This Is What Every Small Business Needs to Know About Branding

Lauren Powell
by Lauren Powell
PHOTO:

Ortolan

Fact: One of the most important things to consider when starting your own business is the branding. Creating a brand that people can connect, engage, and resonate with is the secret to a company’s success, which is why it's crucial to nail your brand message, values, and aesthetic from the get-go. But where do you start? With the experts, that’s where.

Melbourne creative and graphic design agency, Ortolan, which specialises in branding, has worked with the likes of Seafolly, Country Road, and Seed Heritage, so it’s safe to say the company knows a thing or two about creating a strong brand. Co-founder, Chloe Quigley, has lent her expertise and has shared her top tips she believes every company—big or small—should consider before you even register your business name. Aspiring company founders, read on.

1. Think about who you want to be before you decide what you want to look like. 

“Decide what you stand for from the beginning—consider the values and principles you want your brand to reflect on a fundamental level. Think about how you want to be perceived in the world. It’ll help guide everything you do and give you something to measure all your decision-making against. From a design perspective, it'll make sure your communications are always on brand, and that a really clear message gets out there about who you are. Mostly you need to define your personality—are you fun, serious, intellectual, quiet?”

2. Define your position in the world.

“Be strategic and work out how you can claim some space, even if it’s a little patch, just for yourself. In this big world, try to find something that you can offer that no one else can, then make sure you show that point of difference with your visual identity. Perhaps you have an ethical standpoint that sets you apart—if so, then you don't want to print a metallic foil that is bad for the environment. You will want to use an environmentally accredited paper and a certified printer. Or perhaps you are really luxurious and offer a premium, exclusive service in which case a foil and super fancy print methods might actually be the way to go. Whatever your niche, the visual identity, physical presence and tone of voice should all answer back to that niche. And above all, be unique.”

3. Chase two rabbits and you won’t get either

“Be single minded, do one thing really well for the people who you know will appreciate it. Don’t be afraid of not appealing to everyone—there is nothing worse than ambivalence about a brand, or a brand that stands for nothing. To be a successful brand you want people to have an emotional connection —good or bad is better than no emotion at all. Stand for something and stick to it.”

4. Work with good people.

“Engage like-minded creatives and collaborators to help bring your brand to life. People who understand what you’re about and who know what they’re doing. Investing in your brand at the early stage of its life is always going to work in your favour. The identity will shape how you grow, so give it a chance to set down strong roots with a professional and clever visual identity. Whatever extra time, energy and money you spend investing in great people will come back to you in big ways.”

For more branding advice, get in touch with the team at Ortolan and shop Designing Brand Identity ($46).

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