“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos
Reno, Nevada is a competitive market with a myriad of companies moving in to gain from a growing economy. Now is the time to set your business up for success with a strong branding package! This blog is for you if:
- You have just entered the Reno market and you need a brand that will blow the competition out of the water.
- You have been a long-standing business in Reno and you are looking to update your brand.
Today, we’re going to walk you through our proven branding process (over 20 years in the making!), from discovery to finding the right logo, colors, and fonts for your business. We hope this helps your team clarify your brand!
What Is a Brand?
Your brand is the visual representation of who you are and what you do. It takes the form of the logo, colors, and fonts you choose for your business. When customers see your brand in Reno, they should be able to immediately recognize that it is your unique company identity. A brand should say something positive about your reputation. We are going to talk about the identity discovery process in a moment, but here is a quick glance at the branding journey ahead and what it entails:
- Your job is to capture your reputation if it is strong
- Your job is to discover your reputation if you do not know what it is
- Your job is to pivot your reputation if it has been negative in the past
How can all of this be accomplished with a logo, colors, and fonts?
Let’s get started and find out!
The Discovery Process
When we onboard new Reno clients at Beacon, we take them through a list of questions to help them capture, discover, or pivot their brand. The first step is to make sure all the decision-makers are in the same room and paying attention to the process. Then we let the discovery begin!
It is important that the decision-makers on your team are won over to the branding process. Changing a company reputation is not easy, and requires the intent focus of everyone involved.
Some of the questions that we cover with our clients include:
- Give us your elevator pitch in two sentences or less. Who are you and what do you do?
- Your customers should feel assured by your brand. What can you promise them?
- Are you aware of any current perceptions about your business? What would you like to be known for?
- What is your niche in the Reno market? Are you cheap but high-value? Expensive with personalized service? Unique in your service offerings? Well-respected in the community? Intelligent and educational?
- What is your long-term vision?
Our brand discovery meeting typically covers target audience, competitors, and differentiators as well. Be sure to bring up these questions when you get together with your team.
The very first step in branding your business is coming up with a name and a tagline. If you do not have one already or you need to make a tweak to your current name, this is for you! We have compiled a list of tips for the brainstorming process:
- Consider the names of other businesses in Reno that are in your industry! You certainly do not want to appear to be imitating these companies, but they can give you a good starting place for your own creative ideas.
- If you are a family business, think about including the family name in your company name, especially if your family has a great reputation in Reno.
- You may want to include the location of your business (state, region, or city) in your name if you are focusing heavily on Reno.
- During your discovery meeting, certain nouns or adjectives may have stuck out as resonating with your mission and purpose. If so, use these!
Sometimes the best way to find a name for your business is to pull out a thesaurus, whether online or in-hand. If there were particular words that resonated with you, search these terms in the thesaurus and see which synonyms might make a great name!
If you are struggling to capture your company identity in your name alone and logo alone, a tagline can be a great way to communicate more! We frequently come up with more than one concept with our clients during their discovery meeting, and we use the tagline to incorporate some of the “secondary” concepts we discovered.
It is not crucial to create a tagline for your business, but it is recommended. The process alone will help you clarify your core messaging, carrying over into all your marketing channels, from your website to social media.
Picking Icons, Colors, and Fonts
It can be challenging to capture the identity of a business using icons, colors, and fonts. Fortunately, we have psychology on our side! Forms and colors have a mental and emotional impact on the people who view them, whether they are from Reno or otherwise. Although the way this works is a fascinating discussion, we will try to keep our explanation as high-level as possible today. Your choices here are vastly important and we don’t want to drown you in the details!
The icon in the logo is the graphic that accompanies your name, and it is what most people think of when they think of a logo in the first place (think of the McDonald’s arches or the Nike swoosh). Your icon should visually communicate something about who you are or what you do. In the below example, we gave Juneau Youth Services (JYS) a logo with an icon composed of mountains and an eagle. We wanted to communicate the fact that JYS is located in Juneau and that there is freedom in getting the help that you need.
