To the budget-minded owner of a new store or restaurant, it may seem that putting money and effort into branding is not a high priority. At most, branding is the cherry on the top – it makes for a good impression, but is of secondary importance. After all, a quality product is all you need. Right?

Wrong. Far from being a fancy detail, branding is essential for a business that wants to reach its true potential. Branding tells people who you are, makes them remember you, and creates the impression of a coherent business vision. Customers are attracted to businesses that have a clearly defined image and let them know exactly what they are about. Creating a brand is also important for you, as a business owner. It makes you look deep into how you want your business to be perceived and helps you come up with a cohesive vision and business strategy.

Store Branding

Image above: Selfie wall design for Paws & Claws, design by Mindful Design Consulting.

So how do you do that? Here are three essential steps that help you create an appealing and easily recognizable brand identity.

Have a Professionally Designed Logo and Marketing Materials

Your logo tells your entire story with one small, but powerful image that represents everything you are. Make it likable and memorable, then use it extensively. Make sure that you a have a vector file of your company’s logo, along with the fonts your designer used in creating it. You will need these not only when you put together your other marketing materials, signage, uniforms etc., but when you want to create other graphics for your marketing campaign.

Store Branding

Image above: Logo design options for Bubbles by the Beach Market, design by Mindful Design Consulting.

After coming up with your logo, continue with your business cards, your menu etc. These ARE part of your company’s brand, and they define you. Remember that this is not the time to try your hand at do-it-yourself projects, so hire a professional.

Store Branding

Image above: Logo and cards design for Olala Crepes design by Mindful Design Consulting.

Choose Your Brand Colors and Style Carefully

Different colors make people feel different things, so there is an emotional connection between colors and the corresponding human response. As a business person, you want to use this emotional associations to your advantage. By using your company’s colors in all your marketing and printed materials, your signage, uniforms, menu or interior design, you make your brand recognizable and strengthen this emotional connection with your customers.

Restaurant Branding

Image above: Logo design for Super Duper Burger, design by Mindful Design Consulting.

Colors used in creating a company brand are typically Pantone designated colors. Make sure you know exactly what they are and that your logo designer provides them along with his work. Your interior designer can use the same colors for your furniture, signage, trim, wall graphics or wall paint and enforce the brand through this chromatic theme.

School Branding

Image above: Logo design for San Francisco Pacific Academy, design by Mindful Design Consulting.

As for style, deciding early on how you would like to be perceived (as modern, traditional, playful etc.) is key to reaching your target audience. Do not stop here, however. Try to define your five key attributes or the top five adjectives that you would use to describe your company. Personable, reliable, fast, environmentally-conscious or health-conscious are all good choices. Make sure that this well-defined brand personality is reflected in your logo either through colors or design.

Take Care of Your Outside Signage as Part of Your Branding

For your business to be successful, you must first convince your potential customers to step into your store or restaurant. The quality of your outside signage may attract customers or turn them off. Make sure it is professionally designed, that it uses your Pantone colors and that it reflects accurately what your business is about. Fix it immediately if faded or missing letters. Customers associate a broken signage with low-quality products and services and may pass your business on their way to the next.

My Yogurt store signage

Image above: My Yogurt Shop, design by Mindful Design Consulting.

To sum it up, when starting a new restaurant or store brand, be prepared to have the following branding materials designed first:

  1. Logo (a few different variations may be needed: regular logo, for signage, for social media etc.)
  2. Fonts specific to your brand
  3. Pantone colors specific to your brand
  4. Business cards
  5. Letterhead
  6. Envelope
  7. Email signature
  8. Website
  9. Loyalty cards
  10. Opening day invitation cards or mailers
  11. Menu (printed)

On the exterior of your business:

  1. Window graphics including hours of operation
  2. Any posters or advertising materials to hand out outside
  3. Outside signs

On the interior of your business:

  1. Menu on board or TV screen
  2. Sales or Specials signs
  3. Any other signage
  4. Wall graphics as needed
  5. Materials, furniture and lighting package specific to your brand

Remember that these are basic branding materials you will need to start your business.  Any other additional materials can be designed later, as you move forward with your business.

Please take a look at our Before and After images of selected projects from 2018 HERE.

If you are thinking to open up a new business or in a process of rebranding and remodeling your existing business, contact us to get a free consultation from Mindful Design Consulting. Click HERE to price your project design.

Also, take a look at “Branding By Interior” e-book, the only book written on this subject at this time. It brings insight on how you can turn your business into a market-dominating competitor by using human cognitive responses.

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