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Becoming your own boss is a big thrill. However, it can be very overwhelming too. All the planning, all the responsibility is yours, and you probably want to see fast profit from all the time spent and all your efforts. Tag along to learn the basics of branding yourself like the pros.
Look like an expert right from the start
If you already have a great idea to start a small business, take your time to choose your niche. This will affect everything about your product or service, from image to pricing.
So let’s get started…
Brainstorm your brand from A to Z
Define your goal, for your customers and for you. Don’t just consider your logo, think about your brand as a whole. Get inspired by other super companies you look up to. Look at their products, their services, their image, and their strategies. You don’t have to be a genius to notice that Starbucks always calls their customers by their names so that they feel like they’re part of the brand. Take your time to really observe everything about your competitors.
Determine your target audience
You should be perfectly clear of your average costumer’s age, sex, town, likes, dreams, etc. This information is gold in order to adapt your small business branding to fit their needs and catch their attention. In this step, you should determine your competitive advantage.
Brand your image
Your logo represents everything your brand means. Scout your competitions’ logos and identify which are more eye-catching and which are more forgettable so that you can establish a pattern and make an informed decision on your logo design. This will help your design the best logo for your brand. There are three kinds of logos you can choose: font-based, illustrative, and abstract (think Nike's swoosh).
Create core branding assets and keep them consistent
Every single visual material has to be consistent with your brand. Think of your logo, the fonts you use, and your color palettes. As I’ve said, the difference between a successful brand and a lesser-known can come down to branding consistency and marketing efforts. So, the elements you use in your logo should also be present in your flyer designs, business cards, etc.
Given all the options on the market, it takes a huge amount of marketing effort and really good luck for a customer to even remember you. So create an identity. Imagine what would happen to Coca-Cola if it suddenly decided to change their color to blue!?
Make good social media choices
Choose at least two social media networks to work with. Which two? That depends on your business. If your work is very visual your best bet is to try a platform like Instagram, instead of a text-based one like Twitter.
To post, and be your own community manager, make a schedule on any platform or program you want, and do some research on the peak hours to post. Schedule weeks in advance using your social media image designs along with great copy, hashtags, locations — anything that each post needs, and make a calendar.
This way you are ensuring that you post consistently. I recommend you use a scheduling platform like Hootsuite to do this. Another thing to keep in mind is the size of the images you post. If you use the same exact image for all of your social platforms, you risk having images get cut off or simply looking off. Avoid this by creating images at the ideal size for each social media site. Making social media images that fit your brand isn’t hard either, you just need the right tools .
Make a website to land potential clients
Create a website and/or social media pages. I recommend Squarespace, Wix, and Envato. Get to know these platforms to start building your online page. If you are not sure what you would even put in there, then be practical: make a landing page where you can say what you do, put examples of it, your contact information, and your social media.
Valeria Santalla is a multi-disciplinary graphic designer and writer who loves to create branding images for local business. She currently collaborates at Placeit.net.