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HerBusiness series: the importance of branding

Amanda Whitley

Labour force data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that in February 2012 women account for a third of the country’s business employers and almost 40 per cent of its solo business operators. The number of women operating solo businesses has grown considerably more than men over the last decade – there are now 28 per cent more female solo operators than in 2002, while men’s rates have dropped one per cent – and in the last year while women’s solo businesses grew five per cent, men’s fell seven per cent.

Until I started HerCanberra, I had no idea how many female-run local businesses there were. It seems that, like me, many women are discovering that entrepreneurship offers flexibility not only in hours – but also in creativity and output.

But starting your own business can be daunting. There’s the exciting stuff (like thinking up a business name and getting your logo sorted), the not-so-cool-but-just-as-important-stuff like registering for GST and organising a trademark, and the rather scary but essential stuff like learning how to do a BAS and ensuring you’re covered legally.

Today, in the first instalment of a new regular feature aimed squarely at female entrepreneurs, we take a look at branding and how to get started.

Branding is one of my passions – it’s something that I often work with small businesses on, and it’s going to be the subject of an upcoming HerCanberra workshop. It comprises so many elements – from the way your business looks, to the way you communicate through social media, to the greeting you use when you answer the phone, to how you (as the business owner) dress.

I sat down with Claire Connelly of Papercut to talk about how a logo and branding consistency is vital to the integrity of your business.

How important is a logo for your business?

Incredibly important – a logo’s main job is to communicate with your target audience. Many business owners believe that a logo represents only a small part of their identity. Wrong. It’s like building a house. Your logo forms the foundation of your business and provides a blueprint for all of your future design work.

What should a good logo do?

Primarily, it should tell your brand story. It should tell your target audience what your company is about, and a bit about who you are or what your business’s personality is, what you do, and what makes you different.

A good logo will be bold and unique, but also timeless – so that you don’t look dated in a few years.

How do you make sure it’s effective?

You need to use the logo on all of your materials – a logo won’t work if people can’t see it. If your business is bigger than just you, circulate your branding guide to everyone in the organisation – from the sales team and vendors to the administrative assistants.

Make sure you have a consistent style guide for your brand which lays out the rules for how the brand assets and visual elements should be used. You could also think about creating templates for major marketing campaigns, or for certain marketing tools.

Most importantly, tell everyone that brand consistency is incredibly important, and that it will be a focus of the company’s marketing from now on. Communicate this to your designers and stress the importance. If they can’t get with the program, consider hiring new designers who are good at consistency and used to working within style guides.

Papercut are current offering a new financial year Business Pack for $1870.00 inc gst. Conditions apply, please call Papercut to enquire ph: 02 6162 4045 or email [email protected]. Offer ends 31 July 2012.

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Amanda Whitley

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her 'spare time', she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She's done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women. More about the Author

  • Looking forward to more of these!

    • Amanda Whitley

      Thanks! Any particular topics you’d be interested in hearing about? I’m rounding up local experts!

      • Hmm developing a Social Media presence always brings out interesting ideas and new technologies.

  • Dee

    thanks for this informative post. I look forward to more in the series. There is always something to improve upon in small business!

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