When building a brand there are a couple things to consider when entering the entrepreneurial world. Having experience working with t-shirt brands, especially when Branded Baron was heavily focused on that there are tips picked up. While these may focus primarily in the apparel market, some of these tips are useful for whatever industry you may be in.
1.Hire a graphic designer- If you’re a start-up, you will probably be tight financially, but that does not mean you should cut back in the graphics department. Impressions are important and your business needs to look professional, so should all visuals done by a professional designer. You may want to cut back on costs, but designing should not be one. Yes, plenty of people nowadays “play around” with Photoshop, but that does not mean they know the rules to design and can create something worth spending money on. Web designs are not cheap and cutting back on that can make your business look cheap. If you have ideas for t-shirt designs write them down and pass it along to the designer who is looking create your image in the design brief. DO what you’re strong at and hire those that do what they’re experienced in.
- Choose a theme for the brand or collection- Do you have a theme for your brand or collection? You should, as it will help with targeting your audience. Yes, you want everyone and their mother to wear your shirt, but does it really appeal to them? Design wise it helps you focus around the concept and helps separate you from everyone one else and gives you plenty of room to be creative.
- Write a story about your brand- Having a story to your brand will help give your potential fans an inside look of who you are. It can help create brand loyalty when they know the story behind the brand and who your communicating to. You want to relate to your target market and you want them to care about your brand.
- Sell at different venues- Selling at one place is great and you may be a big hit in that area alone, but that does not mean you can really grow your brand. You need to expand and try out other venues and stores to see where you’re really popular at and where you need to strategically attack to gain followers. Maybe a street fair can be successful or a local event can bring you business and contacts, but you have to get out there. This leads to the next one on the list…
5. Travel- This is crucial if you plan on expanding and growing in different regions. This was definitely made clear to me when I was at a Sneakercon in New York and saw a guy from Chicago come out and sell his tees. If you have a team and can afford to represent an area to promote your brand, great, but if not go travel to the places where you’re brand will be in demand. I’ve noticed when I travel, I gain more fans and customers, and they’ll help support my brand. Besides when you travel, it’s good to step away from the bubble you call home, see other areas of the world and you’ll appreciate it.
6. Meet other creative people and network-Networking is crucial in business. You never know who you’ll meet who can help you or who you can help. You can meet people at a network gathering or at event you’re interested in. Create a conversation and from there you can gather info. It can be very helpful if you’re in a discussion and you bounce ideas off others or you can find out suggestions on a topic you were hoping to have answered. Sometimes it’s just necessary to get your mind off things and have fun.
7. Offer an experience–This goes into brand loyalty where you want to offer your customer something they will remember. I’m sure you’ve had experience with being on the phone with a customer representative and they were either rude or unhelpful, or both! If that was the case, then your experience with that company was unpleasant and chances of you using them is slim to none. Whether it’s customer service or providing a package you want the consumer to feel something. I always like receiving extras in a package that I ordered, it makes me feel like I got more for my buck which may or may not be the case, but the experience of opening up what I ordered was positive.
- Take branding serious– Branding is not just slapping your logo on everything and calling it a day. No, it is much deeper than that as it consists of following the theme and vision for your company. Branding is starts from the logo, but it works its way into the look book, ad campaigns, social media, products, etc. Apple is sleek, cool, cutting edge, and they make sure you get that feeling from them. Everything you release should make someone say, “Oh that’s definitely (insert company)”.
- Focus on what your customer wants- Trends come and go and you can cater to what’s hot as best as you can, but you want to hear what your customer has to say. You want to ask them what they want from you or know what they do and do not like from your company so you can improve your company for the better. You can be doing this for yourself, but your customer will help pay the bills. Listen to them, because not listening to what they have to say can mean you miss out on something great or lose a fan. The loyal customer will let you know what’s what and if they have a suggestion be open to it.
- Be original– Be original. It may be true that nothing is truly original and everything is a more creative flip than the next, but that does not mean you shouldn’t find a way to separate yourself from the herd. Don’t jump on the bandwagon of what’s hot right now, because a) it will eventually cool down and b) you’ll only be considered a clone. What makes your brand stand out? You want to do something fresh, you don’t want people always thinking you remind them of so and so. Inspiration is fine, but you want bring your own style and make people know that what you offer only comes from your brand.