One of the most important steps when starting a business is branding your new company. Do you know what defines your brand? Three elements—logo, website, and domain name—are key to building a startup’s brand.
Let’s take a look at what makes each element so vital to successfully branding your business.
A logo is a design or symbol that is created by an organization and identifies its offerings and services. Iconic logos, like the Nike Swoosh and Coca-Cola script, are instantly recognizable to consumers.
Beyond recognition, logos play several important roles in branding for small businesses:
- They make a strong first impression. Even at a distance, seeing the Golden Arches is a reminder that you that you’re close by to a McDonald’s restaurant.
- A logo can help convey the company’s values and personality. If you look at the FedEx logo, for example, you’ll notice a subtle arrow design between the “E” and “x” in “FedEx.” This optical illusion suggests that the company is known for its speed and accuracy in package delivery.
- Logos provide credibility. Customers build trust with logos and their associated brands. For example, the apple found on Apple products is a reminder that you’re not only purchasing an authentic Apple product, but that there is a team of experts who can help you out if anything should negatively impact the product.
- A logo creates familiarity over time. You’ll always know you’re at a Starbucks location, thanks to the recognizable green siren found on each coffee cup. In fact, you likely can easily picture this logo in your mind with little effort!
How do you create a logo? New startups generally have their logos created from scratch. Companies already in business may refresh their existing logos. When the time comes to register a trademark for your logo, you’ll need to conduct a logo search prior to filling out the application. This ensures you are not infringing upon a registered trademark with a similar or exact logo design.
If you don’t have a website, you’re missing out on the benefits that come with a web presence. Having a website, particularly in the Covid-19 landscape, has plenty of positive, long-term effects on a small business and its brand. Take a look:
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- Websites increase visibility. Customers who are looking for you online can find you, especially if your site has been SEO-optimized for search engines. The more online visibility you have, the more you are able to grow your business, sales, and customer base.
- Customers may contact your business through your website. You may provide them with email addresses and phone numbers to reach you. In some cases, chatbots may be used for conversation while the customer is on your website.
- Websites showcase offerings and kudos. Post high-resolution photography of the products you sell or services you offer in portfolio pages. This entices customers to click, learn more about what you have to offer, and make a purchase. If you have favorable customer reviews or great press, you can also share these items on your site. This gives your brand more credibility and shows off the recognition and trust you have with the media and consumers.
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3. Domain name
A domain name, for anyone unfamiliar with the term, is a component of the URL used to access websites. For example, www.mycorporation.com is my company’s domain name. It’s the address where users can access our website and find us online.
Choosing the best domain name for your business ties back in with its brand. When possible, it’s preferable that the name of the business matches its domain name. Think Netflix and netflix.com, for example.
However, this is not always the case for all businesses. Brands do not always have to opt for an exact-match domain name. Some choose to create domain names that are rich in SEO-optimized keywords. Ideally, these keywords also tie in to your company’s offerings and location so customers can easily search for—and find—your business online. Outside of using keywords, also keep in mind that domain names should be short, memorable, and easy to pronounce by your customer base.
It’s also a good idea for your domain name to have a dot-com URL extension. What happens if this isn’t available? There are other options available to small businesses and brands, depending on your industry. Popular extensions include dot-us (.us) and dot-co (.co), with dot-us so popular even videoconferencing platform Zoom uses it as its extension!
Start thinking about your business as a brand
Nearly everything about your business can contribute to your brand—from the colors used in your marketing materials to your mission statement and values you strive to practice every day.
Once you start thinking of your business as a brand, you can shape how customers perceive it, and these three elements will help get you there.
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing startup bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Twitter @deborahsweeney and @mycorporation. See all posts by Deborah Sweeney.
This article was originally published on AllBusiness.