tips for creating a brand that will make you stand out


If you decide to start a business in 2021 one thing you’ll have to think about is branding. Although it’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make, it’s something entrepreneurs spend the least amount of time and money on. Here are five tips for creating a brand that will make you stand out.

1. Be authentic

This sounds so cliché, but your branding needs to be authentic. What does that mean? It means your branding should be a reflection of the mood, values, audience, mission and vision of your business. This means that you need to have an intimate knowledge of the heartbeat of your business. This is the difference between just having a logo and having a brand identity or brand strategy. Once your brand has authenticity and clearly communicates who you are, you’ll start attracting likeminded people, including a defined community or audience.

2. Be aspirational

Your brand also needs to be aspirational meaning it should point to who you aspire to be. When we created the SHIFTER branding we knew we wanted to one day be a big mainstream media outlet that was known and respected outside of our city. One of the comments we always get about out branding and overall aesthetic is, “You guys don’t look very ‘Ottawa'”. That’s a big compliment because that’s exactly what we were going for. We wanted to be the kind of outlet that would resonate with people in Toronto, Los Angeles, and London, as well as Ottawa.

When we help our clients create their brands, whether a personal brand or a business brand, it’s often tied to goal setting. Where do you want to go? Who do you want to be? How far do you want your reach to be? Who is your ideal client? Again, your brand should be tied to your aspirations for the future.

3. Fonts are everything

Half the battle of creating a great brand for your business is choosing the right fonts. Fonts are the difference between a commercial looking brand and a DIY brand.

A properly designed brand communicates professionalism and builds trust and reputability. It’s something you’ll want to invest in as an extension of your reputation and image. If you go on Fiverr and pay someone $5 to create your brand, you’ll get your worth.

While there’s a cost for commercial fonts, there are a number of free websites where you can get good fonts, like and They’re like Disneyland for creatives. Spend 30 minutes and find a font that captures the mood and values of your business.

4. Choose the right colours

This is self-explanatory, but choosing the right colours is one of the primary ways to stand out from the competition. A black and white colours scheme says “edgy”. A neon pink and black colour scheme also says “edgy” yet “playful”. On the other hand, pastels say “soft”, “delicate”, “classy” and “timeless”.

Colours say as much about your identity as the actual name of your business so choose wisely.

5. Dare to stand out with a dope name

I recently had a client who was creating branding for her web design company. There was a name she was considering that would’ve really make her stand out from the crowd. The problem was when she presented the name to her friends, everyone thought it was stupid and childish. In the end, she went with a more common name, instead of the one that would’ve made her memorable and different.

When we first started SHIFTER we were actually called “SHIFT”. The name was so common that were weren’t standing out in Google searches and all the good social media handles were taken. That’s when we decided to change our name to SHIFTER which is what we used to call our followers – “Shifters”. When we presented the name to some of our friends, they hated it, and to be honest it didn’t really sit well with me; it didn’t roll off the tongue well. But that’s exactly why it worked – it sounded edgy, like we didn’t give a crap what people thought. Years later, we’ve received so many compliments on our name.

A lot of people have problems standing out from the pack, but in a world where new businesses are being created every second, especially because of the internet and the ease in starting an online business, you have to be willing to stand out in order to differentiate yourself in 2021.


If you’re an Ottawa-based creative looking for digital marketing support, click here to find out more about Invest Ottawa’s Digital Main St. program. The program includes your own digital marketing team, an ecommerce website design, and other online support from Invest Ottawa, all for free.

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