Branding is a dilemma for some, easy for others and something over confidence can get very wrong.

Your brand is not ‘What’ you do, it is ‘How and Why’ you do it. A good brand has values, promises and memorable things that it stands for. It has a relevant name and also clearly describes what that business does in a no-nonsense way. Let’s have a quick look at each of those.

How and Why – Lets use our own ‘Ghost Consulting’ as an example. When we wanted to start our business service we knew what we were delivering in terms of marketing and social media management, but that really wasn’t a ‘wow’ factor in the market place. We looked at how and why we do it and that led us to our brand name. We are transparent with clients, we work invisibly as an extra member of the team in the business, we are very light in the way we work with clients and in our commitment to sustainability, floating our systems in the cloud. We also make an impact. So what is light, transparent, invisible, makes an impact? – A Ghost. Ghost is also a strong and memorable name that has a lot of opportunities to have creative twists and a bit of fun in our own marketing messaging, for example – ‘Don’t be spooked by marketing’. For us it shows how and why we do our business just in the name. We do have ‘what’ we do in our brand name as well – Consulting. This very clearly tells our clients our type of business category but also in itself ‘how’ we deliver – Consultants hands on deliver (as opposed to coaches or mentors) and for our clients that is absolutely what they are asking for.

Relevant name – Businesses get very hung up on a name at times. Your name should fit your brand and for an early stage business it should very clearly say what you do. I always say that if you are a plumber say you are a plumber not a ‘pipe technician’. No-one when they are searching Google will type in ‘pipe technician’ they will type in ‘plumber’. In order to be found you must place yourself within a recognisable category. Once you have your name make sure that you own the web domains and check names already taken with Companies House. When you are more known you can then play with wording and be quite imaginative but you cannot jump to that step until there is some recognition of you in the market.

Brands are not logos! – I have seen business at a stand still for months on end deliberating over logos and fonts and colour pantones. Your mantra should be that your brand will grow and develop – you are merely looking for a starting point. I guarantee that in two year’s time your brand will look different to what it does now, and you will have learned a lot in your business to develop that along the way. Start Ups should get to market and start making money just with basics and then make a plan to review and build over time. Existing businesses should not feel so in love and tied to their existing design and brand that they cannot change it if the market is not also in love with it as well.

Being honest is not a bad thing – Many brands set themselves up to disappoint customers by trying to offer everything and showing a brand that isn’t really true. This happens out of fear of certain words business owners see as negative. If you are the type of business that is ‘low cost’ then say so, if your products will only last a short time because of low cost then say so, if the service you provide is going to be minimal then say so. None of this is bad its just managing customer expectation and allowing them to choose between brands. Cheap Airlines are very upfront on this and we know what to expect, but they also have very successful businesses. On the flip side expensive airlines who provide super luxury and everything included also appeal to large number of people – They are just different people.

Much more on branding in coming blogs including best ways to raise awareness and build a community in love with your brand.

By Karen Hoyle – Chief Spook, Ghost Consulting