Whether you’re a startup or an established company looking to revamp your image, your brand speaks volumes about who you are to the world. Here are a few questions to ask as you choose the right look and feel for your business.

What are you trying to say?

The artistic theme of your business material and media should all have the same feel. Your business cards, website, Facebook page, and emails should have a unified look that tells people what you are all about.

Consider the culture of your business for example. Do you have a formal suit and tie business or a more laid back and casual environment? Everything from the font you use to the graphics and images to choose tell people what to expect from your organization.

Try to avoid sending mixed messages about yourself. If you are a mechanic, you probably don’t want a picture of you in a three piece suit on your website. Try to find a theme that expresses who you are. Communicating these traits to your graphic artist will help him or her know which direction to move toward. This is also a great conversation to have with your employees.

Who are you trying to say it to?

In addition to your own preferences you need to consider the preferences of your target audience. What appeals to your customers? What do they want to see? What kind of company will they feel comfortable working with? Put yourself in someone else’s shoes and try to look at your company from an outsider’s perspective.

Another trick is to look at what other people are doing. Too many times market research becomes a copycat kind of scenario. Try to avoid a cookie cutter mentality. Your business is unique and so your brand should be unique as well.

When you look at other brands, get outside of your industry. Look for companies that are providing different products and services to the same target audience you are. Look for common threads among the various industries and see if you can incorporate them into your brand.

How will you be saying it?

How you communicate your message is one of the most important questions you can ask. If you are an audio-video company you had better be using a lot of podcasts and video to sell your brand. What tools you use to reach your customers are just as important as what you say to them.

What can you afford?

Another way to frame this question is how big is your budget? How much time are you willing to devote to building your brand? It’s important to be honest about this and not over commit out of obligation or guilt. A good artist can help you find an artist theme for any budget. If you have a large in-house marketing department, then go nuts. If you are on a tight budget, you’ll probably be a little more limited on what themes you can realistically pull off for your company.

When I started building my brand I knew I didn’t have a lot of time to spend creating my artwork. (you know the old saying about the cobbler’s children never having shoes) I knew my marketing and branding would only be a small part of what I do. So I looked for a popular cartoon style that I could produce quickly and that still communicated what it is I do best.

Had I picked an artistic theme that was a photorealistic painting style, my brand would have never been launched. The style I chose represents me to a tee and show cases who I am and what I do best. I’m not pretending to be a large studio and I believe that sets well with my target audience because like me, they don’t have big budgets.

Hopefully these questions will help you as you narrow down your focus and start he exciting journey of branding or rebranding your business. Good Luck!