By Nicholas Green, founder of www.printed.com

In an attempt to counteract the current economic and social climate, there has been a shift in how start-ups and existing small businesses define their brand values. New research by printed.com in partnership with Creativepool, reveals that ‘value for money’ has been ranked as the number one value amongst new businesses when defining their brand.

Defining Brand Values

In these economically challenging times, it is apparent that businesses are keen to offer a good value proposition to attract customers and ensure their company thrives. The study, which took in the views of almost 1,000 creative professionals on their work with start-ups, also suggests that reliability and trust also rank highly as brand values which are desirable to new businesses.

With so much pressure to succeed, the findings indicate that many new businesses are making mistakes when defining their brand, with more than half (54%) of creative professionals remarking that start-ups fail to consider their target customer. Creating a strong brand is crucial to the eventual success of any enterprise, so it’s somewhat shocking to discover that 52 per cent of the designers who contributed to the research believe that brands fail to create a brand for their company altogether.

Brand Identity

For any SME, the ultimate goal is to grow and prosper as a company and as a business expands in size, particularly into foreign markets, it’s crucial to protect the brand identity. However, the printed.com research highlights that two thirds (64%) of creative professionals indicate small businesses are not trade marking design assets such as company logos.

Quality Briefs

From the perspective of the design industry, it is essential for creative professionals to be provided with a quality brief if they are to deliver optimum creativity. However, when questioned in the study, more than a third of creative professionals’ fed back that they are not given a solid brief to work towards, inhibiting the creativity of the ideas and designs they aim to deliver.

In these turbulent economic times, small businesses must exemplify only the most appealing brand values which appeal to their target customer if they are to have the best shot at success. Considering the customer is clearly the first and foremost priority when developing those crucial brand values which will define the business and ultimately help the company to grow.

Top Tips for SMEs from the Research:

1.Ensure you consider your target customer and what makes them tick when defining your brand values

2.Think to the future and possible expansion, and ensure your company’s brand will appeal to foreign markets

3.Ensure all design assets are trademarked to avoid any competitors, at home or abroad, stealing your creative look and feel

4.Always provide designers, or other creative professionals, with a good quality brief and realistic timescales to ensure they can produce the best possible work for you