Entrepreneurs and small companies often struggle with their marketing materials and end up with “home-grown” identity, layered with years of inconsistent messages.
Few tips to get you started and do a sanity check for your identity. Let’s start with high level:
1. Start with customer in mind
Are you recognizable in your customers’ minds compared to competitors? Does your brand identity communicate the benefit or unique selling point to your customer?
Check this example how death metal band can be different.
If you have not created (digital) marketing plan, check our free template for it.
2. Select visuals to support your message. They should resonate in eyes of your customers, not only in your eyes.
Select 10-20 good, matching images to start building identity. If you use “creative commons 0” –license, the creator has giving permits to use them freely.
- Images: pixabay.com , www.pexels.com
- Sounds: freesound.org , www.freemusicarchive.com , www.soundible.com
- Videos: https://creativecommons.org/tag/video-library
One option is to take own images and use filter or black&white or dual-tone images of them to harmonise your visuals matching your brand colors. Best would be that even a photo taken with smartphone could be filtered on phone and published immediately online. Use selected #hashtags for social media to ensure findability and reach.
3. Select colour palette
Usually this strongly means to choose what NOT to use. Reduce colors to just a few to stand out and declutter your identity.
Free tool to create colour palettes here: https://coolors.co/
4. Select fonts
For smaller companies, use the free, common fonts that function well online as well: https://fonts.google.com/
5. Create templates & modules for efficient production
Especially smaller companies have very limited marketing resources (time and money). Hence, it makes sense to create templates and reusable elements. If you take a video interview of someone, take also images of situation, making of –scenes, products in use, people etc. If you write a blog post, crystallize your message to image+tweet – sizes as well.
6. Make noise!
For certain social media channels and SEO the quality and quantity counts, so try to benefit and create value for your customers (content marketing) and publish frequently. The life span of social media posts is very short, so try publish shorter messages more often rather than long messages very rarely. This will effect the production requirements. People are nowadays more used to “home-made-quality”, if the message is interesting and good. Of course, they are not always mutually exclusive, certain product videos, how-to-videos, use cases, testimonials or visionary industry statements can have life span of several years.
7. Domain name game
Choosing the right domain name for your website is crucial for your success. If you choose the wrong domain name, it can be a hassle to switch later on without hurting your brand and search rankings. That’s why it’s extremely important that you choose the best domain name from the start.
The best names are already taken. Something ending with .com would be very good for international websites. If you want a gaming website just for your own country then something with your country code instead would be better. Other options would be domains ending with .org or even .net although you have to check the .com version of those domain names first to make sure you don’t end up with a trademark dispute.
8. Select a platform for publishing your web pages
There are hundreds of different website building platforms and website builders around the market. WordPress, Wix, Joomla, Drupal… Just to name a few.
You can also code your website from scratch, but we wouldn’t recommend it on mainly two reasons:
- It just takes too much time.
- Your end result will be mediocre at its best…
But which one should you start with?
WordPress is the easiest platform we have ever worked with, and it is flexible enough to suit everyone – small business websites, online shops, bigger organizations and so on.
a) Setting-up platform for WordPress
Most of the website hosting service sellers provide easy WordPress installation.
During the installation process we are asked to enter our Admin user names, Passwords, Timezone, etc basic details.
Details we provide during the installation can be modified later easily.
b) Time to put together your selected theme, content with Plugins, and Go Live
The visual appearance of your WordPress site is controlled by a WordPress theme.
WordPress themes are professionally designed templates that you can install on your website to change its appearance.
To add content on WordPress Pages we can choose Pages or Blogs.
Explore Elementor Plugin to edit the pages. Along with elementor try other most commonly used plugins e.g. SEO, Google Analytics and contact pages.
WordPress interface is user friendly, try adding text, images, menus, links….and much more.
Publish your pages by connecting your domain to the main page.
More to read:
- Ideas and inspiration for identity: https://fi.pinterest.com/dosua/brand-corporate-identity/
- 99 designs is a place to buy cheap identities, their blog here: https://99designs.com/blog/business/cheap-branding-strategies-small-business/
- Step-by-step guide: https://www.columnfivemedia.com/how-to-create-a-brand-identity
- Small business visual identity: https://www.hiveage.com/blog/small-business-visual-identity/
Writers: Asko Mononen & Arvind Sharma, Digicoaches on E2EB-project, Laurea University of Applied Science