Creating your brand’s look (or in business language, its ‘corporate identity’) is one of the most fun parts of starting a new Street Dance Fitness business. But just as with choosing a name, you can really hinder your success by not giving this process your full attention.
Your Street Dance Fitness business name, your logo and how they are used will be the first experience many of your customers will have of your business. These first impressions must be two things:
a) Attractive (to your target market)
Some big brands with huge budgets for awareness campaigns can get away with being quite obscure and confusing, but most start-up Street Fit® Instructors will not have that luxury, so it’s probably best to keep it simple and not be too clever.
Creating your look
One of the first questions you might ask yourself is whether your Street Dance Fitness business name is enough, or whether you need a pictorial logo to go with it. There are no definite answers to this, and you will find there are as many companies out there that use logos as those who stick to stylised text. If a picture really jumps out as being relevant to you it is probably worth experimenting with. If not, you might just want to concentrate on colour and typeface.
Colours are very powerful symbols to the unconscious mind, and typeface (the style of the lettering) can also add extra meaning to your name. For example, you would be very brave or foolish to try putting the following businesses on the marketplace:
If you are marketing yourself as a dance fitness instructor you will probably want to choose a look that suggests movement, action, excitement, speed, health and energy. If you are specialising in street dance/hip-hop you might want to add an anti-establishment feel, but this would be a mistake if you are also offering more formal styles (e.g. ballet or ballroom).
Look around at your competitors and similar businesses for inspiration but do not copy them. ‘Passing off’ as another company, particularly a big brand can land you in hot water. Besides, it’s much more ‘street’ to be different!
How much will it cost?
How much you spend on creating your look is up to you, but you should get advice from other people before committing to anything. The design process itself can cost anywhere from nothing (if you are a competent designer) to tens of thousands of pounds. You should be able to get something very professional from a graphic designer for £100 to £200 but make sure you research their previous work and understand exactly how they charge. Crowdsourcing design work is a popular alternative to using a designer, while a print shop will often have a budget option for under £100.
However you decide to fund it, the design process should start with a brief, where you explain what you want to achieve and what parameters the designer has to work to. It is usually best to strike a balance between specific (it has to be pink and in Boulevard font) and vague (I want it to be fun and modern). Bring in examples of brands you like and dislike, particularly if words don’t really say enough.
Your designer should produce several ideas for you to look at, enabling you to choose one or two to focus on in more depth. Once you are close to making a decision, your designer should be able to mock-up some examples for print and online use to give you a realistic idea of how your look will translate to the real world. When you’re completely satisfied, make sure that your designer sends you the electronic files in a variety of print and web suitable formats.
Testing your design
Before handing over any cash, it is a good idea to trial your design with prospective customers or at least some honest friends. Some crowdsourcing design sites even create competitions so that you can invite friends to rate short-listed designs.
Your final decision should be based partly on how others react and partly on your own reactions. After all, your brand identity is an extension of your own so you need to create something that inspires you too.