Creating Retailer Brand Identity

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elcome to The Surf Kiosk. We’ve put plenty of thought into the branding of our imaginary start-up. From type to colour, stationary to logo, we’ve got you covered. Get this right from the start and you’ll be good for life.

The Surf Kiosk brand identity

Working in collaboration with brand consultancy, PennyBlackCo. Board Sport Source has created your guide to branding a small business. At start-up stage it’s all about your brand – this may be your only asset – so it’s important to get it right.  

Imagine for a minute that you’re a hot shot surfer tired of working for the man. Heading out with a business partner, you’ve made the break and are putting your name above the door. The Surf Kiosk. Before you’re welcoming the public to your new store, there’s the branding to consider. A brand isn’t a brand until someone shares your core idea. Brands are the things that you stand for, the ideas in people's minds. Decisions you make now will guide your business, attract the right clients (or repel them) and determine whether you’ll sink or surf. 

Vegware coffee cups with the Surf Kiosk branding

This is not just designing a new logo. This process should aim for the heart of who you are and identify what you stand for. You need to realise what makes you special and how you can show it to the world. Look at your organisation objectively and ‘start with why’ as the author and speaker Simon Sinek famously quoted. Put in the time at the beginning to find a clear purpose and the rest will be infinitely easier to build around. Plus, it will be more enjoyable and all part and parcel of setting up shop, kiosk in our case. 

Surf companies are especially clichéd and obvious. So it’s never been more important to have the sensibility of heritage and current trends to design a brand that is unique in the marketplace. As competition grows for both clients and talent, it’s going to be more important than ever for The Surf Kiosk to stand out. 

Consider where it will be seen, the shop door could have a guest logo each month, contributed by a local surfer, the web versions could echo this.

Step 1. Be unique. The value of difference. 

To really propel your brand through the barrel you have to identify what makes you different from others and really shout about it. Your brand should be the all encompassing answer to the question ‘why should I give you my attention?’ You have to be able to show people something they’ve never seen, almost instantly.

It pays to know your competition. Research their flaws, fill those gaps and turn them into your strengths. Acknowledge their strengths and build them even further. What do you value, how can you share the insight you’ve gained through your adventures Who are your influences, how do they think, feel and act?

Step 2. One logo. What do people see?

The first thing people see is your logo, it needs to encapsulate everything you stand for, what you aim to do and how you got there. The Surf Kiosk was born out of the passion to see surfing and to share that passion with others, to spread those good surf vibes throughout the community we’re a part of. Hiring some professionals at this stage is pretty essential, a hand drawn logo won’t cut it unless you’re the most laid back surf hangout ever created. If, like us, you want to collaborate with like minded people to develop old skills and define new ones, why not find someone in the local community to work on this together. Sharing ideas with like-minded people is all part of the process and will make bigger waves. 

Consider where it will be seen, the shop door could have a guest logo each month, contributed by a local surfer, the web versions could echo this. 

Step 3. What’s in your toolbox? Keep the visuals consistent.

Collaborating with local surfers on logos could get wild, so set the guidelines early on. All you have to do is keep certain aspects the same and let the collaborators play with the rest. This will help you learn and develop new skills and help you cross paths with others for new opportunities where you least expected them. 

Do you need a colour palette, typeface, symbol, pattern or tone of voice? All these things make up your brand’s world, and while they can be shuffled and moved, they’ll always find a place to belong. It could be on your website or on Instagram, Tumblr or Snapchat, either way, people need to be able to recognise you in a snap. Create these guidelines early on and stick to them. Be consistent.

Step 4. Working together. Sharing the same wave.

If you’ve done it right, your new brand will be far more than a logo and a selection of colour choices. It will be deeply rooted in everything you do and everyone who’s involved will be proud to be a part of it. Make sure everyone involved knows the drill, and is aligned. It could be the way you greet people or how you help pick out a new board for a grom. Everyone should understand.

Step 5. Let the world know. 

It’s time to stop waxing, paddling and waiting for the perfect wave, this is the one. Everything has to come together in harmony so you can score that perfect 10. This is where you show people you see a different line in the water, one that champions sustainability, communication and collaboration to grow the local surf community you’ve long been part of.