So, your dream of starting a cafe is coming into reality. Congratulations! Alan has covered many important aspects of the logistics and great customer service it takes to run a cafe. One other important part of the success of your business is creating a brand that customers recognize. This includes your logo, website and your collateral, which can include anything from your menu, your signage to your ads. Here are several tips to help you stand out from your competition.

Name & Logo

Make sure your name and logo are easily recognizable. Is your logo easy to read? One easy test: Print out your logo on a 8.5″ x 11″ sheet and tape it to a wall. Now back across the room and walk by it. You should be able to easily read it in a glance. If you can’t read it, how is someone in their car going to read it?

Likewise, keep the name simple. If you use a tricky spelling, it will be hard for your customers to find you online or on their smart phone. Also, make sure it is easily distinguished from your competitors.

Know your target customer

Who is your target market? One way easy way to do this, is pull the info from your business plan. Don’t have a business plan? Think of your clients and pick your top three. How old are they? What do they do for a living? What do they do in their free time?

Or are you starting from scratch? Install Google Analytics to your website and start a Facebook fan page. Both can deliver statistics on who your visitors and fans are. Every message you send out, aim your message at your target person.

Know your competition

By knowing your competition’s look, location and the way they promote themselves can give you an edge. Why? Remember you want to easily stand out from your competitors. So, how do you differentiate from the competition? What makes your product or service better? Why should a customer choose you over your competitor? The answer to these question, should lead you in the correct direction of how you should promote yourself.

Keep your branding consistent

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat. Can your customers or clients recognize your business by a glance at your ad in the paper? If you hand your business card to someone at an event, does it match your website? The following core elements need to be on all print and online collateral: logo, color scheme, fonts, images and tone of voice. Remember, consistency over time creates trust, which in turn creates sales.

Engage your customer

In order for your promotions and special events to be successful, find out how your customers prefer to receive information. Is it through email? Twitter? Or a Facebook fan page? Direct Mail? You will most likely find, that every customer prefers a different way to keep up to date on events, so give them options.

Remember whatever promotion or event you are broadcasting in-store with signage or flyers, should also be advertised with an email, and messages on your Facebook fan page and Twitter accounts. Why? More than likely your customer isn’t going to visit your website or store every day, but they are going to be on Facebook, Twitter or email everyday. Are you intimidated by social media and not sure how to start? Read this article on How to Simplify Social Media.

About: Rebecca (Becca) Bauer Ritz is a logo, web and graphic designer who is passionate about helping start-ups and small businesses find their voice. She has over 12 years experience and is the owner of Bauerhaus Design, Inc. For more tips on how to brand your business go to Bauerhaus Design, Inc.