Thinking about taking the plunge and opening the next desirable restaurant, distillery, or coffee roastery? You might have the right ideas and adequate capital to start your venture, but if you don’t invest in creating a brand identity you won’t stand out—regardless of your ambitious menu and offerings. Aside from the obvious investments, like special equipment, competent employees, and appropriate insurance, you’ll need something that may seem a little less tangible. But brand identity is something money can buy and it’s where you should plan to spend a significant amount of your budget before you open your doors.

How do you want your brand to speak to its customers?

Many new business owners think spending money on figuring out their brand identity isn’t a worthwhile investment. The reason being a brand isn’t a physical thing you can hold in your hand and its ROI can be difficult to understand initially. But forming a complete brand identity results in increased customer loyalty, an improved image of your business, and a relatable identity that customers feel attached to.

The fact of the matter is your brand identity can make or break your business and isn’t that reason enough to invest in it? 

According to HubSpot: “A brand identity is made up of what your brand says, what your values are, how you communicate your product, and what you want people to feel when they interact with it. Essentially, your brand identity is the personality of your business and a promise to your customers.

You convey this personality through several consistent branding materials.

Logos and Other Marketing Assets

The most recognizable part of your brand identity is your logo. It’s the first thing new customers will see when visiting your location, website, and social media accounts. We recommend working with a branding specialist or graphic designer who can help take your feelings and ideas and turn them into a memorable artistic depiction of your brand that can last the entirety of your business.

In addition to your logo, a designer can also help create other marketing assets—such as business cards, letterheads, your email signature, and brochures—to keep everything, “on brand.”

Brand Guidelines

Unfortunately, only 26% of companies have brand guidelines that are easy for employees to find. This can make it extremely difficult to keep your brand identity consistent and recognizable. Also known as a brand style guide, your guidelines dictate the look and feel of your brand.

Your guidelines should include a color palette and correct typography to be used in all marketing materials, your editorial style guide (AP, AMA, etc.), and several variations of how your logo should be used across your platforms. 

Brand Voice

How do you want your brand to speak to its customers? Some brands prefer to be formal and educational while others prefer to be casual and fun. However you want your brand to sound to your audience, make sure to write it down so your entire team is on board and able to correctly represent your brand.

Brand Values

According to Harvard Business Review, 64% of consumers cite shared values as the primary reason they have a relationship with a brand. If you only use organic and sustainable products or if your business donates a certain amount of money to local charities each year, tell your customers and your employees. 

The most important thing to remember is consistency when developing your brand identity.

People want to connect with brands that are giving back or doing something for the greater good rather than just their bottom line. Figure out how your business fits into that and share the story through your brand identity.

The most important thing to remember is consistency when developing your brand identity. Without it, you’re just creating confusion in your market and a lower chance of keeping your business viable, memorable, and successful.

Remember: Branding should not be seen as another cost that goes into your marketing budget—it’s its own important investment in your business.

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