Icons can be extremely versatile. Many icons become assets for the design of promotional products, watermarks on company forms, or a standalone logo for businesses that have achieved enough brand recognition in Reno.
For your logo icon, think back to your discovery meeting and remember some of the concepts you discussed. We often browse Pinterest to get the creative juices flowing and to create a board of ideas. Try searching “logo ideas for Reno” and see what pops up. Another great site for icon ideas is The Noun Project, which contains icon assets created by artists from around the world.
The Color Wheel
The part of your logo that will emotionally connect with your target audience in Reno the most is the colors. It is very important, therefore, to select colors that express exactly what you want! In a recent blog, we discussed the color wheel and which colors correspond to which emotions. Here is a brief summary of some of those concepts:
- Red – Reds come in a wide variety of shades, communicating a wide variety of things, from temptation, to warning to pay attention, to danger, to celebration, to love, to femininity.
- Orange – Because orange is a softer version of red, it can communicate softer versions of the emotions associated with red, such as light and life. Oranges are also frequently associated with food, making them appetite stimulating.
- Yellow – Yellow is a bright color that can create emotions of joy, optimism, and comfort. As a gold, yellow creates associations with wealth, luxury, and rank. Light and warmth are often associated with yellow, and the color catches attention like red.
- Brown – Organic, all-natural, and outdoorsy Reno businesses would all do well to create a brand using brown. This color reminds viewers of earth and wholesomeness.
- Blue – Blue creates feelings of tranquility, mystery, depth, and strength. It is frequently used in the tech and health and wellness industries, specifically.
- Green – More diverse than any other color in the world, the various shades of green can communicate everything from new beginnings to relaxation.
- Purple – Purple is a fun color because it is a mix of red, blue, and their associations. If a purple is redder, it will communicate energy and intensity. If the purple is on the blue end of the spectrum, it will elicit feelings of calm and loftiness.
Not all colors come in the same quality or hue. For this reason, Adobe has created a free online color wheel that can be used to select colors that go well together. The wheel will automatically adjust according to the colors you choose. Take a look at this tool with your team and play around with it to find a set of colors that you like!
There are two kinds of people, those who geek out about typography, and those who do not! For those who do not, typography is more important than you may think. Just like with the icon and colors of your logo, your typeface communicates something about who you are. Some fonts fit with the theme you are going for while others will work directly against it.
Google has a fantastic, free online font tool that you can use to take a look at the kinds of fonts available (you can also download their fonts for free). What’s neat about Google Fonts is that it lets you type your desired name and tagline into the font boxes provided to see what they would look like.
In a lot of cases, finding the right font for your logo takes gut instinct. When you are browsing Google Fonts, take a moment to find the feelings each individual font creates within you. It might be challenging, but try to discover why that particular form elicits those feelings.
Some fonts might come across as “editorial” to you simply because you have seen them on a news site in the past. Others might strike you as “creepy” because they were a part of the last horror show you watched on Netflix. It is likely that your fellow residents of Reno feel the same way because they were exposed to the same media associations. Depending on your industry, you may gravitate toward a particular font that is frequently used.
Try to come up with a list of 3-5 fonts that give you the right “feels.” Run them by your team to see if they have the same reaction. This will be a good litmus test for your gut instinct, and maybe help you land on the final font for your logo!
After you have created your brand, you must protect it. Especially at the beginning when your team is excited to use your new logo, colors, and fonts, it is important to set a standard for how they should be used. This will reap dividends for the future integrity of your brand in Reno.
Some teams create large corporate policies while others simply use a single-sheet style guide. We find that the latter is just as effective as the former, but we provide both upon request to our Reno clients. Please do not skip this step if you want to preserve your new brand!
Our goal today was to assist you in your branding journey. We hope you have learned a lot of helpful information about the tools available that you can take back to your team! If you have any questions about the process outlined here, our President, Adrienne Wilkerson is available to talk with you. She has been branding small to mid-size businesses for over 20 years and she would love to work with you! We offer a free consultation to everyone who is interested in our services.