How to start building your small business brand

Joanne Dewberry, founder of Charlie Moo’s, is well known for the colour and personality of her business and its merchandise. But how has she done it? In this extract from her new book, Crafting a Successful Small Business, Joanne offers her thoughts on creating a brand for your small business.

Joanne Dewberry, founder of Charlie Moo's The key to branding is to consider every aspect of your business, including yourself, writes Joanne (left). Ensure you work with colours, styles and themes which you can easily use over the various aspects of your business consistently, especially if you market via social media such as Twitter and Facebook and/or if you intend to sell at craft fairs.Remember, business branding does not start and end with a fabulous logo.
Instead, branding needs to encompass your whole business, including your ethos, core values and mission statement. Ultimately, when a customer sees your brand, what key things do you want to spring to mind?

Branding questions to ask yourself

What you need to ask yourself when developing a brand for your business is: 1. Who am I? 2. What image do I want to portray? Am I professional, trendy, quirky, modern, etc.? 3. What do I want to deliver? 4. Who is my target market? My ideal client? What drives them? What are their aspirations? What are their needs? 5. What is my USP? What is my niche? 6. What is my business personality and how can I convey that to potential customers? 7. Who is my competition? 8. What is my strapline and will people know what I do from it? That’s Sew Laura has the strapline ‘Taking over the world ... one child’s wardrobe at a time!’ Instantly you know that the products they sew are children’s clothing.

How Joanne created Charlie Moo's brand imagery

The name ‘Charlie Moo’s’ developed from my son – Charlie. We have referred to him as 'Moo' since he was a baby. Obviously, Moo lends itself quite nicely to the cow imagery. My friend came up with the concept of the cow being the letter M and it works on so many levels: - As a full banner using the whole name or just using the M cow as a stand-alone logo, which does not look out of place and is still distinctly Charlie Moo’s. - The style of the M cow also lends itself nicely to being transformed into both my girl cows, Megan and Olive. Megan Moo is a flip of Charlie, so is facing in the opposite direction and brown and pink in colour. Olive Moo is a mix of the brown and black of the Charlie and Megan cows and as my own quirk has olive-green accessories. - These stand-alone cow images work well as images on cake toppers, my popular range of wrapping paper and other products. For the Royal Wedding in April 2011, I used Charlie and Megan Moo adorned with crowns on a backdrop of the Union Jack. For Easter I have them wearing bunny masks. All quirky, unique and distinctly Charlie Moo’s. This enables me to keep my branding consistent but also topical, seasonal and fresh. - I also ensure that each bag I make has a label sewn inside it, a swing tag attached to the handle with string made from an image of one of our party bags, and I pop a business card inside too. That way, each child that leaves a party with one of my handmade fabric bags – or, perhaps more importantly, their parents – knows where the bag came from. Charlie Moo’s branding has been designed to reflect our:
  • unique, fun and funky approach
  • good value
  • excellent customer service.

Get professional help with design

When creating visual materials, you need to take all aspects of the design into consideration; fonts, colours, and how the logo will work alongside your existing designs or packaging. This is an important aspect of your business so if you’re not a graphic designer then employ somebody to help you. The original Charlie Moo’s logo was designed in the basic MS Paint program and was incredibly square and pixellated. A graphic designer smoothed it all out and made it more visually appealing, which instantly changed the whole appearance of my website and has since paved the way for Megan and Olive Moo. These high-quality images can then also be easily used on branded items such as wrapping paper and cake toppers.

Ask other people about your brand

Before you spend any money on logos, business cards, leaflets, web design, etc., it is really useful to get other people’s opinion. Try to avoid just asking family members as they will have a tendency to give a positive appraisal rather than the constructive criticism you need. Developing a brand is not an easy process, but once it is right you’ve then got to reinforce it in everything you say and do. It inevitably encompasses everything about you and what your business does. Image copyright of Charlie Moo's

Buy Crafting a Successful Small Business

Crafting a Successful Small Business is a comprehensive guide to setting up and running an artisan business, covering everything from what to sell to where to sell it and how to find customers. [product id="56587"]

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