There’s a lot to think about when starting a brand new business, especially when it comes to marketing and branding in the digital age. There’s just so much information and so much to process that it can be difficult to know where to start. Fortunately, we’ve put together a short list of key ingredients for branding new start-ups.
This is perhaps the most obvious, but also the most daunting item on any branding to-do list. Choosing a name sounds easy. But when you get right down to it, you might quickly find that it’s more difficult and time-consuming than you expected.
Think back to the 90’s and early 2000’s, when band names started to become incredibly obscure. Many of them were comprised of sentence fragments and random combinations of words and/or numbers. Why couldn’t these bands just pick a better-sounding name? It’s because just about everything was already taken! Not only that, but every teenage garage band around the world who ever called themselves that name, whether they were still playing or broke up years ago, already had it publicly registered on sites like MySpace.com. Even mega-stars like Blink 182 had to change their name (it was originally just Blink). Why? Because there was public record of an obscure Irish Electronica band already using Blink. Alas, it would seem as though there were just no good names left.
This same issue exists to this day with branding. As you start to think of names and search for them online, you find that just about every name you can imagine is taken. Unlike rock bands, which can get away with obscure and seemingly meaningless names, a brand name must convey meaning to its audience. This is exactly why companies pay thousands of dollars to hire branding experts. A good name—it’s clever, thoughtful, and not already taken by some company in the same or a similar industry—is priceless. In-turn, a good branding agency can be worth its weight in gold. Nonetheless, choosing a good name for your new business is essential, whether you do it yourself, or you seek the help of an expert. Once you get over this first important hurdle, it’s time to jump right over another and prepare to search for…
Matching Domain Name
As if it wasn’t hard enough to find a decent name that is clear of any potential trademark or copyright infringement issues, now you have to search for an available matching domain name. This step can be disheartening, because the name you love could be taken in multiple domain name forms (.com, .net, etc.). Many people are tempted at this stage to get around the issue by picking a bizarre, ill-fitting, or otherwise less-than-ideal domain name extension (.ly, .biz, .info.. etc.). That, or they’ll add filler words, like prefixes and suffixes (go[name].com, [name]now.com, my[name].com).
These can sometimes be a huge mistake! They can be harder to remember, harder to type, and can inadvertently redirect traffic to other similar websites (even competitors). This step requires patience, putting emotions aside, and weighing options. If you’re lucky enough to get through this step and acquire a great domain, congratulations! You’ve passed the two biggest obstacles on this list and are now free to move on to…
A great name deserves a great logo. So what makes a logo great? A great logo should be a reflection of the brand itself. If the brand is bold, the lettering should be bold. If the brand is soft and delicate, the logo should be a reflection of that. Everything from the font, to the color scheme, to the embedded images should further enhance the company’s image and message. Beyond that, the logo should look professional, up to modern standards, and stand the test of time.
Not everyone has an eye for design, which is why it’s important to get input from your team to see which logos they find visually appealing. Unless you yourself are a graphic designer, designing a logo on your own might not be a very good choice. Luckily there are tons of online resources available for logo design work, ranging from individual freelancers to full-scale marketing and logo design teams.
If you’re doing business online, it goes without saying you’ll need a website. But brick and mortar stores, physical products, and non-web-based services need websites, too. These days, establishing a web-presence is no longer an option. It’s a necessity. A website allows you the ability to put your company on display, to establish your own image, and to convey your own message. This is especially important in the era of Facebook, Yelp, and Google reviews. If you aren’t establishing your image online, you’re leaving it up to these websites and customers, competitors, or anyone else with a computer and a keyboard that wants to speak on your behalf.
Like your logo, a good website should be well-planned and well-designed. It should include basic information about your company, its goals, any awards or accolades received, and contact information. Ideally, your website should be linked to your social media accounts to allow for seamless integration of information as well as quick and efficient posting of updates and promotions across all of your platforms.
Once you’ve got all that down go a step further by creating a blog. The more solid content that you produce, the higher your company will rank for relevant search terms on search engines. More content means more interactions, more conversions, and more sales.
This last one is easily forgotten in the digital age. Once you’ve established a great company name, domain name, logo, and website, you can display all of this information on printed materials. From mailers, to business cards, to rack cards, to souvenir pens, calendars, and toys, printed items offer countless opportunities for customers to physically interact with your brand. There are countless websites which offer quick and affordable printing once you have your logo and message uploaded to their site.
Does all of this sound like a lot of work? Are you having trouble getting the creative juices flowing? Or maybe you’re struggling to find available names or domain names. If hiring a professional branding firm is out of your budget range, you might consider using a brandable domain name service.
Brandable domain name sites like Brandzam and Flipswitch offer hand-selected, pre-packaged brands. This “brand-in-a-box” platform allows you to purchase a thoughtful name, matching domain name, and logo, all ready to go. No matter the industry, there are tons of brandable domain names to choose from. The process is fast and easy and can help any new business get a solid head start on creating a great company brand.