You may be starting a small business or are finding that it’s just time for a change and feel like hitting the refresh button on your static corporate branding, but where do you even begin? As much as we think branding should be personal and reflect your values as a company, business branding should also attract your target consumers. Aside from the tone and language that you use to communicate your brand, effective brand design and packaging are arguably the most important aspects of the branding and marketing process.  Whether you’re competing for digital ad space or shelf space, here are 5 steps to building a successful brand identity.

  1. Identify what brand collateral you’ll need to effectively market your products or services. Think in terms of both digital marketing (Website, digital ads, social media graphics) and print collateral (product packaging, stationery, brochures, business cards, mailers, post cards, posters…the list goes on)
  2. Establish a branding budget. Oh crap, I just said the B word. It’s probably THE single most awkward conversation clients like to have but it’s one of the most important discussions to have upfront. It’s best to be open and realistic in this department. Although you can always find a “designer” who does it cheaper, you want to be sure that the level of design that your product requires matches the skill, experience and past work that your designer is capable of. It’s best to always speak with your designer and allow them to explain what their pricing includes because it varies from one company to the next. You may even find that experienced branding designers offer payment options that allow you to break your payments up into installments so that you can stay on budget with your business goals.
  3. Set a timeline. I’ve seen cohesive branding projects take anywhere from 2 weeks to 8 months to complete (sometimes longer!). This varies based on the strategy, process and requirements needed to create a meaningful brand. So, don’t be afraid to start the conversation early and develop an action plan with your design team to set your branding priorities.
  4. Research. The wonderful thing about the world we live in (especially in this weird, COVID vortex) is that you are not limited to designers within a certain geo location. Of course, we are advocates for supporting local but ultimately, if you just don’t jive with your local design scene, research elsewhere. And remember – It’s OK to ask for references or past work examples. In fact, you absolutely should. It doesn’t mean that a designer needs to have worked on identical projects like yours (albeit helpful!) however, seeing past case studies and completed projects will give you an idea of the process and caliber of work you can expect. Total transparency is key to a great client-designer relationship.
  5. Set up a meeting. So, you’ve found a brand designer you’d love to work with – great! Schedule an appointment with them to allow them to prepare adequately for your meeting. As much as studios love a great walk-in customer, allowing a design team ample time to prepare materials to meet with you, will ensure you (and them) get the most out of your consultations.


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