Branding? Just another keyword graphic designers use to get our money, or something that is actually important to a business?
I started Cute Cuddles 6 years ago, and I have had three completely different looks for my brand. Here is what I have learnt along the way.
I had a very strong background in the corporate world before I started my business, as well as a marketing diploma. With this in my back pocket I knew that I needed to make my brand consistent. Like a lot of us small business start-ups, I had little to no budget for design. So I went the obvious route at the time and hopped onto Vista Print.
After searching long and hard through their free templates I selected the one that I thought suited my “brand” best at the time. It had a pink polka dot ribbon across the top and a button to one side. Here is the irony, I make handsewn soft toys with no plastic parts or choking hazards and I put an obvious choking hazard in my logo. Palm slap to face moment! However, this worked for me for the start-up of my business.
Growing my Brand
Being a free template, it didn’t take long for others to also start using the same one. I started seeing “my brand” popping up in other places. This was an interesting feeling – am I advertising their business or are they advertising me, or are we both getting lost in translation?
I felt like this was a good time for a new look. I reached out on a couple of business networks I was part of at the time and got some recommendations. I briefly explained my situation and the next logo was born.
At the time of this logo getting designed, it was fashionable to have a button style logo. And that was what I got.
However, in hindsight, I now also realise that this new logo wasn’t my brand either. At the time I still wasn’t confident in myself to say I wasn’t happy with the new logo.
Recovery and Moving Forward
After approximately 18 months with this new logo, I could feel that my heart wasn’t in it. I love my business but my “brand” was failing me. It didn’t project my fun or passion.
Around this time I started to think about the future of Cute Cuddles and started working with a business mentor. After a strong recommendation I finally plucked up the courage to contact Helen at One Bite Graphic Design.
And it was a case of having to pluck up courage. I felt lost, both in my lack of brand and in my image of my business.
Helen gave me a simple questionnaire to answer and made me google some images too. This helped me get my head around colours and which sorts of logos resonated with me.
There was good communication back and forth and suddenly the 'YES, this is it!' was there. Helen was so lovely and understanding to my situation.
But a Brand Isn’t Just a Logo
One of the biggest things that has helped carry me along on this journey we call business – having a brand that I believe in.
Helen didn’t stop with my logo – I have business cards, compliment slips, discount cards, thank you cards, Christmas cards, banners, hoodies, email signatures. And as my business grows, so does my brand.
When people see my logo, they know my brand. I love that about my logo, my brand!
Think of your favourite product – I bet you it was the logo (brand) that popped into your head first, wasn’t it? See how important that is?
As I said previously, having worked in the corporate world, and having a marketing diploma, I thought I could brand my own business alone. How wrong I was. I seriously recommend letting a professional help you brand your business, it’s like a fast track to where you want to be. With a brand you can be passionate about, people really feel the difference when you interact with them.
When you think of your brand – do you stand out in the crowd? Or are you blending in, unseen? And if you are blending in, contact Helen today and become a stand out brand! You won’t regret it!
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