Here are some things to consider and the most relevant for small business owners and start ups. That is, how to choose these brand elements so that they portray the right message to your customers and are easily recognised and recalled at the right time.
3 core criteria for choosing brand elements that build brand equity.
These three are a great place to start for new businesses.
Brand awareness is the first step to building brand equity. It's all about recall (the ability to remember the brand unprompted) and recognition (when prompted they know who you are). A part of being memorable is also about having a logo and brand elements that are unique. A great exercise is to do an audit of logos in your category. A simple Google search for will start you off, for example, if you are pet store in Melbourne, Google 'Pet Stores Melbourne' and click on images. Make a collection of the logos that you find and look for similarities. If everyone is using blue.. don't join the pack. Do something different.
Meaning can come from the products you sell, what you stand for or the history of your brand. Our 10HORN Creative logo and brand name represent our family business structure and how we work with many SME family businesses (who we are). The horns represent the communication of branding and design (what we do), and the natural stag horn or tree like symbolism represents our sustainable approach and love of nature (what we stand for).
Your brand elements need to be something that people will be attracted to, particularly your target customers but also the general public. You will want to avoid anything that can create negative sentiment. A great way to test this, is with some marketing research.
3 core criteria for choosing brand elements that leverage and maintain brand equity.
These three are more suitable for existing businesses.
This is particularly important if you trade in multiple countries where culture and language can be an influence. How does your brand name translate into other cultures? Many larger players will have different brand names for different regions, eg; Burger King & Hungry Jacks, Coco Pops & Coco Krispies, KFC & PFK.
Brands that last through big changes in consumer trends (like through the decades of time) need to ensure that their brand stays relevant and doesn't become outdated. It is important to make these updates gradually to stay within the just noticeable difference (JND). You don't want customers having trouble finding you.
Being able to protect your brand elements with trademark protection is important for competitive and legal reasons. Here is some information from the Australian Government about IP protection.
I hope after reading this that you will see how intricate and influencing well thought out and executed brand elements can be. Please don't go to a cheap logo generator or get your friend to do one. Hire a professional, write a good design brief for them, and get it right. It is the one outfit that you will dress your brand with, so make sure it portrays who you are, what you do and what you stand for.