Steve Upham : Director of altspace coworking office, Altrincham

Once you’ve established your company structure and financing then you need to think deeply about naming and branding your business.  It’s a cliche but first impressions count and you want to create a favourable presence and emphasise professionalism from day one.  This week I’ll cover some recommended steps to creating a successful brand to see you through your launch and ongoing business journey.  A structured, consistent approach will help you gain momentum during your startup period and be successful in the long term.

When naming your company decide what you will trade on. If you are a freelancer or contractor and have built a reputation in your industry then you might wish to operate under your name.  The benefits here are that you’ll find it easier early on to approach existing contacts and have calls and e-mails returned.  If you’re in business with family then an associated name will help immensely with promotions.  Family run concerns trade on trust and establish highly effective marketing channels through word of mouth referrals.

By setting up an independent company you can separate your name from work.  This can give a greater impression of professionalism and offer more flexibility in terms of structure.  Your members of staff will feel more involved and could help you in the process of finding a name.  They’re arguably your most important asset so involve your team at an early stage to enable their buy in and also to help get valuable perspective.

With the name established it’s time to think of your logo.  To get the ball rolling I would recommend a quick creative exercise to assist the process.  Get a big piece of paper and marker pens and scribble down everything that you want your business to represent.  Include the following ;

target audience

personality

price point

company culture

location

tag line if you have one

Throw the ideas down without over thinking them, they can all be changed later.  By doing this it will give you a little context in how you’d like your company to trade, market and be seen by others.  Your logo needs to appeal to your target audience and stand out.  How do your direct competitors or the larger players in the market achieve this?  When you take a closer look at the most famous business logos you can see many of the attributes above have been considered.

In the tech industry Ebay have used different colours to emphasise their inclusive and eclectic marketplace. Intel offer amazing programs hence the oval shape to their logo implying a great all round service.  Apple don’t even need to use letters with the monochrome logo illustrating simple and brilliant design.  One of my favourites is Fed Ex, where if you look closely you’ll see the arrow between the letters e and X highlighting their service reputation as international couriers.

If you find this all a bit overwhelming then take some time out and get inspired by your TV, Film and music choices.  The entertainment industry gives brilliant uses of logos that might not standout initially but are really prominent when you study them with an analytical eye.   When brain storming for altspace I looked at some old albums by 90’s bands such as Spiritualized, Oasis and the Verve.  As a teenager I used to love the Microdot sleeves and photos from the latter two’s ep’s.  If you check my logo you’ll be sure to see an influence.

My recommendation would be to employ a branding expert or agency to complete the logo design.  It needn’t be an expensive exercise and it’s so important to have something presentable on your e-mails, website and letterheads.  The logo will also be ever-present on all of your marketing during the launch.  I found a talented designer Mitchel on-line and by giving him some background to the company he came back with a number of great options.  Save money in other areas but don’t compromise on quality here. The logo’s of major businesses outlast the founders and can be your legacy when you’ve made your millions and sold up!

 

 

 

 

 

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