Branding a Business From Start to Finish
One of the most important aspects of any business, large or small, is branding. But branding isn’t just a logo or a slogan, it’s everything your business promises to customers. A solid brand should differentiate its product from its competitors, while telling consumers what they can expect.
BigWheel’s Creative Director, Dan Alton, is leading the design team in branding a groundbreaking product that could change the way we store and consume energy. Initially, the product had no name, logo, or color scheme, so it was up to Alton and team to build a brand from scratch. Where do you even start? Alton says the process usually adheres to the following timeline, “Discovery, naming, legal, graphics, and then, finally, to the style guide and website.”
To help shed light on this complex process, let’s dig into the timeline.
Discovery is basically finding out everything there is to know about the product, along with the marketplace. Alton describes it as, “Figuring out ‘who we are,’ ‘who we say we are,’ and ‘who others say we are.’" These questions can help establish brand authenticity.
The name of a brand can be just as important as the product or service itself. Brand names are ultimately broken into descriptive and creative. Descriptive names often describe the product or service itself, such as Burger King or Pizza Hut. Creative names are typically names that had no meaning prior to the brand. Think: Nike, Google, and Spotify. “Descriptive taglines can help explain the product or service,” says Alton. “If you’ve got a super-creative name, a descriptive tagline can help tell the story in a way the name can’t."
Alton further explains the process the team went through when naming the aforementioned energy product, “We put a bunch of people in a room and filled up a whiteboard with just words, starting with adjectives that relate to the brand and how the brand feels.” Anything about the brand that draws a reaction goes into consideration and will provide clarity about the brand itself.
Legality is also an essential part of the naming process. Just because you've got a great name, doesn't mean it's not already taken. It's essential to do a trademark search on the potential name before moving on to design.
The design process involves the design team formulating a logo and color scheme for the brand. When it comes time to design, Alton says “It’s very much sketches, pencils, and paper. There's nothing magical about it … you start to look at themes around certain concepts.” Sketches and renderings of an overlying theme or concept are where the birth of a logo begins.
When you think about a logo, it’s important to consider where it will be used. A logo needs to be super simple and recognizable. Think back to Apple and Nike. An apple with a small bite taken and a little checkmark are now associated with two of the most powerful brands in the world. Both of those things can be placed on nearly any product, regardless of shape or size. This way you can essentially promote your brand anywhere.
Website Development and Social Media
Website and social media are often the last stages of the branding process. Developing the logo and name act as establishing an identity to a brand. Once your identity has been solidified, the website and promotion of the brand begins. Often the website will be the first impression of a brand and social media is a way for consumers to engage with it. A strong website with a complimentary social media can boost brand awareness.