As an entrepreneur with a great idea you’ll want to test it in the market as soon as you can. But you’ll soon stumble on a big obstacle, you need a fully fledged brand, at the very least we should start to make logos. Because one thing is for sure: branding is everything.
There’s so much choice out there that your products, your website, your angle, and everything else you create need to stand out, look right and be recognisable or you’ll lose your audience’s attention as fast as you can say “Gather round!”.
You could have the best product in the world, but if it’s not packaged right you won’t be able to shift it…. Now, I’m not saying packaged expensively or in any way complicated, I’m saying packaged right for your audience.
This is the reality we’re dealing with as small business owners. And it adds another layer of work onto our schedules. We’re faced with the dilemma of deciding of how many resources we should throw at an offering that might still be in a developing stage. So let’s pause for a moment before we reach for the big guns.
Stop deliberating and start shipping…think of all the people who need your product right now
Hands up if you think you’ve spent too much energy and money on branding, especially if you’re just starting out and suspect that your products and offerings might develop alongside your audience’s preferences and feedback?
Who wants to make logos when they don’t even know where their product is headed? Well, it’s more people than you think, because I see so many business owners spending absolutely ages fiddling with the minute details of their brands. Obsessing over colours, logo, strap lines, ideal customer avatar. We need to reign this in when we notice it getting out of hand and when it starts blocking our progress of actually delivering products. There’s a fine line between getting it just so and getting it shipped.
And of course the big question is: how can we do both? How can we have a perfect brand and be fast and efficient in creating it at the same time? I might just have the solution for you…
The “proper” way
How do we tackle branding “properly”? We research the market and create a brief, then we perfect all our brand identity elements, colours and strap line so they’re set in stone before we start trading. We send out a targeted and consistent message from day one. A clear message with no room for experimentation.
This is the "proper" way to do it, and yes, if done well, it’ll guarantee brand awareness and a spot in your ideal customer’s heart and mind very, very fast. And this approach is the way I’d wholeheartedly recommend if you’re setting out with a substantial budget available.
This isn’t the case though for many entrepreneurs who are just starting out. So you’ll be pleased to hear that there are shortcuts to creating brands, especially when you initially create content and launch products in the digital realm.
Think about it: committing to print a dozen large billboards or ordering signage for your store is costly so you need to make sure they're designed in your forever look. But if you’re an entrepreneur starting out selling on your own website? You don’t have to design your completed, perfected identity right off the batch, you could think about building it in iterations.
So if you’re just starting out testing and tweaking your products, then frankly, it could be a waste of resources to rock up with a finished and perfected brand. So what’s the way forward?
Your minimum viable brand
Let’s channel the start ups. They’re kept lean deliberately to help them get off the ground. They work to the idea of a Minimum Viable Product or MVP. This is the simplest version of an idea developed into a really basic product.
A product with the least amount of functionality that still provides value to the customer. It could even be presented as a beta test.
As entrepreneurs on a budget we should channel this start up mentality and start out with a lean brand. Do a brand audit to make sure you’re on course with your positioning and with a clear idea of your core values and core message. Then create a minimum viable brand to get your products and website up and start testing the waters.
Start out with a really simple logo. Stick to one colour and white. Keep in mind that we’re not planning to completely exchange the symbol (aka your brandmark) you’re going to use, but we may well tweak and develop it a bit alongside your products and offerings.
So make sure your basic symbol works for your products but leave the tweaking for a later stage. That way, you avoid investing a few hundred or thousand pound in a perfected brand identity if you’re not even sure whether people will flock to your website, if there’s a possibility you’re just testing the waters with your product, or if you’re still fine tuning the audience that best connects to your products.
Over to you now, I’d love to hear whether developing a proper brand held you back actually shipping your products?
Are you ready to develop your minimum viable brand? Get started here and sign up for my brand audit right now: