Car naming is an automotive topic that has always intrigued me. I had an aunt that always named her cars. Because of that influence, when I got my own, I did the same and still do to this day every time I get a new ride. BTW my car is a silver coupe called Luna (yes, I’m a Harry Potter fan from way back!).
Like naming your car, it’s popular to come up with a business name when you are starting out on the road to entrepreneurship. But nowadays there’s a new debate on whether you should use a personal name for your business or create a business name.
When deciding between the two, there’s bound to be a little anxiety. What should you do for YOUR business?
Don’t worry, I am going to break it down for you so you can decide...
The Pros & Cons of Creating a Business Name
The Pros & Cons of Using Your Name
A personal story, and no it’s not about my black coupe I named Elvira...
When I started in the graphics business some 20 plus years ago, it was all the rage to create cool and rememberable business names. So when it came time for me to go out on my own, I decided to go down that road myself.
Looking back, I still like what I’ve created. The logo is fun and says so much about myself and my services, but I think I would have gone the simpler route had I known how hard it is to stand out online these days.
I’m not saying I don’t get discovered with my unique business name and the way I present and position myself online, but now that I know the importance of a personal brand, I have to do double duty.
I have my business branded website and social media accounts AND I have my personally branded website and social media accounts. And I share and post on all of these platforms.
Think about when you give out a referral. Are you more likely to remember a business name or a personal name?
Hands down, a personal name attached to a service business goes so much farther these days.
Not only that, but if someone is referred to you, they are likely to go online and check you out. And if they do, what are they going to see?
Is it going to be your name in the default search body copy linked to your company website or will it be a picture of your latest dinner on your personal Facebook page? Or worse yet, someone else with your name?
All of these scenarios are not ideal if you want to be seen as the face of your business and get the reputation that you know your stuff and are the perfect match for that referral.
So, which way should you go?
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong approach. Some people love having their businesses named after themselves and experience wild success in doing so, while others reap the benefits of using a business moniker.
I have a solopreneur friend that would love to hire someone to do her website, but at the moment she cannot afford to do so. Though she’s not trained in website design, she makes it work. Recently she decided to change platforms and totally started from scratch on a new website. While she was hard at work, her husband watched how the site progressed. When she showed him her finished creation, he told her that she ought to think about designing websites for others.
Let me tell you, she was not amused with her husband’s suggestion. Why? Website design is not remotely related to her current business platform. Out of necessity, she has taught herself how to manage WordPress and this new platform. Not only is this the farthest thing from her mind, but it took her a couple weeks to set up the site on a drag and drop platform. Bottom line, she was utterly exhausted.
Laughing at the thought of her husband’s suggestion, she shared this story with me and asked what I thought as a professional designer. I carefully explained that though I had no doubt she could set up websites for others, as she’s clearly demonstrated she has the skills and the gusto to figure it out, but I pointed out that having a website design is just one piece in the bigger picture of a business brand.
Anyone with enough tenacity to tackle their way through all the ins and outs of a website builder can set up a website, especially with the innovations in drag and drop platforms. But the bigger question to ask is will that website work for your business?
If you are not setting your website up with the brand in mind, your site is just that…a site. It will be about as useful as those stacks of business cards left on the counter near the cash register of your favorite local restaurant.
9 Reasons Why Branding is Important to Your Business & Your Website
Have you ever landed on a website and immediately felt confused or overwhelmed? This is the result of a poor branding foundation or a lack there of.
Brand building is an integral part of your business’s presence. Your website plays an important role as it gives visitors a first impression about your brand, your products and services, and what potential customers can expect from you.
But it is not the first thing you should be concerned about when it comes to having a successful business. That’s where branding comes in.
1. Branding Helps You Stand Out
In today’s global market, it is critical to stand apart from the crowd. How do you stand out from the thousands or millions of similar businesses around the world doing the same thing you are doing? A strong brand foundation where you determine your ideal client, your target audience and your niche will help set you apart and make your site more memorable.
2. Branding Improves Your Recognition
People tend to do business with companies they are familiar with. If your brand identity and your brand message is consistent and easy to recognize, it can help people feel more at ease purchasing your products or services.
One of the major components of a brand identity is the logo because it’s what people instantly recognize. This is why a professional logo design should be powerful and convey in a graphic way, the energy around your business and services, making an impression on a person at first glance. Having a strong brand foundation in place assists and supports the logo, making it not only recognizable but memorable.
3. Branding Tells a Story
A brand that is consistent and clear puts the customer at ease because they know exactly what to expect each and every time they experience the brand.
In order to put your customer at ease, you need to create a direct and simple message of WHY your brand should matter to your customer. Most people don’t have the time or inclination to figure this out on their own. Your brand must create a story that answers the question, “Why you?”
4. Branding Creates Credibility
Having an established and clear brand will make you look like an expert. If you know what you’re talking about and come across as a professional, people will be more likely buy from you.
