

Case Study 2 began a few weeks ago with a logo that was well received but, following a change in company name and structure, the design no longer fitted. The new brief was “use the new name as the logo and can you fit in a couple of Greek symbols?

With such a clear and simple brief, we offered up one choice and it was exactly what the MD wanted. One Director asked to see some alternative colours, which we provided, but the original colour choice prevailed. The logo required two fonts, one  Greek and one which is a widely used sans-serif typeface. We are currently finalising the presentations using corporate colours and the standard font, to be followed by designs for handouts and business cards. We are also working with the website designers, who have introduced some additional pictorial elements for consideration and inclusion in the printed marketing materials, to seamlessly bring the branding together. More on the progress of this project when it launches next year.

Branding throughout All Media.

Reinforcing your brand on all media gives your company a totally professional look and it need not be difficult. Consult a designer regarding your logo, choose your colours and typeface(s) then use those colours (and a limited range of tints and complementary colours, if required) and only one or two fonts – a headline font and a body font. Identify some images that you may wish to use, such as photographs of your products.

Here is a check-list of some areas where branding may be applied:

  • Stationery / business cards
  • Website / blog
  • Social Media
  • Email signatures
  • Emailing /newsletters
  • Video intro and closing slide
  • Presentations, e.g. PowerPoint
  • Printed marketing / sales materials
  • Advertising – online & traditional
  • Product packaging

As always, if you’d like our input in any way, please get in touch. Meanwhile, here is a link to our design services.