7 SIMPLE STEPS TO STARTING A BRAND
To create a brand you first require a branding process. But what is a branding process? Here is the Propel branding process that can help you build an effective brand.
1. CONCENTRATE ON ONE BRAND AT A TIME
Unless it is incredibly big or has oligarchs as backers, no business ever feels over-funded. The best way forward when first launching a brand is to put all your branding resources and dynamism into developing the name of your product as a brand. If you are launching a new company, concentrate everything on making the name of the company into a brand. Resist any temptation to build individual brand identities for the new company plus each of its services or products. You will spread the resources, your imagination and your energy too thinly, and the more brands your customers encounter, the more distracted and confused they will become. Give a customer the chance to misunderstand you, and they’ll take it, every time. Build one strong brand and, in good time, the rest will follow.
2. CAPTURE THE DOMAIN NAME – THE URL
When considering options for names, make certain you can purchase the appropriate URL or online domain name. This is basic homework, but you’d be surprised at how many smart business people get caught out in the excitement of creating catchy new names.
3. SIMPLICITY IS VALUABLE
When devising new company or product brand names, our advice is to try to keep them as short and simple as you can – names are more easily remembered that way. Check out supermarket shelves if you need inspiration: one or two syllables should be more than enough! Make the name easy to spell and easier to pronounce. Think Starbucks, Apple, Volvic, Nike...
4. PICK ONE STYLE OF NAME: REPRESENTATIVE, EVOCATIVE OR QUIRKY
You have reached a three-way split in the road towards your brand name. They all can lead you to good names, but you have to weigh up which is most appropriate for your task.
Route One takes you to a name that represents what your product does, in a tell-it-like-it-is style – think Heinz Baked Beans, Specsavers, Ray-Ban or Inter-Flora.
Route Two evokes emotions or more lateral-thinking type ideas, such as Lotus, Sky or Yahoo!.
Route Three means going down the road of an oddball, possibly made up, nonsense names, like Shazam, Cheerios or Google. Honestly, who would come up with “Google” and think it would ever catch on…
To learn more about brand naming check out our blog "What's a good brand name?"
5. STAY WELL CLEAR OF FOCUS GROUPS, WORKSHOPS AND COMMITTEES
By all means invite other people to contribute opinions, views, constructive comments and ideas. But be afraid, very afraid, of committees that insist on putting decisions to a vote. More often than not, the result is vanilla when you want mint choc chip with sprinkles, or predictable when you need preposterously precocious. Exciting proposals are tamed, originality is sidelined in favour of safe. And “safe” ain’t safe, it’s dangerous as well as dull. Research groups and studiously filtered findings can lead to the same dead-end: it’s sometimes said that good ideas are “researched to death”, with all the original zest and life simply processed out of them.
6. BE CONSISTENT IN HOW YOU APPLY THE BRAND
This is so vital, I’ll say it twice: this is vital. Total consistency in the use and application of your brand is critical to success, and to not waste all the work of naming it, designing the collateral, and so on. Be inconsistent and you may as well not bother.
Be consistent in look, in the tone of voice and you will have a fighting chance. Once you choose your brand name, be faithful to it through thick and thin and do not start messing with variations like using only its initials, or changing the logo every other week. That’s like changing your face regularly and expecting people to recognise you. If you do nothing else with your branding, be consistent.
To learn more about consistency check out our blog on brand guidelines.
7. GUARD YOUR BRAND
Trademark your company name, logo and tagline. Use copyright and registration to protect this asset, it’s valuable.
To successfully get a brand off the ground, you must first;
Focus on one brand at a time
Capture the domain
Keep it simple
Pick the right name
Protect your brand
About the author: Vincent Bissette is a freelance Brand Strategy and Design Consultant with over 30 years experience of branding and rebranding businesses and organisations, systematically, thoroughly and objectively. He has worked in major Design Consultancies as well as having run his own agency for 25 years, working with SMEs all over the UK to help them modernise their brand, grow their business, attract new customers, penetrate new markets and increase their sales, market share and profit. Throughout that time, there’s not much he hasn't done or many industries he hasn't worked in. He’s a creative, strategic thinker and problem solver with a wealth of experience in diagnosing trouble spots in brands and discovering their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Now based in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, he works throughout the entire UK.
Get in touch with him on Linkedin here