Telling your story the right way.

The beginning of a new business project can be an exciting time. You have a great idea and a plan to execute the idea, and a limited budget. Where do you put that budget? One of the biggest mistakes startup entrepreneurs make is not giving their brand look and feel the attention they should. Microbrewers for example will often get a buddy who can draw to give them a logo. They call it an artisan approach but generally what they have is an incomplete brand look and personality. Some microbrewers survive the mistake and just stick it out until the personality comes together around a logo. Credibility is key, even if you want to go for the artisan crowd. Potential clients must believe you are a real product and not a hobby.

In most cases you have one chance to make a first impression. Can you describe who you are, what you do, and why you are better than your competition in just a few sentences to someone who knows nothing about your industry? The answer to that question is usually no. Being buried in a business makes it a real challenge to describe your business without taking some aspects for granted. One of the reasons filmmakers have test screenings is to make sure the plot they have depicted on screen makes sense. They understand the story because they have read the script 200 times and may have even helped write it, so assumptions about said story are often made because at some point these filmmakers have literally soaked the story in. The same situation hampers new business owners. You wrote the business plan and you’ve spent untold hours, days, weeks, and years developing the business. At some point you just know what you do, so you make assumptions about your business when you describe it.

One of the reasons to invest in having a brand message written by a branding agency is that they are not part of your industry or your specific business so they make no assumptions about what customers will or won’t know. Additionally branding agencies work to make the message clean and concise. As a new business owner you often have a very short amount of time to woo a new customer or a new investor so sell it fast

When we consider the microbrewery the brand message seems simple, we make beer. Usually there’s a lot more to the story than the simple act of making beer. There are so many microbreweries out there that telling the unique story is key to surviving the competition. That story has to be consistently told in the graphic design and the messaging including bottle copy, website copy, and press releases. A cute logo is just that, another cute logo in a sea of cute logos. Working with a branding agency will ensure that the cute logo and brand message compliment each other. Often the logo design and the brand message are executed simultaneously with the creatives in the agency working together tell a uniue, eye catching, and consistent story.

Branding can be expensive. The problem is that new entrepreneurs don’t begin to think about real branding until they are ready to go to market. Budgets for new business’ are tight so the way to get the branding done right is to start early in the business development and work with the agency to break the complete brand out into individual projects and handle one at a time. For example start with the brand message and determine what your story truly is and determine an approach to telling the story in a unique and memorable way. Next let the brand message inform the logo design. The next step should be print materials such as business cards and brochures. You may still be talking to investors so you need business cards and brochures to tell your story long after you have exited the meeting. Finally it’s time to bring all of the elements together into a professional website that sells you as a much larger company than you may really be. Remember, credibility is key. A great website is a much smaller investment now than it was in the early days of the World Wide Web. Hopefully by the time you are ready to go to market you complete brand is in place and you’ll come to market credible and larger than life ready to compete with more established, and often larger companies.

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