5. Branding Creates Trust & Loyalty
Having a consistent brand foundation and a well thought out brand identity instills trust in potential customers. Without trust, they most likely will look elsewhere. Brand building is the best way towards winning customers and sustaining their loyalty.
Once you have your brand foundation in place, you can create your brand identity and then your website. The website features the same look and feel of the brand identity, reinforcing the sense that you are a reputable, consistent expert in your field, creating trust.
Not only that, but purposeful branding will make you proud to share and market your business. If people see that you’re confident in what you do, they’ll be more likely to trust you and your expertise.
6. Branding Creates a Platform to Charge What You’re Worth
With a solid brand established, you will come across as a professional and therefore you can charge like one! If you show that you produce high quality work or products, clients will be more likely to value what you offer and pay higher prices for it.
7. Branding Generates Customers & Referrals
Branding is one of the best ways to get referral or word-of-mouth business. If you deliver what your brand promises, your customers will remember you. Your clients and audience can be the best form of marketing. If they ever need your services or products in the future, they will think of you first and will most likely refer you to their friends.
8. Branding Creates Consistency
With solid branding in place, you can easily keep things consistent and make decisions more quickly when it comes to your customer experience. You won’t have to constantly question yourself on the little things.
9. Branding Provides a Clear Strategy
It’s very easy to wander around from marketing idea to marketing idea with nothing to guide you. Having a clear brand foundation and strategy helps you stay on track and will guide your marketing efforts saving time and money. It will set the tone for everything you do. With a strong strategy in place, you can refer back to it and make sure that your products and services are in line with your brand’s message and goals.
Established branding will make it easier to introduce new products or services, too! If you already have loyal customers and a strong brand, it will be easier to introduce new products or services. Your audience will already be interested in what you do, so they will be more inclined to accept, participate in, or celebrate the new things you are offering.
Long Story Short
My friend is not going to be setting up websites for a living. She’s going to stick to what she does best. She quickly saw that if she had a brand foundation in place, it would have saved her a lot of time when setting up the new website because she struggled with what to keep, what was important and how to organize her site so that her customers know exactly why she’s the one for the job.
Having a strong brand foundation in place before you get to the website design will not only help you set up your site more quickly, but it will also give you all the vital information you need to hone in on your target market, rise above the noise, and attract your ideal customers more easily.
For many entrepreneurs, spending money on a professional brand may seem like a leap when they are starting out. There are many online companies that make it seem easy to go it on your own.
Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the online free and low-cost design and website services have some major value and even pack some punch. But if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re wasting a lot of time you could be spending on more important items that will get your business on the road.
I’ve had several clients reach out to me saying that they were about to pull their hair out because they just spent 2 hours trying to figure out how to add a page to their website or they went down the Canva rabbit hole trying to create a social media image to go along with their Facebook post. All to save them a few bucks.
I’m all about saving some money but if it is at the expense of my time, pull over and let me out!
Here’s why you should shift your thinking about where you place your time:
Most people look at their money with great attention and decide how they want to spend it, invest it and even give it away. It’s no different for business owners. But most people don’t look at their time in the same way and end up wasting a valuable resource.
You can’t make more time. You can always find a way to make more money - even using your time to make it - but there is no way for you to create more time. Money can buy you a lot of things in this world, but it cannot buy you more time. You can only spend time. Therefore, you need to spend it wisely.
If you are spending hours, days or even weeks trying to figure out how to do all your own design work instead of focusing on why someone should work with you and how you can help them solve their problem, you are wasting your precious time.
4 Reasons Why You Should Let the Pro Take the Wheel
1. Saves you time & headaches
By hiring a brand designer, they can have a project completed in a fraction of the time it would take for you to do it yourself. They know the ins and outs of most software and applications and work with them every day. So not only do they save you time, you have peace of mind knowing it’s done right the first time.
2. Saves you money in the long-run
Good design and a solid brand foundation have longevity. By paying for an expert to handle your branding, you are saving yourself from paying for subpar design, maybe even more than once. Not to mention that when a business doesn’t take its branding seriously in the beginning, it will more than likely need to go through a brand overhaul at some point.
Not only that, a professional brand designer is going to have a process in place with all the steps you need to take in order to lay your foundation, messaging and strategy. They will also know the most cost effective ways to get your business up and running.
3. You will get noticed
Having a distinct brand is what is going to help you rise above the noise and create your best first impression. You are guaranteed a unique brand so you won’t have to worry about looking like everyone else. On top of that, your brand will be consistent across every aspect of your business so you will appear more professional, trustworthy and memorable.
4. They are creative
Brand designers are trained to take your vision and bring it to life. Sometimes it can be difficult to voice your ideas in words and images. They will be able to incorporate your thoughts and collaborate with you in order to develop a stronger brand ensuring you are clearly communicating to your target audience.
It can be tempting to cut corners when you’re starting out. However, skimping on your brand design can quickly become a costly detour.
VAROOM! Brand Design offers full brand design. Find the right REV UP package to fit your needs here.
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Amanda Johnson Young is a brand designer with over 20 years experience. READ MORE
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