Branding 101: How to Create Your Badass Brand
The basics of brand development
Without getting too technical, there are some branding 101 basics you need to know before you launch or re-launch your business.
Branding is more than just a fancy logo and some business cards. Your branding is your business. It’s your store front, your comms, your services, invoices, products… hell, it’s even you!
Everything that you associate directly with your business makes up your branding, so it’s essential that you discover your unique tone of voice.
Here I break it down into several components for a step-by-step approach.
What is your business?
First of all, it needs to be clear what your business actually is. Depending on whether you’re a merchant or service provider, your approach to branding will differ greatly. It may seem like a subtly, but even when it comes to a physical store vs an online store, your approach will not be the same nor should the marketing strategy.
From the logo, to the description, to the social feeds, website, online / physical store, every element needs to clearly define and separate you from other businesses.
Jot down some key information about your business to get a quick overview of what it is you will be doing. For example:
Artisan cake maker
Luxury events, special occasions, brand / corporate events.
Physical Store: kitchen and sales counter.
Website: Orders and event bookings.
Store location: London, UK.
Main clients: celebrities, brands and influencers.
What relevant words come to mind?
When you think about the essence of your business, what are the kind of words that come to mind? These descriptive words will be key to your branding as you will revisit them in a variety of contexts. In the case of our example, I jotted down the following:
Made to Order
These words can also help you create your company name, for example ‘Scrummie Luxe Treats’. The key is to combine elements that reflect the essence of your brand in it’s function, style and deliverance.
What are the visual aspects of your brand?
People will want to see your work in action. When it comes to the imagery, graphics and video content that you associate with your brand, it has to reflect the nature of your business and directly demonstrate what you can provide your customers with.
In this case, we expect galleries of stunning, handcrafted cake designs, captured beautifully. We also expect a consistent colour scheme to the branding that directly reflects this idea of modern luxury.
To help create a unique colour palette, there are several online tools that you can use. The important thing to understand is the psychology behind colours and how complimentary and contrasting colours interact with one another.
Whilst choosing your colour palette, also consider this: what is the message you wish to send to your audience / potential customers? It’s a good idea to look at existing brands as inspiration for the style and message you wish to create.
What variety of copywriting and fonts will you use?
Your tone voice includes your unique style of writing, the terms and phrasing you use and the audience you are writing to. Your creative flair is very much a big sales point for your brand. So think about your target audience, will they understand if you write how you would ordinarily speak? Are you using terms that your target audience can relate to?
If you’re a local business, you want to write as if you’re conversing with those at a community event. If your business is nationwide or international, you will have to be more careful with the use of regional specific terms. Always inject personality into all areas of copy - it will keep viewers engaged and increase your chances of sales.
I’m not gonna lie; fonts can be tricky, as it seems we spend hours trawling through 1000’s of fonts only to come to the conclusion that none ‘fit the bill’. This is where hiring a graphic designer can make life much easier; not only will they be able to create a professional logo and brand materials, they can help to source the perfect fonts for all of your marketing and branding purposes. There are many graphic designers who are also very gifted typographers, so if there elements of a font you like for your branding but doesn’t quite fit your criteria, they may be able to design one similar or alter an existing font to make up your logo.
If you are not yet able to commission a graphic designer or simply wish to give your creative skills a test drive, it’s worth spending a little time finding the right fonts that you can use throughout all of your written materials and visual communications.
I cannot stress enough the importance of this point: just because you like the look of a font, it doesn’t mean that it’s the right fit for your brand! It has to match the rest of your branding otherwise it just ends up looking really amateur.
How will your online presence / physical space reflect your chosen brand elements?
Presentation is everything, especially when it comes to the first introductions to your brand. Consistency plays a big part in brand image, as it signals to the audience that your content and brand has been professionally created and managed. No-one likes an account that looks like it was thrown together and made on Microsoft paint. With the amount of apps now available for content creation, there really is no excuse for poor graphics.
It’s the same with a physical space, you want your premises to be inviting not an eye sore. Naturally, you will think about the interior decor and overall layout but it’s also important to consider the building’s exterior and immediate signage that potential customers are greeted with.
What promotional methods, online tools and social media platforms will you use to build brand credibility?
Selecting the right tools, platforms and PR sources are vital. A one-fit approach simply does not exist in the realms of branding and marketing. Like a business plan, a branding strategy has to be tailored to each individual business.
Things to consider: what channels are my potential customers using? What content are they interacting with and wish to see? What PR opportunities will best suit my business? What brands and personalities do I want my business to be associated with? What matters most to my audience when it comes to my industry?
A good brand strategist will be able to help you identify all of these key areas for development and more.
How will you get customers sharing your content or creating their own using your products?
As big as influencer marketing is, so too is user generated content. The more people sharing your images, blog posts, videos and creating their own, the better! You want there to be a buzz around your brand, so creating what is often referred to as ‘photo opportunities’ around your brand is the perfect way to initiate the talk along the grapevine.
In all truthfulness, branding is an art form in it’s own right; it takes critical, rational and creative thinking to develop an effective branding strategy. The above information will help you to lay the foundations for further development.
If you’re seeking personalised advice and support, contact email@example.com for a free 30 minute consultation. I’ll be accepting new clients for brand development projects from December 2018.