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Who is your ideal customer? What about your usual customer? It can be useful to create 2 or 3 personas of your customers. At each stage, assess the branding from their perspective and ensure that they would relate and enjoy it.
Your branding is usually the first thing customers see when they are introduced to your business. It is important to get your values across in your overall identity. If you are creating an organic food supplier's branding; you wouldn't have to use an all gray colour palette with clean and sharp lines - you would instead have some natural textures and more rustic typefaces.
What can you offer that the next business can't? Whether you are experts in the field, or have the best customer service, or are the cheapest - this is something that you should be able to get across to your potential customers and will help to shape your identity.
A common misconception when creating a logo is that the icon has to tell customers exactly what you do. It doesn't. Look at some of the most iconic brands of all time. Google, Coca Cola, Pepsi, and Nike to name a few. Does google have a search icon? Does Coca Cola have a bottle?
It is important to visualise the logo and branding in real world situations. If you are a construction company, ensure that the logo looks great on a hard hat, a letterhead, a high-viz jacket and on the side of a van. I find that creating a visual with the branding on tiny scale and huge scale is a great way of ensuring that that the brand translates well